The Den cheers their way to OCVarsity’s #1 Student Section of the Week

Lexi Perez, Visual Content/Social Media Editor

The Den’s showing of Monarch pride earned them the top spot as Orange County Register‘s #1 Student Section of the Week for week 5. The Den, which is the name for Mater Dei’s student section at sports games, was recognized for their spirit at the highly-anticipated game against IMG on Sept. 21. This is the first year that OC Register has ever handed out this award to student sections, which means this is the first time The Den has been recognized.

At the IMG game, The Den flooded the stands to support their classmates on the field, cheering the players on the whole game. The student section that usually struggles being heard couldn’t keep quiet this game.

According to Manny Alvarez’s OC Register article, “The Den rocked it the entire game and was needed to cheer on the Monarchs in their epic victory over IMG Academy of Florida.”

Alvarez said that, in order to determine the Student Section of the Week, he looks for students’ posts to social media about sporting events.

“When student sections post photos, videos and written posts in general, we notice it,” he said in an email. “…Steve Fryer [of the OC Register] was at the IMG Academy game with Jonathan Khamis [also of the OC Register] and told me that you guys were killing it and to put The Den in consideration. Jonathan posted a video to show me more proof and I was sold.”

Helping the student section’s rise in school spirit is the new Yell Squad, a group of 11 spirited students that lead The Den in chants and sing alongs. Senior Brooks Massey, a yell leader, played a big role in getting the student section all riled up.

“This makes me feel excited that I can make a change, make people happy and [make them] want to have school spirit,” Massey said.

Another highlight of the new and improved student section is the “Sack Shark,” which was debuted by seniors Taylor Morales and Ethan Lacher at the football season opener against Bishop Amat. Sack Shark is an inflatable pool shark that goes gets thrown around the student section every time our team gets a sack. At the IMG Game, Lacher took Sack Shark to another level and decided to dress up as the Sack Shark to bring even more spirit to the crowd.

“For the IMG game, I knew I had to do something big to help the team get the dub,” Lacher said.

With the new additions of the Yell Squad and the Sack Shark, The Den is trying to be better than ever. Sophomore Rachel Dennin attends games frequently and said she has seen the growth in The Den. She said that this year’s student section has “shown more pride and spirit as a whole compared to the previous years,” Dennin said.

“How can you not have school spirit with a team of such high-caliber as Mater Dei?” Lacher said.