Originally published March 19, 2012 at 01:55p.m., updated March 19, 2012 at 10:04p.m.

KU spirit squad, band members help save trapped man before NCAA women’s tournament game


— Members of Kansas University’s spirit squad and band had no idea their spring break would involve saving a man’s life.

Nine men from the KU organizations — four cheer squad members and five band members — were about to board a bus to take them to the Kansas women’s basketball team’s Sunday evening NCAA Tournament game against Nebraska when they saw a panicked man in the Hilton hotel parking lot.

Cheer squad members Chase Ryan, Gavin Runkle, Garrett Greaves and Alex O’Neilio, as well as band members Alex Sizemore, Kyle Stringer, Lucas Wallace, Spencer Merryfield and James Austin were leaving the hotel lobby and it took them a moment to realize a man was making a small commotion near two cars parked next to each other.

Said Runkle: “He was trying to pick up the car, and we realized he was trying to do something.”

At first, they weren’t sure what he was yelling about, O’Neilio said, but upon further investigation they discovered there was another man trapped underneath a Cadillac sedan.

“Then we all just naturally ran,” O’Neilio said.

Apparently the car had been propped up on a jack, but the vehicle had rolled off the support, trapping someone who had crawled underneath. All nine KU students helped lift the automobile off the ground, and the man was able to free himself and appeared relatively unharmed, though he was covered in grease and had some minor wounds, they said.

The whole scene was a blur for the Kansas students, as well as KU spirit squad coordinator Cat Jarzemkoski, who also was on the scene.

“He got up. He was disoriented,” Jarzemkoski said. “You could tell his head was bleeding.”

The man didn’t say anything to the students afterward, the spirit squad and band members said, because he was too dazed. They just felt lucky that they happened upon the accident.

“I don’t know what he would’ve done if we weren’t walking by,” Jarzemkoski said.

The spirit squad coach was proud to see how the KU students responded.

“They just dropped everything. They didn’t panic,” Jarzemkoski said.

The group went on to their game duties and didn’t miss a second of the Jayhawks’ 57-49 victory over Nebraska at Jack Stephens Center.


tical523 10 years, 4 months ago

"Covered in grease and blood, the genltleman was disoriented but otherwise OK". . . . . I love it.

Kent Wells 10 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like me on my graduation night...

And an awesome story!

TKELuke 10 years, 4 months ago

Freaking Awesome!! Saving Lives and Kicking Butt, all in a days work for KU.

jhyphene 10 years, 4 months ago

Wow. Between this and Bill Self assisting a bleeding referee at Iowa State, is KU in line for some sort of humanitarian award from the NCAA?

Noisewater 10 years, 4 months ago

Covered in grease? Disoriented? Was it Quin Snyder?

GeoHawk15 10 years, 4 months ago

Awesome! Thanks for making me spit my post dinner beer all over my laptop!

KUlolly 10 years, 4 months ago

Good job! Makes me even more proud to be a Jayhawk!

stm62 10 years, 4 months ago

Academic championships,  tourney victories, now the spirit squad comes to the rescue.  Proud to be a JAYHAWK!!

Mike Kendall 10 years, 4 months ago

Holy cow! Nice story. Hope CBS gives some national love to the squad by doing a feature story at the Sweet 16 pregame. Just an idea! The spirit squad members are heroes. Family members have to be proud of you all. Way to go!

actorman 10 years, 4 months ago

Very impressive! You all should be proud of yourselves! Nice job of representing Jayhawk nation.

davehawkSWK 10 years, 4 months ago

Spirit Squad, KUDOS to all of you. Great representation of young people doing what is right without thinking about, "What do I get out of this?" I thank you with all my heart for putting others first and for being a part of the University I dearly love. Thank you so much for your unselfishness towards others. I am proud of your efforts!!

kumax 10 years, 4 months ago

Probably just my own weird sense of humor... but, this story made me think of a Saturday Night Live skit

Picture this.... 9 Jayhawk "spirit squaders" rambling around the U.S. in an old Greybound bus, cheering on their team, pickin' up two ton caddies to save do-it-yourselfer's, passin' out candy to cryin' kids, saving runaway seniors in their wheelchairs careening down the hills of San Francisco, etc..... and then, pulling it together for a Rock Chalk chant before they pile back into the bus for new adventures.

Yep, true superheroes. Good job 'hawks!

Spencer Goff 10 years, 4 months ago

How lucky was this guy? First off, that anybody was there to hear him, let alone nine college athletes that could lift a Cadillac off him. This story kicks a$$!

jhawkswagger 10 years, 4 months ago

It was actually 6 band members and 3 yell leaders.

John Boyle 10 years, 4 months ago

The article says 4 yell leaders and 5 band members? Which is correct?

5DecadeHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

It should not come as a surprise that Kansans are smart enough to move a broken down vehicle by whatever means necessary.

Sadly Mizery's spirit squad would have just considered that broken down car as a yard ornament and ignored it.

Well done KU Spirit Squad (and Band if you also helped.)

You put the Rock in Rock Chalk Jayhawk yesterday.

Skoomlaash 10 years, 4 months ago

Good job Spirt Squad you put the You Rock in Rock Chalk. Way to go

omng392 10 years, 4 months ago

That's a new use for sprit fingers !!

Pitthawk34 10 years, 4 months ago

So what the hell was big and little Jay doing...drinking a cool one, watching the whole drama play out.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 4 months ago

When it was all over and the man showed his gratitude, the spirit squad lined up and did "The Perfect Cheer":.......

Who's that Jayhawk liftin' that's me,it's me. Who's that Jayhawk getting their uni soiled, it's me, it's me. Goooooo Jayhawks!

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 4 months ago

Wow, a lot more detail in this story the second time I clicked on it.

ku4bob 10 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps it was karma that the women won that night. They should rescue more folks!

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 4 months ago

What sort of hotel does the spirit squad stay in where prople are doing auto mechanic work themselves on a Caddy up on stands in the parking lot? I guess a Hilton hotel in Little Rock might not be the same as one in Kansas City, etc. Get these guys get a little more money in the travel budget, please!

packywacky88 10 years, 4 months ago

As a former Women's BBall pepband member, I say good work men.

Orangedog87 10 years, 4 months ago

Great story

Great laughs in the comments


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