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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Dazzling Spirit With a Crown to Match

Six-year-old Aiden had just received a glove from one of UB's players at the homecoming game against UCONN. But an autograph from Chazz Anderson was not enough for the young UB football fan. Instead, Aiden approached a young woman in a sash and a sparkling tiara; he wanted his glove signed by the UB Homecoming Queen.

Kelsey Mech, a junior accounting major, was crowned UB's 2011 Homecoming Queen at the Sept. 17 UB football game. The 20-year-old was on the sideline during the game, cheering on UB in her Dazzlers uniform. When halftime arrived and her name was announced, it was the beginning of a moment she will never forget.

"At first I was immediately shocked [that I won] because there were so many other good candidates that were running against me," Mech said, "But then I had the biggest smile and I was so excited that I was a representative of the entire university with how many students from how many countries."

However, her mother, Cindy Mech, was not shocked to hear her daughter's name announced.

"Not surprised one bit," Cindy said. "Kelsey sets her [sights] on a goal and works to achieve them."

UB Dazzlers dancers were also positive that she would win. Grace Schnitter, one of the team captains, was ecstatic to see Kelsey crowned.

"We had 100 percent confidence in her," Schnitter said. "She said to us at the end of the game that day, that when she won on the field that she saw all of us put our pom poms up in the air, and that meant so much to her to see how happy we were that she won."

The Student Association advertises the competition for Homecoming King and Queen every year on flyers, Facebook, and by spreading the word out to all SA clubs. The process for entering involves either the nomination oneself or someone else, then completing an application, resume, and a one page essay on why the candidate deserves to be win.

After a set deadline for submissions, five students are interviewed in front of a board of five judges that can include the SA president, Leadership Planning Coordinators, and someone from UB Athletics. The winner, however, is the person that demonstrates the most school spirit.

Mech exemplifies school spirit by being heavily involved on campus. While maintaining a 3.9 GPA, she is involved in the UB Accounting Association, Polish Student Association, and is a Career Ambassador for the School of Management.

Mech was an RA in Richmond her sophomore year and is now a Community Assistant at South Lake. As an RA, Mech became a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary and a winner of RA of the Year, a distinction given to Residence Advisors who demonstrate the ability to build great communities.

"To this day everyone on my floor from my last year are really good friends and hang out with each other," Mech said.

Dancing, however, has been her greatest passion. Mech began dancing at the age of 2 and became a UB Dazzler her freshman year at UB.

"She is extremely dedicated at all of our football games, basketball games, and any events that we have," said Melanie Warren, the assistant coach of the Dazzlers.

Part of that dedication comes from Mech being a huge fan of UB sports. She loves UB football and basketball and hasn't missed a game since her freshman year.

"She always looks the part, dresses the part, and she acts the part. She is a true Dazzler," Schnitter said.

Exercising is one of Mech's favorite hobbies and ways of relieving stress. Not only does it help her stay in shape for dancing on the sidelines, but it's also a moment where she can just forget about school.

"I tell myself I can't think about school and I can't think about anything that stresses me out," Mech said. "It is not only healthy, but it is a mental break too, from the many things that I am involved in."

Mech believes students should try to be involved on campus as much as possible. She loves living on campus, and knows that she would never want to commute. She said that an easy way to become involved is to stay on campus as much as possible and meet new people.

"Say hi to everyone and anyone that you meet. That's the way you're going to make your friends and your connections," Mech said.

Above the noise of a crowd on Sept. 17, Mech's father, Thomas Mech, cheered the loudest at his daughter's crowning.

"Kelsey made a name for herself in school, softball, dancing and pretty much everything that she was involved in," Thomas said. "[I] guess that about says it all."





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