Fans from Salina might see some familiar faces on the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium during Kansas State University football games this fall. A couple of wildcat players with connections to Salina are battling to earn playing time. But another person has already earned the opportunity, and secured a spot on the field.
Haley Rapp, a graduate of Salina Sacred Heart High School, will be a featured twirler. Rapp will perform with the band, dancers, and color guard.
Rapp, who is a junior at K-State, tells KSAL News that she has been twirling since she was 5-years-old. She says that it was always her dream to be a twirler at K-State. “I came here, I went from Wildcat Twirler to Feature Twirler, so I’m living the dream,” she said.
The K-State football team is one of top programs in the country, and the players and coaches put in hours of practice each week. The K-State band, dancers, color guard, and the twirlers are also among the best in the country. Rapp says that people really don’t realize how hard they all work. “We work very hard behind the scenes to put on those perfect shows you seen on the field,” she said. Along with practicing their routines, the twirlers have to be physically fit. They do things like running the stadium stairs to stay in shape.
On game day, Rapp says that she experiences the same emotions that many others who will be on the field do, players and band alike. It can be nerve wracking performing in front a stadium full of people. Rapp’s first game was last year, and it was surreal for her. “I don’t even remember it. I walked out onto the field for our first set and I remember thinking wow, I used to look out onto this and now I’m out here on the field,” she said.
It’s also not just the players who get bumps and bruises. Rapp has had her fair share as well. She has had jammed fingers, scrapes, and bruises. She even performed with a black eye at one game last season.
The twirlers perform with the band before the game in the parking lot to get fans fired up. They perform on the field during pregame and at halftime. And they perform short sets in between quarters.
Rapp has Saturday, September 17th, marked on her calendar. It is K-State’s first home game, and her first opportunity this season to perform in front of 50,000 people.