They are the leaders of everyone’s favorite chants, the daring students who paint up for football games, the teens with the most school spirit; they are the 12th man. However, Lee’s Summit West High School’s student section is unlike those at the neighboring schools.

Lee’s Summit High School’s loud crowd, and Lee’s Summit North High School’s crimson crazies, are made up of both boys and girls. At West, the fan group has always been strictly limited to upperclassmen boys.

Senior Hayden Diebold has been apart of the 12th man since his junior year. “Since there are only eleven guys on the field, we get the chance to be the twelfth,” said Diebold.

The student based groups has the job of rallying together the student section. Diebold said “I love going out there and getting the crowd pumped up, and being a part of the team.”

Since the 12th man has solely been for the male students at West, a new tradition has formed for senior girls. Former Lee’s Summit West student Annie Parscale started the trend of painting her face in a way that corresponded to the game’s theme.

For the past two year the role has been passed down to another senior girl. “This year I got to do it and it was really fun, people would tell me they looked forward to seeing what I would come up with for the theme that next Friday,” said senior Hannah Ratigan.

The 12th man is dressed in Hawaiian attire for the border war boys basketball game against Lee’s Summit North High School. The crowd and 12th man helped cheer the Titan on to a 64-59 victory over the Broncos. Photo by Katie Britton-Mehlisch.

While the female students at West have created their own way to show spirit, they shouldn’t give up hope on becoming a member of the 12th.

“Clubs and activities are wide open, if there isn’t a similar group offered for a specific gender, they can join another,” said Activities and Athletic Director Jereme Hubbard.

But the 12th man is not technically a activity or a club at Lee’s Summit West. Hubbard said “anyone could join the 12th man, we don’t regulate the members since its student ran.”

But not having a gender neutral fan group doesn’t bother some Titans. “I know other schools might do it differently but the 12th man is something special to our school,” said Ratigan.

The members of the group don’t see the gender of the 12th man changing anytime soon either. “Honestly I don’t think girls will ever be apart of the 12th, it’s been a tradition and its named ‘man’ for a reason,” said Diebold.

“Even for everyone, not just girls, to have fun at a sporting event or to feel involved in the family we call the student body, you don’t have to be apart of a certain ‘group’ you just have to have fun,” said Ratigan.