Utah’s Newest Mascot


Adam Fondren

The University of Utah Lady Utes Basketball Team takes on the Oregon State University Beavers in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Casey Overfield, Sports Editor

Almost anyone who has attended a game in the Huntsman Center has seen the dancer who occupies the front row of The Mighty Utah Student Section, (MUSS), the one who practically lives on the jumbotron. Jake Healey, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, brings excitement to all the University of Utah sporting events he attends.

Healey, a Salt Lake City native who graduated from Skyline High School, has become an icon through his memorable dance moves.

“I love dancing when I hear good music, and I don’t care much about what other people think about it,” Healey said. “Some people think that I do it for the attention, but I honestly couldn’t care less. I’m just out here having a good time.”

An undiagnosed narcoleptic, Healey said he spends most of his days tired and fighting to stay awake. When he attends games though, he makes the choice to support the teams through his dancing instead of letting exhaustion get the best of him.

Healey had the opportunity to attend a Utah football game when he was in junior high and it changed his outlook on school sports for the better. The university atmosphere influenced him to go crazy, and as he has attended more games as a Ute, this passion for supporting Utah became more prominent.

Darby Anderson, a freshman from Seattle, Washington, attends every home game for the Utes she can. She enjoys Healey’s dedication to making Utah sporting events an enjoyable experience for the fans. Anderson added that Healey brings an energy to the games that can’t be matched by other students, and when he is absent, the vibe at games isn’t the same.

“Jake brings spirit and enthusiasm to all of the games, and his energy makes the games way more entertaining,” Anderson said. “Everyone knows who he is, and he has so much support from the student section. He adds to the overall student experience for everyone around him at games.”

Healey’s involvement in The MUSS grew this year when he started to attend every home women’s volleyball game. In addition, he ran the “3rd Down Jump” sign at home football games.

It thrills Healey when fans and players recognize him during the events.

“I haven’t ever tried to be a big face at anything,” Healey said. “It just kind of happens when you’re crazy. When you’re crazy, the camera just finds you, and not the other way around.”

Healey recognizes there is only so much he can do to encourage crowd involvement. He enjoys when the players get involved in with the crowd because they pump people up. With help from the athletes, the games are more exciting.

Healey welcomes others to come and dance with him, and he wants more people to join him.

“I think it’s great when other people dance and go crazy because the team loves it, the coaches tolerate it, the fans enjoy it and everyone has a fun time,” Healey said. “If we can get more students to go crazy, then I’m all for it.”

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