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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Hawk Rap: A Q&A with the new Hawk, Matt Kirchgasser

Matt Kirchgasser ’24 keep family day energy high by making a presence as the hawk. PHOTO: JULIA HOLZ ’23/THE HAWK

Matt Kirchgasser ’24 was named the new women’s basketball team Hawk mascot in May. Kirchgasser, a finance major from Media, Pennsylvania, was formerly a member of the lacrosse, wrestling, cross country and track programs at Penncrest High School where he graduated in 2020.

On the same day Kirchgasser was named the women’s Hawk, Frank Sorochen ’23 was also named the men’s basketball team Hawk, as both teams have their own individual mascot. The Hawk is best known for flapping their wings for the duration of basketball games, and is one of the few mascots in the country that travels with the team to every game. Jim Brennan ’58 originated the idea for a hawk as a mascot during the 1954-55 basketball season, which has now gone on for over 65 seasons. The women’s mascot started in 1988 with Larry Lim ’89, and since then, there have been a total of 19 other hawks for the women’s team, seven of those being women. 

The Hawk sat down with Kirchgasser to learn more about his experience thus far taking part in what the NCAA has dubbed the “Best College Basketball Tradition.”

The Hawk: What made you decide to try out to become the Hawk?

Kirchgasser: I’m friends with some of the kids on the golf team, and the previous men’s Hawk, Alec [Kerr], he was also a golfer. So, I heard that this was an actual position, and I thought it’d be fun, and so far it has been fun.

The Hawk: Could you explain a little bit about what the interview process was like to become the Hawk?

Kirchgasser: It was a lot more extensive than I thought it was going to be. It was two meetings talking about the requirements and then it was an application itself where you write your name and throw it in. Then, we had to make a video about why you should be the Hawk, showing your attributes and then we finished with a Zoom with everyone on the committee.

The Hawk: What are you looking forward to most about being the Hawk this year?

Kirchgasser: So far, it’s been a bunch of random events, but I’m looking forward to eventually getting to flap at more exciting events like good basketball games. I’m also very excited to get to interact with the fans at the games and to see what the games are like. 

The Hawk: What events have you done so far since you’ve been selected? 

Kirchgasser: I was at Family Day. It was hot. It was really hot. But other than that, my experience at Family Day was great. It was very exciting to get to see my friends and other people I know, seeing their families. 

The Hawk: Although you have only officially been the Hawk for a short time, what has been your favorite part of being the Hawk so far?

Kirchgasser: The women’s basketball team hosted a summer camp for little kids, and during the camp I visited the younger group. Seeing them get hype as I proceeded to air ball shots on an 8-foot rim with only one hand on the ball was hilarious, and trying to figure out how to sign their basketballs with one arm was interesting. It was difficult, but fun. 

The Hawk: The last Hawk for the women’s basketball team, Asia Whittenberger ’22, was a campus icon. How do you plan to bring the same energy that she brought to games?

Kirchgasser: Asia is the nicest person. I’ve had a few interactions with her. She’s the greatest. And I already told her I’m not going to be able to do the splits and stuff to keep up but I’m trying to do the best that I guess I can do. I’ll try to be lively and enjoying it as it goes and trying to get reactions out of people. 

The Hawk: You mentioned the split, one of Asia’s signature moves. Do you have any signature moves of your own that you plan to bring to games this winter?

Kirchgasser: Nothing yet. I’m not really acrobatic. I can get sturdy with it, but other than that, nothing but flapping for right now.

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Natalie Nevins
Natalie Nevins, Copy Editor
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