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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

Q&A with the graduating women’s basketball Hawk

Matt+Kirchgasser+%E2%80%9924%2C+the+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+team+Hawk+mascot%2C+flaps+his+wings+during+the+matchup+against%0ARider%2C+Nov.+7.+PHOTO%3A+COURTESY+OF+SJU+ATHLETICS
Matt Kirchgasser ’24, the women’s basketball team Hawk mascot, flaps his wings during the matchup against Rider, Nov. 7. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SJU ATHLETICS

The women’s basketball Hawk mascot, Matthew Kirchgasser ’24, is retiring after two years of flapping. The Hawk sat down with Kirchgasser to ask about his time as the mascot:

The Hawk: Why did you apply to be the Hawk mascot at the end of your sophomore year? 

Kirchgasser: I really wanted to get more involved with SJU Athletics, while having the main problem of not being athletic enough to be a part of a D1 sports team. So, I [had] a great way to get on the ground floor and help St. Joe’s in any way I could.

The Hawk: Did you ever think you’d become a mascot?

Kirchgasser: If I’m being honest, I went in because I love St. Joe’s. I wasn’t raised as a kid with a dream of being a mascot one day. I grew into it. But now it’s weird that I’m in the culture of mascots. All these events I had to do. [I ran] into the Villanova Wildcat, the Rutgers [Scarlet] Knight [and I’m seeing] the Philly fanatic this Sunday. That’s been exciting in itself. It opened a whole new subculture I never thought I’d actually be interested in.

The Hawk: In the past two years of being the Hawk, what have been your favorite memories?

Kirchgasser: Seeing all the alumni and current students get so excited when they see the Hawk, it’s something so genuine that, when you first start, you’re not sure what to expect. There’s some real passion behind it, and it really is a one-of-a-kind experience when they’re running up to get pictures. Then, I would say specifically, it would be senior night. That was a lot of fun just seeing that it was the biggest crowd we had all season and we beat Rhode Island. It was a lot of fun.

The Hawk: What’s the atmosphere like when you step on the court?

Kirchgasser: It’s pretty electric. It’s like when we go out of the tunnel for the first time and everyone’s just cheering and the band’s going off. You can’t help but smile underneath there. And then it’s like, ‘Oh, this is kind of cool,’ like every single time. Even at away games, it’s fun to run across because when they boo, it’s equally as exciting. 

The Hawk: What’s it like when you’re in the suit versus when you’re in the stands?

Kirchgasser: As tiring as it is, sometimes you can’t help but just jump up and start bouncing around with everyone else. In the crowd, too, feeding off that energy specifically, like when I go up to the crowd, and everyone’s super excited. 

The Hawk: Do you have any pregame rituals?

Kirchgasser: I have a stretching routine. We have a routine where we do shoot arounds. I go out and help with that and fill up waters beforehand. And then, right when the girls run into the locker room, I go in and just start warming up my shoulders

The Hawk: How has your final year as the Hawk been? 

Kirchgasser: This past season has been amazing. [The women’s team] was doing so well. We were on the move and focused on the next step. I never really thought ‘Oh, it’s almost over. It’s coming to an end like this.’ And then once it did, it was mixed feelings. It was so much fun. I’m gonna miss it, absolutely. But, at the same time, I’m so excited to come back and watch the game with my arms down. 

Alongside his parents and head coach Cindy Griffin, Matt Kirchgasser ’24 is honored during the team’s senior night, Feb. 24. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SJU ATHLETICS

 

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Zach Podolnick, Sports Reporter
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