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New leprechauns chosen from field of 17 applicants

Amanda Michaels | Monday, April 19, 2004

As the era of Leprechaun Mike comes to an end, the famous green suit has been passed into the hands of a new owner – Leprechaun Eddie.Keenan sophomore Edward Lerum was chosen Saturday night as the new Gold squad Leprechaun mascot, who performs at the football and men’s basketball games, among other events. “I feel extremely excited, I don’t think I understand yet about the commitment and everything that goes along with being the Leprechaun – it just hasn’t sunk it. But it’s a great opportunity,” said Lerum, who has wanted to be Leprechaun since his friends suggested it during their freshman year of high school.Dillon sophomore Kyle Chamberlin will serve as the Blue squad Leprechaun at soccer, volleyball and women’s basketball games and various community events.The selection process started months ago with a series of eight different clinics designed to prepare Leprechaun candidates for the rigors of auditions and beyond. Not all clinics were mandatory, as some trained students for the possibility of joining the cheerleading squad if they were not chosen as mascot, and applicants were not evaluated during this time. Seventeen candidates stayed for the audition process – a number that was cut down to nine last Monday. The nine remaining were subjected to a panel judging of their performance in various situations, including opening a football pep rally, appearing at an event and being questioned on numerous subjects by a media personality. “Auditions were extremely competitive … I felt mine went pretty well, but you could hear the crowd reaction for all the other candidates, and they were great for everyone,” said Lerum.The top five scores were brought in for a one-on-one interview to see, as cheerleading coach Jonette Minton said, “which one [had] the right heart.” Lerum said the interviews were relaxed and covered topics such as social and family life. The winners were announced that night, so those who were not selected had the opportunity to attend cheerleading try-outs the next day. “We choose someone that has a magnetic charisma, that would be able to communicate without words; someone genuine and honest, with a high level of integrity,” Minton said. “A lot of people might want to be Leprechaun for self-notoriety, instead of doing it to build spirit for the teams.”Lerum said that he plans to keep in contact with current Gold squad Leprechaun Michael Macaluso for advice, and will spend the summer thinking up ideas for the fall’s pep rallies and football games.Though there are no physical requirements – not even gender – Minton said she did encourage the Leprechauns to try to grow a beard.”I already have a beard,” Lerum said. “I’m about 5-foot-6, and though I’m blond, my facial hair is actually red, strangely enough. I’m Irish, so I guess I have that look.”