Oct. 25, 2012
Abbey Archer-Rierson is a former Jayhawk cheerleader from a small town in Kansas by the name of McPherson. She graduated from McPherson High School and knew right away that she wanted to become a Jayhawk. An elite gymnast, Archer-Rierson decided to contribute those skills to KU and become a cheerleader for the Jayhawk spirit squad.
She attended KU from 2002 to 2006 and graduated with a degree in elementary education. She joined the ranks of McPherson College and became the director of development where she handles fundraising, college campaign efforts and many other special projects.
Archer-Rierson and her husband, Cody Rierson, have two daughters, Harper and Vivi.
What made you want to become a Jayhawk?
"It was ingrained in my head since I was really little. I remember being on The Hill as a child and I would play and watch the football game. My grandpa was a huge Jayhawk fan as well."
How long did you participate in cheerleading?
"I have been cheering all my life. I did competitive gymnastics and cheered all four years at KU."
How did cheering differ from high school to college?
"I went to a small school in McPherson, so college was a lot more intense than high school. I guess the main focus would be the intensity, especially the intensity of games."
What was your favorite moment being a part of the KU spirit squad?
"I probably couldn't think of just one. I guess I would say I loved the very beginning of the basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse. There is really nothing like that. The beginnings of the games were amazing every time. I liked cheering at all the games, and I liked competing at nationals. I also liked the Lawrence community because I am from a much smaller town."
Why was competing at nationals one of your favorite cheerleading memories?
"It was amazing. It's fun to get know other people from different schools that have the same passion for cheerleading. It's nice to represent the Jayhawks in that type of competitive manor."
What were the differences between cheering for football and basketball?
"For basketball it's such a smaller place so it is easier to have contact with your fans. With football, you have to work a little bit harder because it is a bigger arena. Getting adjusted to the weather was kind of interesting, too."
Did you have any experiences with falls?
"My sophomore year I had to have an emergency surgery because my thumb was just hanging there. I hurt myself on a Sunday and I had the surgery the next day."
What is your current job and how did you get involved with it?
"My current job is as Director of Development at McPherson College. In my job I handle the `special projects' for the college. When I graduated from KU I got into pharmaceutical sales and enjoyed it. I moved back to McPherson and got involved with fundraising for the college because of my background in sales."
Do you miss life at KU?
"I miss having the best seat in Allen Fieldhouse. KU is such a wonderful place, so of course I miss it a little."
Do you have any advice for current or incoming Jayhawk spirit squad members?
"Just soak it all in; all of the opportunities that you'll get to experience because you're cheering. The friends you will make and the connections you can make are something you can't put a value on. So just enjoy it."