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Brutus Buckeye costume fits man, woman equally

For the first time in 18 years and only the third time in history, a woman will lead the Buckeyes into the Horseshoe.

Emily Moor and Tom Phillips were recently announced as the two new Brutus Buckeyes for the 2001-2002 season.

Moor will be the first woman to wear the Brutus costume since 1983. The first woman to don the costume did so in the late 1970s.

About the same number of women try out for the position each year, said OSU cheerleading coach Judy Bunting. “About 15 women contacted me before tryouts, but only three actually tried out.”

Bunting said the strong character of Brutus would not be compromised by having a female in uniform. Phillips and Moor are about the same height, approximately 5 feet 7 inches, and have similar builds, but the likeness in size does not factor into making the decision. It all comes down to who can portray the character the best.

Tryouts are held during the course of a weekend with a week of mascot clinics preceding them. The tryouts are comprised of an interview with a panel of judges, performance of the fight-song to see the candidate’s ability to perform routines, improvisations, typical “game day” situations to see how each participant responds and a home skit evaluation where each contestant must develop a one-minute, six-second skit to be performed during “Hang on Sloopy.”

To be able to try out, the contestant must have a 2.0 grade point average and be a full-time student.

Moor, a sophomore in communication at the Lima campus of Ohio State, came into the tryouts with the experience of being her high school’s mascot for two years. Her old Elida, Ohio, Bulldog costume was about the same size as the Brutus outfit.

“The Brutus mascot’s costume was comfortable,” Moor said. “It felt like I was back in high school again. It felt great.”

Moor became the mascot while cheering in high school. “When people look at the cheerleaders they are all the same, but there is only one mascot. I thought it would be more fun,” she said.

Although there isn’t a strong tradition for women portraying the Brutus Buckeye character, Moor refused to let the intimidation stand in her way.

“I was very overwhelmed,” she said. “I’m not a big person, and it was a big goal to achieve.”

She was planning on transferring to the Columbus campus for autumn quarter, but the transition will now take place ahead of schedule.

Moor cites athletic ability, experience and energy as her strongest assets. She was the top singles tennis player at her high school and also competed in swimming and track. She continued her cheering career during the past season at the Lima campus. “I put a lot of energy into being a mascot. I know I can do everything and more than a man can do. I have the endurance and there’s nothing I can’t do,” she said.

The judges’ choice of Phillips as the other Brutus was fine with Moor: “They couldn’t have picked a better partner. We get along really well.”

Phillips, a senior in engineering, has no previous cheerleading experience but is good friends with current Brutus, Zak Blom.

“I thought it would be fun,” Phillips said. “I tried on the costume and knew I was going to have to do this. I never thought of being a cheerleader, but I felt welcome. They are a great group of people.”

Both described what their emotions might be like the first time they enter Ohio Stadium as Brutus.

“It will probably be every bit of emotion bottled up into one,” Phillips said.

Moor shared his sentiment. “I’m going to be nervous,” she said. “I’m so excited to lead the crowd on for the best college in the world. I hope it will be the best year ever.”

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