The Nest bring a boost of energy for ORU Athletics

President Rylee Cater, right, and Vice President Reese Harder have ideas for growing The Nest and bringing more energy not only to basketball games but to all sports at ORU.

Blake Turner, Staff Writer

When Maryland hosted Duke on Jan. 27, 2001, students chanted “overrated” at the Blue Devils bench when the Terrapins were up 8 points with 54 seconds left in the game. Famously, however, those chants would fuel the Blue Devils to come back and win 98-96.

Student sections can have a positive or negative impact on a game, but either way they bring infectious energy and can make the game livelier.

Oral Roberts University’s student section, nicknamed The Nest, has grown larger this semester with increasing attendance at volleyball games and men’s and women’s soccer matches.

The Nest, more than just a name of the student section, is also a student organization, led by President Rylee Carter, a biology major preparing for a career in healthcare administration.

The idea for creating The Nest came from wanting to make the student section livelier, Carter said.

“This past summer, we sat down, and we were talking about things, like, ‘How can we make this come to life?’” Carter said.

The level of fan interaction with the players became more apparent at men’s basketball games after the Golden Eagles made the Sweet 16 at the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Carter said, adding that she never saw as much enthusiasm during her freshman year.

Camrin Carr, a sports management senior, a similar experience.

“Most definitely, my freshman year I didn’t see a lot of students at the game,” Carr said. “But after March Madness, I saw a lot more students come to the game.”

The Nest Vice President Reese Harder said the group’s creativity helps bring new ideas for ORU Athletics.

“I believe that there are so many opportunities within sports to be creative that are not being implemented at our school,” Harder said. “I feel like we have the wonderful opportunity to promote athletics.”

The idea for a fan bus came during a six-game winning streak for the men’s basketball team back in January, with students traveling to Kansas City to cheer on the Golden Eagles against University of Missouri-Kansas City, a Summit Conference rival.

“We were having so much fun,” Carter said, “that we were like, ‘Why don’t we take it to an away game, bring the same excitement to support our teams and why limit ourselves to only doing this at home games?’”

With an Instagram account growing to almost 500 followers, The Nest is working to get even more students involved, Carter said. The group hopes to create an energetic atmosphere not just for basketball but for all sports.