KU spirit squad, band members help save trapped man before NCAA women’s tournament game

? Members of Kansas University’s spirit squad and band had no idea their spring break would involve saving a man’s life.

Nine men from the KU organizations — four cheer squad members and five band members — were about to board a bus to take them to the Kansas women’s basketball team’s Sunday evening NCAA Tournament game against Nebraska when they saw a panicked man in the Hilton hotel parking lot.

Cheer squad members Chase Ryan, Gavin Runkle, Garrett Greaves and Alex O’Neilio, as well as band members Alex Sizemore, Kyle Stringer, Lucas Wallace, Spencer Merryfield and James Austin were leaving the hotel lobby and it took them a moment to realize a man was making a small commotion near two cars parked next to each other.

Said Runkle: “He was trying to pick up the car, and we realized he was trying to do something.”

At first, they weren’t sure what he was yelling about, O’Neilio said, but upon further investigation they discovered there was another man trapped underneath a Cadillac sedan.

“Then we all just naturally ran,” O’Neilio said.

Apparently the car had been propped up on a jack, but the vehicle had rolled off the support, trapping someone who had crawled underneath. All nine KU students helped lift the automobile off the ground, and the man was able to free himself and appeared relatively unharmed, though he was covered in grease and had some minor wounds, they said.

The whole scene was a blur for the Kansas students, as well as KU spirit squad coordinator Cat Jarzemkoski, who also was on the scene.

“He got up. He was disoriented,” Jarzemkoski said. “You could tell his head was bleeding.”

The man didn’t say anything to the students afterward, the spirit squad and band members said, because he was too dazed. They just felt lucky that they happened upon the accident.

“I don’t know what he would’ve done if we weren’t walking by,” Jarzemkoski said.

The spirit squad coach was proud to see how the KU students responded.

“They just dropped everything. They didn’t panic,” Jarzemkoski said.

The group went on to their game duties and didn’t miss a second of the Jayhawks’ 57-49 victory over Nebraska at Jack Stephens Center.