Northwestern quiets 'The Shrieker,' the loud student fan at basketball games

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

Emily Harriott received text messages Wednesday night from concerned friends: "Where are you? Are you still alive?"

Harriott spent the evening in her happy place -- the student section at Welsh-Ryan Arena. But this was an unusual night for the Northwestern senior: She could be seen but not heard.

"It was different," she said. "Quieter."

Yes, for everyone.

Harriott, you see, is "The Shrieker." Her high-pitched wails have become a signature of Northwestern basketball games and telecasts.

But on Wednesday, as the Wildcats dueled Iowa, she became Ronnie Woo Woo without the "Woo! Woo!"

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After receiving complaints from both fans in the arena and television and radio partners after Sunday's game against Illinois, NU officials asked her to tone it down. Or more specifically, to turn it off.

She complied.

Harriott is president of Northwestern Wildside, the official NU student section. She regularly meets with Heather Obering, the athletic department's director of marketing. At the end of their last conversation, Obering brought up the shrieking.

Harriott said Obering put it like this: "How about we not do that anymore?"


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