Continuing the age-old rivalry between USC and UCLA in the lead up to the crosstown rivalry football game Saturday, USC’s Undergraduate Student Government presented the annual Conquest spirit rally on Thursday evening in McCarthy Quad.
USG, Trojan Pride and the USC Concerts Committee attracted a large audience for the highly anticipated event with a Ferris wheel, fireworks, DJs and, of course, the Trojan Marching Band. Students played arcade games, ate from food trucks and rode the highly anticipated Ferris wheel.
Each year, Conquest is open to all members of the USC community, giving them a chance to celebrate with a concert and performances to amp up school spirit before the football game. Opening with a pep rally, USC’s athletic teams and the Trojan Marching Band charged up the crowd with game-day spirit for the battle Saturday.
One notable performance was from the USC Cheer competition team. Sabina Godes, a member of the cheer team, said the energy of the crowd was palpable.
“After our routine and even during it, hearing the crowd cheer when we were doing a cool flip or stunts…[was] a rewarding feeling because we work really hard to perform,” Godes said.
Conquest also featured special guests such as the men’s basketball team, women’s soccer and other prominent members of the athletic community.
“I think [Conquest] is a good way to get the school involved and ready for the game day and rivalry,” Godes shared. “I think the crowd that was there was super enthusiastic. It was fun to perform for them.”
In addition to tumbling tricks from the cheer squad, other student dance groups like the Trojan Dance Force, Breakthrough Hip Hop, the Song Girls and the Cardinal Divas performed to hype up the crowd and show their school pride.
In addition, a wide variety of student-run music organizations such as acapella clubs, Troy Tones and the Asli Baat Acapella group performed. The CreSCendo Music Club, the only Mandarin-speaking music club at USC, also participated.
“The crowd at Conquest was electric,” Legion leader Ben Polaski said. The Legion is the USC student section that aims to create an energetic environment and build a spirited community at athletic events. “A lot of students showed up and shared their support for USC athletics and were really building culture.”
Assistant director of the Concerts Committee Riley Wheaton said that “as a COVID freshman, not getting the whole rundown of our traditions, I think that [Conquest] is a really easy tradition for everyone to participate [in] that’s genuinely right in their backyard,” Wheaton said. “I think that’s a really awesome opportunity, free of cost.”
The rivalry game will take place Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The outcome of this game will determine which school makes it to the Pac-12 playoffs.