Fans of the Utah State Aggies were distraught when their beloved team was eliminated in the first round of Thursday’s opening round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and their sadness was reflected by a heartbroken cheerleader who was captured by television cameras during the national television broadcast of the game and has since gone viral.
During the crucial late stages of tenth-seeded Utah State’s matchup with the seventh-seeded University of Missouri Tigers, TNT which was broadcasting the tourney showed the emotional reaction of 20-year-old Ashlyn Whimpey not once, but twice as her team was in the process of being bounced by Mizzou which would advance to the next round after taking the opener by a score of 76-65.
Whimpey – the girlfriend of star Aggies guard Sean Bairstow who put up 10 points in the losing effort – teared up as it became apparent that a furious comeback effort by Utah State came up short as the clip exploded across social media, spawning memes that could be longlasting.
(Video: YouTube/The Bleacher Report)
As the memes began to proliferate, Whimpey reacted by posting a video to TikTok making light of the moment.
“That one time when I was sad to cheer at my last game,” she wrote, along with numerous shots of social media posts poking fun at her.
“And now I’m a meme,” she added in the caption.
@ashwhimp and now i’m a meme #usucheerleader #marchmadness #cryingcheerleader #aggies #fyp ♬ World’s Smallest Violin – AJR
“As supportive as they come, congrats on such a successful 20 years of cheer @ashwhimp,” Bairstow wrote, providing solace to his girlfriend.
“The best season cheering for my boy! So proud of you @seanbairstow2,” Whimpey wrote, reposting the message.
While the crushing loss will soon be forgotten by all except diehard Utah State fans, Whimpey’s courtside weeping could lead to immorality when it comes to memes as Twitter users weighed in on her unwanted stardom.
Elite lip quiver from this Utah State cheerleader. pic.twitter.com/uzIWvXV1LZ
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) March 16, 2023
The Utah State cheerleader CBS just showed is about to become an all-time meme
— Wes Blankenship (@Wes_nship) March 16, 2023
The crying Utah State cheerleader is about to join the NCAA Tourney meme ranks with Villanova flute girl and Northwestern kid.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) March 16, 2023
That poor Utah State cheerleader is about to be a meme
— Connor Muldowney (@Connormuldowney) March 16, 2023
They did her so wrong for pointing that camera on her!!
— Ivan Kamali (@Ivan_Kamali) March 16, 2023
well I'm sad to say my bracket and that crying Utah State cheerleader are in similar shape
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) March 16, 2023
INJECT ALL THESE CRYING UTAH STATE FANS IN MY VEINS
— #7 Seed Barstool Mizzou (@BarstoolMizzou) March 16, 2023
“If you ever played sports, you see this all the time. So much time and energy is put into the game and bonding with your team. Losing sucks, especially when you see the end of the line when you lose. If you know that this is the last time with what you consider a ‘second family’ of sorts then you are going to be emotional,” wrote one user who sharply criticized those piling onto Whimpey. “To mock or make fun of that is pretty bush league.”
If you ever played sports, you see this all the time. So much time and energy is put into the game and bonding with your team. Losing sucks, especially when you see the end of the line when you lose. If you know that this is the last time with what you consider a "second family"… https://t.co/SzTxGAgp9n
— Your Campus Hookup (@campushookup) March 17, 2023
While Utah State’s season abruptly ended on a sour note, the Missouri Tigers will look to move onto the sweet sixteen if they are able to prevail over the 15th-seeded Princeton University Tigers in Saturday’s second-round game at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center, a matchup that looks like a slam dunk on paper, but underdogs can be very dangerous this time of year.
As for Aggies fans, it could always be worse. They could have been cheering for top-seeded Purdue which fell to extreme underdog Fairleigh Dickinson, a major shocker with the unheralded 68th seed pulling off the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history with their stunning 63-58 win on Friday, a result that likely had Boilermakers fans shedding plenty of their own tears.
They don’t call it March Madness for nothing.
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