A New Lucky Charm: Notre Dame Football Features First Female Leprechaun

Author: Elena Que and Meg Kelleher

Pitt Nd 2023 Nathanial George 5 1 1"
Nathanial George

The ND-Pitt football game on Saturday, Oct. 28 marked a historic moment for the university as senior Kylee Kazenski was the first woman to portray the leprechaun at a Notre Dame football game.

Each year, the Notre Dame cheerleading team selects a cohort of leprechauns to represent the various athletic teams at their respective competitions. For the 2023-2024 year, there are four leprechauns.

Fellow senior and leprechaun Ryan Coury typically leads the football team onto the field; however, on Oct. 28, Kazenski ushered in the team amidst roars of cheers and applause.

While the ND-Pitt game may be the most well known event that Kazenski has portrayed the leprechaun at, it is just one of her several assignments. She also performs during men’s soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter, and softball in the spring.

Kazenski, a resident of Pasquerilla East Hall, is one of four female leprechauns in school history with Lynnette Wukie, Class of 2021, being the first woman to represent the Irish mascot, followed by Sophie Bouldoukian, Class of 2023, and McKenna Englhardt, Class of 2026.

Tryouts for the team are held in the spring semester of each year. The initial round requires applicants to submit a personal statement video submission and the top eight to ten candidates advance to a final tryout that consists of several events, including a mock pep rally and formal interview. Kazenski was selected for the 2023-2024 leprechaun team this past April and officially joined it in August.

Kazenski brought the luck of the Irish and rallied the crowd during Notre Dame's dominant performance against the Panthers. With a final score of 58-7, the game was a memorable occasion for the Fighting Irish in more ways than one.