On the night of Oct. 20, Franciscan University of Steubenville students poured into the Finnegan Fieldhouse for Midnight Madness to kick off the 2018-2019 basketball season with contests by the teams and performances from students.
Loud music led students through streamers and balloons of the Franciscan school colors, and everyone received a large slice of pizza and bottled water.
Pete Rosaschi, head coach of the men’s lacrosse team, hosted the event for the seventh year, joined by Eric Haenni, who holds a doctorate in zoology. Their dad jokes and puns rang through the stadium for the amusement of the student body.
Brother Nate Meckey, TOR, led the opening prayer to commence the night’s activities. The Army ROTC Three Rivers Battalion presented the ceremonial colors, and sophomore John Free led the national anthem.
People were in high spirits as they cheered for the performers of the night. Senior baton twirler Clarice Orteza impressed the crowd by starting her performance with her baton lit on fire.
The crowd went wild as the next performer, the famous Yo-Yo Don (junior Matthew Donovan), proceeded to spin his yo-yo over his head and quickly jumped over it under his feet. The performances were closed with a baton twirling duet by a pair of Ohio-native cousins.
The first of two basketball contests that evening was a knockout tournament beginning with 20 contestants. Game two was a competition for the most 3-point shots in one minute. The finalists each scored seven shots as they entered the final round, but freshman Tito Padilla won with 12 shots in two minutes.
Finally, the teams energetically emerged from behind the black curtain as the lineup for men’s and women’s basketball teams were presented. The highlight of the men’s entrances was a student who accompanied the team and danced in a giant unicorn costume.
Head Coach Joe Wallace of the men’s basketball team said that the team is excited to have “a group of guys that have been here now for a couple years that were mature,” creating a unified group of “really hard-working guys.”
The women’s basketball head coach, Suzy Delaney, said, “We’re thankful to have six upperclassmen, led by seniors Reagan Stead and Gaby DeJesus, who can provide leadership and experience.”
Senior Kyle Aubert, vice president of Student Government and this year’s Midnight Madness supervisor, was highly pleased with the overall event. He said the night was “absolutely a success” and “ran super smoothly.”
The men’s first home basketball game with be on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. against Westminster College. The Lady Barons will begin their season at home with a game against Bethany College on Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.