BY ERIN MADDEN
The Finnegan Fieldhouse was filled with fans during the Midnight Madness event Saturday, which officially kicked off the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.
Both sides of the stands in the Fieldhouse were filled as students came out to support their fellow student athletes.
As they walked in, students were greeted with free T-shirts, pizza, water and glowsticks to celebrate the occasion and get them excited for the start of winter sports.
The Rev. Dennis Gang, TOR, started the night in prayer, followed by the national anthem performed by The Revelations, the men’s a cappella group.
More musical performances followed, including a performance by Elijah Simon, who sang and played piano to the song “Rude” by Magic, and Mary Ciaccia, who sang “God Bless America.”
No basketball event is complete without the friendly competition among the students who were able to take part in a Knockout competition and a 3-point shoot-off. First place winners took home $20 Sodexo gift cards while second place finishers won $10 LaLa’s gift cards.
Students also had the chance to participate in a “Superfan” contest to show just how excited they were for the start of the basketball seasons.
Before the winter athletes were announced, the athletic department took time to recognize the success of the fall teams, highlighting the undefeated rugby team and the women’s tennis team who won their first conference championship.
The focus then switched to the winter sports, starting with a performance from the Baronettes dance team.
As the basketball teams were announced, the lights dimmed and the excitement rose among the students in attendance. Each player got a moment in the spotlight as rosters were announced one player at a time.
Head coaches John Lamanna and Suzy Delaney gave a few words, adding to the excitement over the start of the season.
The men’s and the women’s teams then got a chance to display their skills in a head-to-head 3-point shooting contest, where the men emerged victorious 39-29.
Sophomore Caleb Herboth said, “This event was awesome. I really enjoyed the fact that I got a free T-shirt. Now, I’m pumped and feeling all excited.”
Freshman Erika Salazar said, “It was awesome. I am really excited for basketball season now. I think I will be coming to a game or two.”
The women’s basketball team kicks off their season at home against Bethany College (W.V.) on November 15 at 1 p.m. while the men’s team will start on the road against Grove City College also on November 15 at 7 p.m.