Grand Canyon University students brought the noise to Ball Arena
The Grand Canyon University student section had its one shining moment Friday evening at Ball Arena.
And the national audience noticed the energy they brought to Denver.
Even with their team down 12 points in the final minute against Gonzaga, the purple wall was still coordinated effortlessly in dance moves, chants and Antelope pride. No matter the No. 14 seed Antelopes fell to the third-seeded Zags, 82-70.
Students met at the Phoenix airport early Friday for a flight to Denver. The University, located in Phoenix, offered a package deal to students which, for the price of $25.00, they could fly to Denver from Phoenix. The GCU administration comped free tickets to the game, a bus to Ball Arena from the hotel and fans received a t-shirt. GCU was even willing to put students up through Sunday night in case Grand Canyon pulled the upset.
As Division I’s only for-profit institution, the university is more than happy to assist students who made the trip. It’s no wonder they came in droves — “three or four planes” worth of Antelope fans.
“Our administration and staff is completely supportive of us,” said senior Cole Baker, who is president of “The Havocs”, the name of the student section. “They wanna make it a positive of an experience for the students. I mean, they’re giving us opportunities like this when no other schools in the nation are doing this.”
There was also a strong contingent of local students in the purple pack, as well. Jacob Frenzen, a junior finance major from Johnstown, said that once he saw the ‘Lopes were drawn to Ball Arena, it was an easy decision to come home.
“Right away, I knew I had to be here, somehow, someway. We got the tickets right away,” Frenzen said. “It’s so cool to see that energy level transfer from Phoenix to here. It’s just like we’re at a home game.”
For GCU students, it was their first chance to see their team compete on the big stage of March Madness. The first time they qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2021 against Iowa, it was fan-less due to the pandemic.
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