STORY BY NED LEEBRICK-STRYKER
The Knapp Center was filled with screams and cheers at Drake University’s first Bulldog Madness pep-rally Nov. 4.
“It was a party for the students,” said head women’s basketball coach Jennie Barancyzk. “We are trying to do as much as we can for the entire student body.”
Free food from several businesses was available for students, along with games and prizes, including a flat screen television and a Ford F-150.
The event, hosted by the men’s and women’s basketball teams, was an attempt to increase excitement and attendance for the upcoming season.
“We want students to come,” Barancyzk said. “Students are going to take this where we want it to go. When you have a rocking student section, it’s fun to play.”
“We wanted to thank (the students),” said Maddy Dean, guard for the women’s basketball team. “They’re a big part of our success, and we’re hoping that they come to our games this year.”
Men’s head coach Ray Giacoletti believes students can largely influence a team’s success.
“Magic things can take place in front of packed crowds,” Giacoletti said.
Drake students took notice of the two teams’ attempts at bringing in a crowd.
Sophomore Nadia Valentine didn’t attend many games last year, but has been influenced by her Bulldog Madness experience.
“The fact that there was free food and (prizes) makes you feel more wanted,” Valentine said. “I’ll (definitely) be at more games.”
Sophomore Emily Bagg thought the event was an attempt to increase student involvement.
“Giving us incentives like this makes me want (to attend more games),” Bagg said.
The excitement reached an all-time high at the end of the event, when first-year Alex Tillinghast made a half-court shot, which won him a brand new F-150. A video of the event showed the basketball players dancing and singing a parody of “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor.
“It was great that they (ended) on the guy winning the truck,” Valentine said. “The video was (also hilarious). The athletes are usually very (serious), so it was really great to see them let loose in a goofy way.”
The two coaches were satisfied with the results of the event.
“We’re all about uniting this campus,” Giacoletti said to a fired-up audience. “We’d love to create an atmosphere that we created tonight.”
Baranczyk echoed Giacoletti’s sentiment.
“Tonight got to kick-start the environment we want to create in the Knapp Center,” Baranczyk said. “We’re all in this together. Every person is our sixth person. That makes a difference.”