By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~
In preparation for the Xavier vs. Villanova game Saturday afternoon, numerous Xavier students camped out as part of the 1831 Week tradition, the annual spirit week centered on Xavier basketball.
At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, hundreds of Xavier students began to set up their tents in the order they were assigned when they registered for the game. Students then attended the women’s basketball game vs. DePaul, where the first 1,000 campout participants received a free replica Xavier jersey.
“Basically everyone went to the women’s game to support the team,” junior Megan Cranston said. “We all got a replica basketball jersey, and they were pretty nice. Everyone wore them to the Nova game the next day.”
When the women’s game was over, several students stayed the night in their tents and received free pizza for their dedication.
“My friend and I had the job of staying in our tent until 2 p.m. During that time, pizza was handed out and the atmosphere from all the tents around us was great,” junior Sydney Smith said. “It got a little windy, so we mostly stayed inside our tent, but it was fun to feel the energy from the other students.”
“The campout was an amazing experience and definitely one I will remember for a lifetime,” first-year Eliza Gaber said. “There was such a connected feel to the whole experience as we were up almost all night and surrounded by people who love Xavier basketball.”
From the next morning until the start of the game, every single student was expected to be present if they registered for the campout. Food and entertainment was provided by the X-treme Fans’ board of directors.
“The next day, in the line before the game, everyone was chanting and yelling at the Nova fans who showed up early,” Smith said.
“I got there at seven in the morning since only two people had to camp out the night before, but Chris Mack was there at 8:30 a.m. and was handing out donuts,” Cranston said.
Doors for the game opened at 1 p.m., and all campout participants received a physical ticket and their location for the game upon entry.
“All of the students got to sit in the student section,” Cranston said. “They didn’t have any overflow seating up above or anything, which was very nice.”
Students stated that the atmosphere of the game was exciting and intense, even if it fell a little quiet after Villanova took a sizable lead.
“The student section was so loud and intense,” Cranston said. “But when Trevon hurt his ankle, and we started to lose the game, the student section started to get out of the game and we weren’t as enthusiastic anymore.”
“The energy at the Villanova vs. Xavier game is always intense,” junior Erin Bollinger said. “Xavier nation is always hyped up and ready to cheer the team on.”
Bluiett’s ankle injury proved to be the turning point of the game’s atmosphere as people were reminded of Edmond Sumner’s recent injury against St. John’s and the immediate impacts on the team.
“The game itself was fun and had a great atmosphere right up until Trevon got hurt,” Smith said. “You could kind of feel people getting discouraged but we were all still hopeful.”
Despite Xavier’s loss, students still enjoyed the campout experience and would do it again next year if given the chance.
“The campout was an amazing experience,” Gaber said. “I got to spend time bonding over school spirit with my best friends, and I got free pizza at night, donuts in the morning and a jersey at the women’s game. I would definitely do it again.”
“When it was over, there was definitely a feeling of sadness, but I had a good time and really enjoyed the tradition. I would do it again if it was an option,” Smith said.
Some students have suggested doing the campout again next year but for the Crosstown Shootout against UC instead of the Villanova game.
“I think it’ll be better if the campout happens next year against UC instead of Villanova,” Cranston said. “If we do it for UC, it will all be about the rivalry, tradition and history between the two teams, which I think is a much better reason to camp out.”
Overall, the campout allowed students to express their school spirit in a communal manner with fanfare and excitement around the Xavier basketball team, according to Xavier’s X-treme fans.
“Our fans are awesome, our students have been great all year. When you run through the tunnel as a player, or you come down the stairs in introduction, how can you not be ready to play? Xavier basketball has had those types of crowds for as long as I can remember,” head coach Chris Mack said.
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