Madness Packs Spaulding Gym
KEENE, N.H. 10/20/08 - They came by the dozens for the 12th annual Midnight Madness celebration last Friday night at Spaulding Gym.
A capacity crowd of Madness neophytes and veteran night owls packed the gym for a night of hoopla and hoops.
"Hats off to the planning committee," said KSC women's basketball coach Keith Boucher. "The entire event was well choreographed and fun."
"It's a special night," said KSC men's basketball coach Rob Colbert. "You just kick back, let your hair down, and watch the students have fun."
From the opening national anthem (where the students sang along with the Chock Full O Notes group), through the contests and exuberance, to the confetti-blasting finale, Madness 2008 ushered in the basketball season in grand style.
"I've gone to Midnight Madness the past four years, and this one was the best," said senior forward Nate Anderson. "The students were really into it."
There was something for everybody: A sumo-race, a motorized-toilet race though an obstacle course, a near miss on a $10,000 half-court shot, stellar displays of basketball skill, and performances by the KSC cheerleading squad and dance team.
The large cheerleading squad - consisting of 22 members, including 14 freshmen - kicked off the festivities and brought the house down with their fabulous routine. "Everyone was a little nervous at the beginning," said Shyla Francoeur, the squad's junior captain from Nashua. "But everything turned out well, and the reaction from the crowd was unbelievable."
At the stroke of midnight, the Owl basketball teams entered the gym. One by one, the players ran onto the pitch-black court in a Hollywood-style spotlight reception. "The introduction got everyone motivated for the season," said Sara Laudano, a freshman member of the women's basketball team. "Running out with the special effects and music was pretty awesome."
"It was crazy to see how many people were there," said junior guard Dennis Orellana. "The event represents Keene State spirit in a nut shell."
The players treated the fans to hot-shot and dunk competitions. Cody Snow, a flying freshman from Leyden, Mass., won the contest. Not to be out done, several members of the women's team hoisted Michele Boudreau up on their shoulders, so the senior guard could attempt a slam. "Michele got some serious air," said sophomore forward Melissa Small.
The dance team brought the Madness to a close with a nifty number that concluded with a cannon blasting red and white confetti all over the court. "It's our biggest event of the year," said Amanda Currao, a senior from Salem and one of 24 dance team performers. "We like being on last and finishing Madness with a bang."
"We had a recruit on campus," said Colbert. "At the end of the night, he turned to me and said, "I thought this was going to be a good event, but it turned out to be bigger than I ever imagined!"