April 9, 2006
By Jeremy Herb The Santa Clara
SPOKANE, Wash. -- While most Santa Clara students were stressing over midterms and projects towards the end of winter quarter, 38 found the perfect diversion.
In Spokane, no less.
From Mar. 2-6, the Ruff Riders organized a trip for 20 members and 18 cheerleaders to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., for the WCC basketball tournament.
The tournament trip also placed an exclamation point on the tenure of Ruff Riders Co-Presidents Mike Zozos and Ross Nelson, who have helped the club grow to over 3,100 members this year, double the size of when they took over.
"The turnout was great, the people that we had were amazing and we just had a ball," Zozos said. "It's just something Ruff Riders should do -- travel, follow their teams and have it be more of a social aspect, as well."
The idea for the trip arose from a questionnaire that was passed out before the Broncos game against Gonzaga in early January, where approximately 100 people expressed interest in going to Spokane.
Based on this, the Ruff Riders estimated they could probably get close to 50 to Spokane, but, even though they didn't take that many, no one on the trip was complaining.
"This experience is something I'll probably remember for the rest of my life, so I think it's well worth it," senior Greg Kosich said.
The trip cost $265 per person and included airfare, lodging at a hotel near the arena, and tickets to all of Santa Clara's games.
With little extra supervision, Zozos and Nelson had the task of making sure everyone was relatively well behaved while in Spokane as the Ruff Riders were representing the university. Zozos said the trip went "smoothly," and reported no serious problems.
"They gave us the complete package," said A.J. Perry, a member of the Ruff Riders Executive Council. "It was well organized and we had the freedom to do what we wanted."
The main reason for the trip, of course, was to watch basketball and cheer on the Broncos. Once on Gonzaga's home court, the McCarthey Center, Santa Clara's student section was the largest at the tournament besides Gonzaga's Kennel Club, and it was arguably the loudest.
"It got loud at games with our hardcore posse of Ruff Riders," said senior Colin Wood. "We had the elite of loudness going on."
The Broncos on the court took notice, too.
"I thought the Ruff Riders were outstanding," men's head coach Dick Davey said. "I had one or two guys comment after the Portland game, saying how involved they were."