March 1, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University Ruff Riders woke up early Friday morning and boarded a chartered bus headed for the West Coast Conference Basketball Championships in San Diego. The 2nd annual trip is by far the biggest and most popular among the club members.
"I didn't get to go on last year's trip because I had a couple of midterms," said Ruff Rider Co-President, Brendan Donckers. "I wasn't going to miss out this year because for one, I'm a senior, and two, I want to see the Broncos crush Gonzaga in person. I ended up missing skipping a midterm this year, but am not worried. I'm graduating in June and my grad school applications are in. Priorities are a little bit different this year."
Other club members, including honorary Ruff Rider Al Salazar (bus driver) shared their comments while boarding:
"I'm excited to see both teams battle for a trip to the NCAAs, especially the women's team since I've been working with them all year. It would be a great thing for the squad." SCU Senior, Mike Beasley.
"I'm honored that the Ruff Riders asked that I be their driver again this year," said Al Salazar of West Valley Charter. "My favorite memory from last year was when one of the Ruff Riders attempted to take a mannequin from a car dealership. They wanted the mannequin to be their special fan. They sure know how to have fun."
"I heard so many stories from last year's trip that I couldn't miss out on the opportunity. I'll be helping with the radio play-by-play on the school's radio station and this trip couldn't be a better way to get me pumped up for the broadcasts." Santa Clara Sports Writer, Bruce Martinez
"I wasn't a Ruff Rider last year and regretted not joining. I've been to a lot of the pre-game parties at Stuft Pizza this season and this trip will top it all off." Senior, Margaret Wolf
Fifty-five Ruff Riders, a bus sell-out, purchased their WCC Road Trip tickets which included transportation, hotel accommodations and game tickets, while another twenty-five purchased a mini-package (not including the bus ride). "Overall, I imagine there will easily be over one-hundred Ruff Riders in attendance if not more," commented Ruff Rider Co-President Brendan Donckers. "This is our shot to go to the Big Dance and the Ruff Riders will be backing the Broncos the entire way."
This 2002 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships, held at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the campus of the University of San Diego, runs from Thursday, February 28th through Monday, March 4th.
The Bronco's women's basketball team advanced to the tournament semifinals with a 30-point victory over host San Diego, while the Bronco men face longtime rival Saint Mary's in the first round on Saturday.
"We are heading down to the border to create a little disorder," said Ruff Rider Co-President Blaze Smallwood. "I don't plan on leaving San Diego until late, late Monday night after the Broncos win it all and then have the best ride home imaginable."