Bronc Zoo fills up for basketball – The Rider News

By Tristan Leach

As the cold October air settled in overnight, a line extending beyond Daly’s dining room could be seen forming. The doors of the Alumni Gym opened and eager students rushed inside as another MAACness began.

On October 7, the beloved tradition returned to campus, marking the season opener for Rider basketball. The theme for this year’s MAACness was Disco Fever and several events took place throughout the night.

As students and guests entered the gymnasium, they were greeted by the Rider dance and cheerleading teams. AJ the Bronc was also on the court sporting a white suit reminiscent of John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”. As the cheering attendees streamed in, some of the dancers and cheerleaders came out to hug their friends and family members. The joy of the event was contagious.

Dajia Wilson, a sophomore criminal justice student and returning cheer squad member was among the cheering guests on the floor.

“As a cheerleader, I love the energy that MAACness brings. With all of us on the floor, the cheer squad, the dance squad, the basketball teams, we’re all having fun. C It’s mostly energy,” Wilson said.

To kick off the evening, AJ and a few members of the dance team performed a dance to disco music. After the introduction of the mascot, it was time to count down to the 2022-23 basketball season. Some attendees could be heard shouting “Happy MAACness,” after time ran out.

Just like the previous year, a reel of highlights from the previous season played. The students cheered for their favorite player as his face appeared on the screen. It was the perfect setup for the introduction of the men’s and women’s team.

Each team member emerged from behind a curtain perched on the stage at the far end of the field. The members were introduced with their name, where they are from, position and height as friends and family members cheered on their loved ones. Each player threw a Rider t-shirt into the audience and people jumped out of their seats hoping to grab one. After all team members were introduced, the head coaches and assistant coaches arrived on the field.

Throughout the night there were fun competitions. Games included musical basketball chairs and a quick-change game, where two participants donned an oversized basketball uniform and then tried to make the basket first. The prizes for these contests were Visa gift cards.

Between games, several other events took place. It was announced that for the first time a number for the women’s team was retired. This event is scheduled for November 7 and will honor Stella Johnson, who graduated in 2020 and was drafted into the WNBA. Lynn Mulligan, head coach of the women’s team, thanked everyone in attendance for allowing the school to honor former team members.

Then it was time for Rider Cheerleading to perform. The team pulled out all the stops with new tricks that had the audience screaming and gasping.

Rachel Seigerman, junior arts and entertainment industries management student and returning member of the cheer squad, said, “I’m always excited about MAACness because it’s a chance for the cheer squad to come out. and show off. A lot of people don’t know that Rider has a cheerleading team. We can do a really fun and cool routine to wow Rider.

After the cheerleading squad performed, it was time to meet this year’s nominees for Cranberry Court. Winners will be announced at Cranberry and White Affair.

Before the night was over, AJ le Bronc donned his basketball uniform for the evening’s final competition, a skills contest between the men’s and women’s team. Four members of each team competed against each other, and then the winner of those two would face off. This year it was junior forward Raphaela Toussaint on the women’s team and senior fullback Dwight Murray Jr. on the men’s team. In the end, Toussaint won, earning another victory for the women’s team.

To end the evening, the Rider Dance Team took the floor. The team performed a mix of disco and modern music. The routine featured lots of tricks and a costume change that had the audience screaming. At the end of their performance, the team bowed out and the night was officially over.

McKenzie Jones, a criminal justice major, is the president of Rider Dance Team. Jones has been on the team since freshman year and has competed in three MAACness events.

“I think what sets MAACness apart from other schools is that we’re so unique in what we do,” Jones said. “I feel like everyone is contributing to the great energy and positivity of getting ready for the MAAC season.”

Lianne Litchfield, a sophomore in film and television, said: “I thought it was really loud and really fun.”

Students and guests shared Litchfield’s sentiment as they left the gymnasium chatting enthusiastically.

Let another great season begin.

See the full photo gallery here.

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