By Jordan Hall
The women’s Sweet Sixteen NCAA tournament games held by Rider at the Sovereign Bank Arena were run smoothly and considered a complete success, according to Athletic Director Don Harnum.
The number one ranked team in the country, the UConn Huskies, cruised through the final games of the region to represent in the Final Four and will continue their undefeated season (37-0).
The overall work at Sovereign Bank consisted of three games — two Sweet Sixteen contests on Sunday and the Elite Eight match up on Tuesday — capping off a special event done by the Broncs and the MAAC conference.
“Everything went very well and was well received by the fans, the NCAA, the teams and the media,” Harnum said. “The main premise is to create a positive experience for the student-athletes and their coaches and I think that was accomplished.”
Rider received much needed assistance from its students, who obtained many jobs and tasks through the event. One of the students who provided a helpful hand was junior Leigh Quicksall, who worked as a stat runner. During every media timeout, she would print out the box score from the main courtside table, run it back to the copy machine and then distribute the copies back to the main table for the announcers/NCAA representatives.
“I never knew that someone had this job, and now I can appreciate and give them a lot of credit back because it is a very stressful job,” Quicksall said.
Two copies were taken to the coaches and then the other 120 were given out to the long tables of media representatives. This assignment had to be finished in a very short period of time, which made the day very exhausting for the workers.
“This had to all be done within the one minute media timeout so by the time we were done, three minutes later there was another one,” Quicksall said. “I think I sat for a total of five minutes on Sunday, so it was very tiring.”
With the hard work also came the enjoyment and appreciation of being able to participate and take advantage of a great opportunity.
“It was fun to be right on the floor, though, and to be right in middle of the action,” Quicksall said. “I think it was a great experience for any student, but especially a student like myself that wants to be in the field of public relations and event planning. It was a great opportunity to see how the ‘behind-the-scenes’ aspect is run and see how an event of that size is put together and run.”
Another significant individual who put in hard work and an extensive amount of time was Associate Director of the Athletic Department Karin Torchia. She had the duties of securing and overseeing all the game operations and volunteers as well as the bands, dance teams and cheerleaders.
According to Torchia, this event wasn’t like a typical regular season basketball game.
“This event was a huge undertaking and needed 10 times the amount of staff to pull it off,” she said. “There’s a lot more that goes into an event of this magnitude and we had to follow the NCAA’s rules and regulations.”
With all the complications and labor, everyone took care of their responsibilities and played their role, producing a well run event.
“Overall I think it was a huge success and great national and local exposure for Rider,” said Harnum.