BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Hundreds of fans flocked to Bethune-Cookman’s Moore Gymnasium on Sunday for the third annual Fan Fest.
The Wildcats football program held the event, which is designed to give the fans and community a chance to meet the players and coaches.
“This gives us a chance to interact with the fans and our fans to get close to the players. It also gives our players a chance to see who supports them. It’s great. I enjoy it. I also get to meet the people in the community. They tell me the history. I also get to meet with alumni,” said Coach Brian Jenkins, B-CU’s head football coach.
During the event, players and coaches were introduced, autographed posters, held conversations and posed for photos with fans.
Cheerleaders were on hand to hype up the crowd and youngsters got a chance to put on B-CU shoulder pads, a jersey and helmet.
“It’s great for the kids to be a part of this. I think this event gives them a chance to see the players who they cheer for and interact with them. It also gives them some memories when they get older,” Jenkins remarked.
The players enjoyed the event and felt moved by the experience.
“It’s humbling to know that all these people came out to support us. This is inspiring. It’s great to see the smiles. It’s a blessing and we take pride in doing this,” commented senior wide receiver Eddie Poole.
The event itself was a family affair with many of the other athletic program teams and coaches in attendance and B-CU Interim President Edison Jackson stopping by.
Fans also traveled from a distance to be part of the experience. The crowd also featured family members of players as well as alumni.
Brian Stewart came from St. Augustine. He said, “It’s a great event. My kid goes to this school and has made the football team. It’s also great to come back here. I am familiar with the school and its history. This brings back memories. I am from Daytona. I attended Bonner Elementary.”
Thirteen-year old Robert Thomas III of Orlando agreed. “It’s wonderful to be able to do this. Some of these guys may become famous professional football players and I may already have their autograph. My cousin also goes to this school and he is a football player.”
The football team plays its first game of the season on Sept. 2 in Orlando. B-CU faces Alabama State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The game will be televised on ESPN at noon.
Volleyball: Maroon edges Gold
The women’s volleyball team was also on hand for Fan Day. They also autographed posters and posed for photos with fans.
In their final tune-up before the season, the Lady Wildcats had their Maroon and Gold Game at Moore Gymnasium on Sunday.
The Maroon team rallied to edge the Gold team 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 25-17, 17-15) in a competitive friendly affair.
Senior outside hitter and All-MEAC Pre-Season selection
Krysta Gardner barely missed a triple double (21 kills, 11 digs, nine service aces) to pace a freshman-laded Maroon squad.
“This gives us momentum for the season. We will face some top-level competition to open the season next week and we will need to be focused like we were today,” responded Gardner.
“She should have gotten the triple double,” added Raphael Isaac, the team’s head coach.
Digs, assists, kills
The experienced Gold team included freshman Destiny Hudson, who tallied 19 kills and Rhea Simon 12.
“Destiny is small at 5’ 7” but she has a lot of hustle. Today was a great experience for our freshmen,” said Isaac.
Delicia Pierre added 11 kills, Monica Lowe 39 assists with 16 digs. Jordan Murphy had 10 blocks and Jasmine Evans eight kills with nine digs for the Maroon team.
Janeen Davis added 15 kills with 13 assists and Aubrianna Curtis 43 assists and 11 digs for the Gold team.
Season tips off
The Ladies head to Greenville, N.C., for the East Carolina University Classic Tournament to open their season.
B-CU will face the University of North Carolina Charlotte, East Carolina University and Campbell University from Aug. 24-25.