Gonzaga students brave sloppy weather at 'Tent City;' excited for 'insane' atmosphere Saturday as top-ranked Zags take on Texas

<p><p>Rain and cold temperatures didn’t deter hundreds of Gonzaga University students from camping outside Friday night in the heart of campus in preparation for the men’s basketball team’s top-five matchup against Texas on Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.</p></p><p><p>It was the Gonzaga Kennel Club’s first of four Tent City events of the season, in which students pitch a tent and spend the night outdoors prior to a Bulldogs basketball game in order to be first in line to the arena the next day.</p></p><p><p>Annie Cooper and Olivia Fichtner, both Gonzaga freshmen, said the sloppy weather wasn’t enough to cancel their plans to attend their first Tent City.</p></p><p><p>“We just brought extra blankets,” Cooper said.</p></p><p><p>Macy Ryan, Kennel Club president and a Gonzaga senior, said the cold, wet weather is typical for Tent City events.</p></p><p><p>“We normally don’t get very lucky with weather just ’cause the time of year that we do them,” she said.</p></p><p><p>Ryan said she loves everything about the tent atmosphere.</p></p><p><p>“It’s so fun,” she said. “The fact that kids are willing to come out in the rain to support this team, it’s kind of a big deal.”</p></p><p><p>Fichtner said they wanted to be as close to the court as they could be to cheer on the Zags Saturday night.</p></p><p><p>Fichtner, Cooper and their four tentmates will be the 35th tent group in line for the game. Students can house a maximum of six people per tent.</p></p><p><p>“I think it’s going to be crazy,” Fichtner said of the expected atmosphere inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.</p></p><p><p>The No. 1 Bulldogs will take on the fifth-ranked Texas Longhorns – the first top-five matchup in history at the arena.</p></p><p><p>Fichtner and Cooper said they dedicated the last week to the game by first buying tickets to the contest last Saturday, running to a location on campus Wednesday to secure a tent spot number, setting up a tent Friday and then hanging around the tent area all day.</p></p><p><p>“Everyone’s been prepping for it all week,” Cooper said.</p></p><p><p>A group of six senior engineering students also braved the harsh weather to camp out.</p></p><p><p>The six met in a Gonzaga dormitory their freshmen year, but most had never taken in the Tent City experience.</p></p><p><p>They wanted to give it a shot before they graduated.</p></p><p><p>Garret Duch said he participated his freshman year when there was snow on the ground and it was so cold the Kennel Club almost canceled the event.</p></p><p><p>“It was pretty chilly that year so, compared to that, this is like smooth sailing,” Duch said.</p></p><p><p>It was the first time for Duch’s friend, Kyle Nolan.</p></p><p><p>“I think after not having any basketball games in person for two-ish years, the energy tomorrow is going to be insane,” Nolan said of the game. “I’m very, very excited.”</p></p>