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Students trek to Tempe over break

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students traveled from all over the United States to Tempe, Ariz., in large numbers over the break to see the Irish take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl. Despite the loss, students enjoyed the game and the experiences that came with it.

Senior Chris Christensen of Knott Hall made the trip to the Sun Devil Stadium from Virginia with friends and family.

“I had a good time,” Christensen said. “I really enjoyed seeing all my friends there, and being in the student section made it almost like a home game.”

However, Christensen was not a big fan of Sun Devil Stadium. It was disconcerting to him because, he said, due to the stands’ red color, it looked like there were more Ohio State fans than Notre Dame fans.

Kevin Clock, also a senior from Knott Hall, made his way to Tempe and said the weather was ideal for a football game.

“Aside from the loss, I had a great time,” Clock said. “It was good to see [all my friends] for a game one last time,”

Clock was able to go because a friend secured him a game ticket and because he received a plane ticket as a special gift from his grandfather. He knew some people that were not as well prepared, however.

“One girl I know didn’t initially have a game ticket, but she made all the flight arrangements before she even was able to get one,” he said.

Clock also mentioned that he knew a few people who were upset they didn’t win the lottery.

“Seniors were mad that underclassmen got tickets while they were unable to go to what would be their last game as a student,” he said.

Saint Mary’s senior Tai Baird waited in line for several hours in the College’s Student Center to buy one of the 100 tickets allotted to Saint Mary’s students and then flew from Georgia to watch the Irish face off against the Buckeyes.

“It was really neat meeting so many different people from all across the United States that traveled just to see the game,” Baird said.

Will Kurtz was another senior who attended the game.

“It was a lot of fun,” Kurtz said. “I really thought we were coming back in the last 5 minutes, but our defense just couldn’t stop them.”

Kurtz also had positive experiences with Ohio State fans and said they were really amiable.

“I didn’t see any fights or arguments,” Kurtz said. “I expected a little bit more animosity, but there really wasn’t any at all.”

A native of Scottsdale, it was the fourth Notre Dame bowl game loss in Arizona Kurtz attended.

“I’m still waiting for a victory,” Kurtz said. “And hopefully, the fifth time is the charm.”

Ed Kummerer, a sophomore who is also an Arizona native, went to the game with his family. “It was painful at times, but it was fun to go and support the team,” Kummerer said.

Saint Mary’s student Becky Feauto flew from Iowa to Vegas and then drove to Tempe to tailgate with friends and watch Notre Dame take the field. Overall, she enjoyed seeing a lot of Saint Mary’s classmates while there and cheering on the Irish.

“I enjoyed the game despite being disappointed by the loss,” Feauto said.