Valparaiso University hosted their homecoming on a picturesque fall day. On Saturday the school hosted current students, fans, families, and past alumni for a series of events and to watch the Crusaders take on the Missouri Baptist University Spartans.
Even though the homecoming game took place on Saturday, the weekend has been going at full throttle since Friday. VU dedicated the weekend to past alumni by inviting them to come back to the campus and to participate in various gatherings over the three days. As a result, Brown Field was full of alumni wandering around marveling at what has changed since they were merely college students so many years ago. Norman Amunesen, a former student, athletic director and football coach for VU, said that coming back after 40 years was a different experience. "I was a coach for around ten years starting during the 1968 season. It’s amazing to come back here and see everything that’s changed on the campus, even if I’ve lived in town all of these years. You can tell that the university has really grown up and has become a real top notch school."
Everyone who came to the homecoming festivities were greeted by a International Food Bazaar, which offered food from international students that attend the school. Every club and association also had a tent filled wit information for people to marvel at. Just before attendants walked through the gates onto Brown Field, there was also a band and tables to sit and relax at.
Despite the main focus on visiting alumni, there were still traditional homecoming events to get to. Just before the first kick off, the homecoming court took their place in front of the stands for two to be named homecoming King and Queen. Amanda Moulchin and Michael Mitek, who are both seniors at VU, took the crowns for this year's court. Unsurprisingly, both were ecstatic by the win. "It’s awesome to win!" exclaimed Moulchin, “I love Valpo, I love students and apparently they love me too!” Of course, when asked the same question, Mitek had similar words of praise. "It’s a great honor. It’s an amazing campus, amazing students and it’s a really great blessing to represent the university. "
Soon after the kickoff between the Crusaders and the Trojans, the players started the game off with the right foot as the Crusaders made their first touchdown with just minutes off the clock. Even though the university football team hasn’t had the greatest record within the past few years, first coach David Cecchini is out to change that. “I think the thing most people have to understand is that this team isn’t here because they’re getting paid, or that they have scholarships to play the game. That doesn’t exist on this team so they’re here for the love of the game." Cecchini explained. “With that being said, they’re also very young players and we’ve got a lot to learn in order to get better, and we’re trying. It’s really essential to have the backing and the support of the the students and all of the alumni that have visited this weekend.”
With home stands full and the addition loud cheering from the fans, the support worked it’s magic. The Crusaders took a strong lead against the Trojans and eventually won with an incredible score of 55-7.
Not to be overshadowed by the rest of the day, the half time events were dedicated to the ribbon cutting of the new track around Brown Field. The track, which was named in honor of former track & field coach Warren G. Holger, is a six track state of the art addition that allows the track & field team to practice at their own university. President of the University, Mark Heckler made the opening statements, and then Holger himself talked, along with current track & field coach Ryan Moore, a current student, a former student, and Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera.
In the end, it was a great day to spend homecoming. It was a warm and welcoming celebration with the past and present - current students and VU’s grateful alumni. A new track, a Crusader victory, great food and warm atmosphere made Valparaiso University’s homecoming a perfect event.