Havocs bringing their creative spirit to Indianapolis

By Mike Kilen
GCU News Bureau

A lot of Grand Canyon University students started to dream right after the men’s basketball team clinched a spot in The Big Dance.

What if I could go to the game?

Joshua Gillespie sent out a mass text to students to speak for rare tickets allotted to GCU in the limited in-person attendance at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, where the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament features GCU against Iowa on Saturday (3:25 p.m. Phoenix time).

Havoc leaders Joshua Gillespie, president, and Grace Haskins, social media coordinator, jumped into a year of cheers despite pandemic restrictions.

“First time ever I’ve had 100% of people respond yes,” said the President of the Havocs, the name given to students known to be loud and crazy at games.

There will be 240 students flying to Indiana early Saturday morning. Kennedi Greenfield and Faith Clear decided to pull out all the stops to try to secure one of those coveted spots.

“We are both seniors and this is our chance to go. We’ve got to give it all we’ve got,” Greenfield said.

So they went to work last weekend, right after GCU clinched its NCAA spot by beating New Mexico State in the WAC Tournament final. They filmed a video plea that describes their dedication as student workers in Athletics and their Havoc bona fides.

Greenfield even did a dance, the signature Havoc herky-jerky, hands-in-the-air maneuver, before looking earnestly into the camera and saying that nothing would beat going to Indiana. GCU Today Senior Writer Paul Coro even provided an on-camera endorsement of their inclusion and encouraged them to send the video to Helen Bleach, Vice President of University Events.

Greenfield said she has been playing basketball since she was 3 and has watched March Madness every year. “I was even born in March, so I feel a special connection to this tournament.”

Yet she felt as if the odds were stacked against them at first before considering the Lopes' first-ever run to the tourney was also against the odds.

“It was a Hail Mary situation,” Greenfield said. “We sent it at 1:13 a.m.”

The desperation shot at the buzzer was all net. They soon learned they both were going to the game.

She thinks the Havocs will give the Lopes that extra push when game momentum swings occur: “We are the biggest party in college basketball,” she said. “It is going to be a shock.”

The Havocs are on point during basketball games.

The Havocs have cemented a national reputation for the student section volume, enthusiasm and dancing. Visiting coaches envy it and even noted it in a season of COVID restrictions, when only a few hundred were scattered among cutouts in GCU Arena but still brought a boisterous atmosphere that has been rare during the pandemic.

Now they are bringing the dance to the Big Dance.

“We are definitely bringing as much stuff as we can,” Gillespie said of getting noticed in the arena. “We brought a ton of paint. We are ready to make Iowa feel our presence there.”

Dance, Cheer and the Thundering Heard Pep Band can’t perform for the game, but some members will also be part of the Havocs contingent.

No doubt senior Jacob Brummel will be heard. He’s been to most games for four years “and the commitment paid off” after he got picked to go.

What are the chances, he wondered, that his last year at GCU is the first year GCU goes to the tourney and with a new coach?

“It is the chance of a lifetime, especially with the way things were this year,” Brummel said.

“Iowa has never seen something like they are about to see Saturday night. I know the Havocs will bring that same energy.”

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.

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Related content:

GCU Today: Havocs leaders ready to jump-start basketball season

GCU Today: Slideshow: Havocs Hangout

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