Before the Seton Hall Pirates took on in-state rivals Rutgers University on Saturday, the fans at Newark's Prudential Center in Newark were treated to a cool spectacle. Members of Seton Hall’s Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) rappelled down from the ceiling of the arena to start the festivities for the game.
“It was an idea by the commanding officer of our ROTC,” said Cadet Sgt. 1st class Pete Smith. “He had done it once in college, so he thought it would be cool if we could do it.”
Prior to the national anthem, Cadet Capt. Dan Knox and Cadet Capt. Will Moreo came down from the ceiling with the American flag. They stopped midway down and saluted the flag as the anthem was sung.
Following the anthem, Smith came down to deliver the game ball to the referees, followed by Cadet Sgt. Dana Spinks with a Seton Hall flag.
The group practiced the drop 12-15 times throughout the week, before doing it in front of the crowd. However, since all of them had rappelling experience, any fears they had melted away before game time.
“The first couple of times, I’d say all of us were nervous, at least the first time,” said Spinks. “But I think all of us became more comfortable as we practiced more.”
Since this was the final home game of the year, it was deemed ‘senior night,’ typically a big game for NCAA schools. Adding in the fact that they were facing their chief rivals and that caused the rafters to be packed. Seton Hall ended up setting a Prudential Center record sellout crowd of 10,945, who all roared with support as the Cadets came down.
“The atmosphere is unbelievable and its fun to be doing something like this for the fans,” said Moreo. “It’s a good experience.”