Colorado Mesa embraces past, brings back Mav Walk for 2011

The Mavericks stopped traffic Thursday evening.

Colorado Mesa University’s football team brought back the “Mav Walk” from the Maverick Center, through campus and across North Avenue into Stocker Stadium.

Teams in Mesa’s glory years in the 1980s walked to the stadium from campus, and former coach Jay Hood, who worked for Bob Cortese during the ‘80s, had his teams walk to the stadium. It hadn’t happened since, though, but with the school’s new name and university status came a desire to embrace the past and create some excitement on campus.

The Grand Junction Police Department helped the Mavericks cross North Avenue, briefly stopping traffic, as students and fans snapped photos and shot videos on their phones and drivers honked in support.

With the university’s pep band escorting them through campus, the team drew plenty of attention, and the Mavericks will continue the tradition all season.

“That was special,” football coach Joe Ramunno said after the Mavericks lost 29-3 to Humboldt State University. “It’s disappointing in the way we played because it was a really cool thing. It was very neat with the students and cheerleaders and everybody.”

Not only did the Mav Walk get the students excited about the game, it helped clear some parking spaces for fans who had their first experience in the construction zone that is the sports complex.

All in all, the night went smoothly, Athletic Director Butch Miller said.

“It’s been really good. I think the city did a great job having it set up,” he said. “The end zone seating helped. We have a great student section, the biggest we’ve had at a football game, so that’s fun.

“Everything has run pretty smooth. I’ve walked around and talked to people; we just need to do a good job making sure people know where they’re going, but so far it’s been great.”

He glanced across to the east of the stadium, where one completed stairwell towers over everyone.

“Look at that thing, how impressive is that?” he said. “I think it’s gone pretty good. We need to get some points (on the scoreboard), though.”

Plenty of students followed the Mavs from campus, filling one section of the west stands and all of the north end zone bleachers. More stood on the track in the north and south end zones.

A crowd of 2,876 was on hand, but as the Mavs fell further and further behind, many left.

Those who sat in the south stands were introduced to the new sound system.

Only one speaker is needed to fill Stocker with sound — but it’s one big speaker. It will be installed at the top of the new scoreboard in the south end of the stadium, but Thursday, it sat between two sections of bleachers.

Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Director Rob Schoeber had a decibel reader on his smart phone, and at one point, it was nearly 100 decibels in the end zone.

The sound dissipated the farther away you stood, but it was clear and easy to understand the public address announcer throughout the stadium.

But on the ground, it was loud.

“I walked by it and the music started and I jumped,” Miller said, laughing.


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