Dec. 23, 2008
What Happens in Vegas...The Final 24 Hours
By Jared Verner - Athletic Media Relations Graduate Assistant
Three nights have come and gone, and now it's a two hour, 50 minute flight back to Kansas City.
Yesterday was dominated by the game with Dixie State and our first excursion out of the main tourist areas of Las Vegas. We were told the drive would be nice, and it didn't disappoint.
After we get out of Vegas, the land really opens up. There's interstate, power lines and not much else. We got to drive through the Virgin River Canyon after crossing into Arizona, which featured shear rock faces and then a deep valley that the Virgin River has carved out. We got to an elevation high enough that snow was still on the ground, and as soon as we left the canyon, we entered St. George, Utah.
It was a two vehicle caravan to Dixie State, with Associate Head Coach Lori Hopkins driving a minivan with her husband, Terry; assistant athletic director Steph Martin and her husband, Tyler; as well as a coach from Savannah High School where Terry is the head girls basketball coach.
A 15-passenger van brought back memories for Head Coach Gene Steinmeyer, who spent many road trips behind the wheels of similar vans in his days at Doane College. He drove the length of the way with co-pilot and graduate assistant Addae Houston, the 10 players and me.
I couple of scenic routes in the St. George residential areas (courtesy of some shoddy directions) got us into the arena about 40 minutes prior to the tip. Among the MIAA schools, the arena closest to Emporia State's White Auditorium (in look, but the fans need a little work before they get to the Emporia level), with chair-back seats the wrap around the entire court. An electrician was working on a panel of the scoreboard located on the east wall, which was getting its first game-day use that night.
A steady rainfall on a crooked Interstate 15 through the canyon hindered our progress, but the rain cleared halfway through as we made our way back to Las Vegas.
One of the neatest views of the trip happened when we made our way around a hill to see the lights of Vegas. There are thousands of common street lights that light up the entire valley from one side of the mountains to the other and as far as you can see into the horizon, which a small clump of building near the center that is the Strip. Since we only spent our time within about a two-mile span of Las Vegas Boulevard, it's easy to forget that people call Vegas home.
The main decision facing our team when we walked into Circus Circus was whether to pull the all-nighter. Our flight back to Kansas City left at 6:45 a.m., which dictated we leave at about 4:30 a.m. to get checked in and go through security. Meghan Brue and Micaela Uriell took that opportunity, as they were the most talkative of anyone in the lobby, as I woke up at 4 a.m. for the second time in four days for the first time ever.
Early holiday travelers made our line longer than we expected, and more so for the couple that got in line behind us. They were sending their young daughter to Sacramento, Calif., to spend the next two weeks "getting spoiled" by grandma. Their flight was scheduled to depart at 6:10 a.m., and by 5:30, the fear of missing their flight was becoming more of a reality. With 17 people in our party, Terry Hopkins found an opportunity to move the young family ahead of us, saving them about 15 minutes and getting their daughter on board with just a few minutes to spare.
But now it's back to the frozen tundra that is currently the Midwest for some time with family before restarting MIAA play next week against Fort Hays State.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468