UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | July 20, 2024

OPINION | Sports editor’s predictions for fall sports

Fans gather in the Greater Zion Stadium. The stands are flooded with red. It’s time for fall sports to take center stage.

After a few short months away for summer break, students head back to campus for fall, and that means it’s time for some of my favorite sports.

This upcoming season holds new possibilities for the Trailblazers. The question is: will they harness their potential or fall short of expectations?

Based on roster changes, previous stats and some speculation, here’s how I predict the fall season will go.

Football

The football team ended their 2023 season with a disappointing 2-9 record overall and 1-5 in conference play. However, the team has made some big changes since the end of the season.

The program named Lance Anderson as their new head coach in December following the unsatisfactory records under the leadership of former head coach Paul Peterson.

Along with the new head coach, the program has eight new additions to the coaching staff and only retained two of the coaches from the 2023 staff.

The team has also signed over 20 new players to their recruiting class. Does new talent equal mean records?

One can only hope that with an almost complete overturn in staff and the addition of new players, the record will show some improvement for the Trailblazers in the upcoming season.

However, the team will need a building period. Time to rebuild and change the culture under a new coaching staff, and time to build team chemistry. Because of this, I predict the record of the 2024 season will be similar to that of 2023. The team will improve under the new leadership, but this won’t happen overnight or in one season.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team had a successful season with an 8-6-5 record during the regular season, ending the 2023 season ranked fifth in the Western Athletic Conference.

At one point in the season, they had a 10-game unbeaten streak. The team just wasn’t able to carry that success into the WAC tournament, losing to Grand Canyon University in their first game of the tournament.

Since the end of the 2023 season, the team has signed 10 new players.

The team has also been playing spring games in preparation for the upcoming season.

I predict that under the leadership of head coach Lexi Brown, the team will thrive this season. The 2024 season will be the second season under Brown’s leadership. Combined with the talent the new additions will bring, this team is more than capable of big things this upcoming season.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team ended their 2023 season with a 9-9 overall record. The team ranked third in the WAC conference.

The team went on to win against San Jose State University in the WAC quarterfinal but lost to California Baptist University in the semifinal.

The preseason coaches poll in 2023 had ranked Utah Tech University to finish last in the WAC conference.

If last season has anything to say about the team, it’s that they should not be underestimated. The bar is now set high for the team.

The 2024-2025 season will be Utah Tech’s first season being eligible for NCAA Division I postseason play upon completion of its four-year reclassification process. Let’s see some Division I level playing this season. Students at Utah Tech are Trailblazers, meaning they set themselves apart from others in great ways. Utah Tech sports teams are made up of those Trailblazers.

Setting the pace: Parish breaks records on track, excels in academics

Ashlyn Parish engraved her name into the Utah Tech University record books by setting a new school record.

Parish, a sophomore recreation and sports management major from Fort Worth, Texas, set a school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.89 seconds. That time is not only a school record but a personal record for her by .03 seconds.

Parish broke the record back-to-back weekends, first March 23 in the Utah Tech Invitational, then March 29 at the Vince O’Boyle Track and Field Classic hosted by The University of California Irvine.

Parish said being able to go out in back-to-back weeks and chip away at her personal records is only getting her closer to the times she wants to be at and where she wants to be at in the conference.

Parish said she ended up at Utah Tech because, during her first visit to the university, she loved the coaches, her future teammates and the environment. She also loved the location.

“I really enjoyed St. George,” Parish said. “It is a nice change from Fort Worth.”

Parish is a year-round track athlete who competes as a hurdler in both the indoor and outdoor track seasons, but she also runs other events on occasion.

Track and field head coach Derrick Atkins said: “Having an athlete like Ashlyn Parish on the team is truly remarkable. She brings an unparalleled level of dedication, skill and leadership to the group.”

Not only is she a year-round athlete, but she also has to keep up with the academic rigor that is required to be a dual major.

Parish said her schedule in a week goes as follows. She has two classes every day of the week. Her schedule is built where she only has early morning classes so she can be done with her classes every day before her practice block at noon. Outside of practice, she gets lifts in as well. Then, in the afternoon, if she has free time, she will usually go to the trainers for various forms of recovery, or she will go to study hall.

“Balancing academic pursuits with the rigorous training schedule of a competitive athlete requires exceptional time management skills, dedication, and perseverance, all of which Ashlyn demonstrates admirably,” Atkins said.

On top of academics and athletics, Parish always tries to be the best teammate she can.

Atkins said Parish is the epitome of a supportive teammate who is always pushing and motivating herself and her teammates to improve.

“Ashlyn is a very big motivator,” said Jesse Fowler, a freshman exercise science major from Bushland, Texas, who runs with Parish in races. “I will be running a relay, and all I will be hearing is her screaming ‘Go Jesse.’ She is always encouraging me no matter what, no matter if she just ran a 400 and she is out of breath, she is still screaming for you.”

Parish is pushing to be the best that she can in all aspects of her life.

“I just set a lot of goals for myself,” Parish said. “All of my little goals are building up to my big ones. One of my biggest fears is not being successful. It is a small driving force that makes me try to hit my goals.”

As Parish balances the demands of academics, athletics and personal life while striving for excellence, she’s breaking records along the way.

OPINION | March Madness’ unpredictability is all part of the fun

March is one of the best times of the year in the sports world solely because of March Madness. 

March Madness is not only a sporting event; it is also a cultural phenomenon that captures the attention of millions across the entire United States every year. It is fun to fill out a bracket every year for it to be busted by an underdog team that you have never even heard of.

The first March Madness tournament occurred in 1939 and only had 8 teams that participated. Fast forward to today, 68 teams participate in the tournament. March Madness now includes four play-in games before the official tournament starts for the final eight teams fighting for the last four sports of the tournament.

Out of all the madness every year, one team is crowned at the end of the tournament as that season’s national champion.

I predict that the Final Four this year will be Creighton University, the University of North Carolina, the University of Connecticut and Duke University. Watching them play so far in the tournament, they look like the best teams in each of their respective regions.

Last year the champion was the University of Connecticut. I predict that UConn will win it all again this year. If they can, they will become the first team to win back-to-back March Madness tournaments since Florida who pulled the feat off in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

Millions of Americans fill out brackets every year to try and make a perfect March Madness bracket. 

The odds of making a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Each March, underdogs prevail, game-winning buzzer-beaters happen and brackets are inevitably busted. So while making a perfect bracket will probably never happen, that does not take away from the undeniable appeal of March Madness.

Bracket challenges between friends, family and coworkers only add to the fun of March Madness. Whether you participate in a league for money or just bragging rights, being able to predict what happens is fun and exciting when you call an upset based on a gut feeling. 

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet has offered $1 billion to any employee of Berkshire Hathaway who can create a perfect bracket, and at various times, he has offered $1 million yearly for any employee who can correctly guess all sweet-16 teams in a year. He has also opened this competition to the public for various years.

Competitions like this only add to the phenomenon that March Madness is. No one has ever won the billion-dollar bracket challenge, and it will probably never happen. It does not matter though. It is still fun to fill out a bracket with the hope it does. 

This year to have a perfect bracket through the first round of the tournament, I would have had to predict two 13 seeds beating two four seeds, two 12 seeds beating two five seeds and many other upsets. I would have had to predict all of that happening just to be right about the first round of the bracket, let alone get the entire thing correct.

The closest anyone has ever come making the perfect bracket was Gregg Nigl. He correctly predicted the first 49 games of the tournament in 2019 before his bracket was busted.

Experts and everyday people alike love to use analytics, statistical trends and historical trends to try and make the perfect bracket before undoubtedly falling short. 

The thing about March Madness is that it defies logic. For a long time, many thought that it was impossible for a 16-seed team to win a game against a 1-seeded team because the teams that are 1-seeds are powerhouses. Teams that were 1-seeds had won 134 straight games against 16-seed teams before UMBC beat Virginia to be the first 16-seed to pull off an upset. 

This year a graduate transfer student Jack Gohlke took over the internet after he lit up the 3-point line going 10-20 with 32 points against 3-seed Kentucky to help 14-seed Oakland pull off the improbable upset. 

Unpredictable moments like those are what make March Madness so amazing and impossible not to love even if they bust my bracket. 

Pasefika Student Union represents at dance showcase

The Utah Tech University Pasefika Student Union will be participating in the annual Utah Pasefika Intercollegiate Showcase, a celebration of tradition, culture and shared identity.

The showcase unites Pasefika students from across Utah to gather and display Pacific Islander culture through dance and song. It is hosted by Utah Valley University and will include performances by Utah Tech, Weber State University, University of Utah, Salt Lake Community College and Southern Utah University. The performance will take place March 23 in the Rebecca Lockhart Arena and is free and open to the public.

This year, Utah Tech will be representing the island of Tonga. Each participating university was assigned a Pacific Island to represent in the showcase through cultural song and dance.

“Getting to experience the Polynesian community and being able to learn their culture through song and dance has been so fun and interesting,” said Hakela Ogden, a senior history major from Oahu, Hawaii.

PSU has been preparing for the showcase since last semester and will be performing both women’s and men’s dances. There will be three group performances and one solo performance.

President of PSU Nasinu Finau, a freshman dental hygiene major from Lehi, will also be performing a solo dance.

“Each song has a story that goes along with it,” Finau said. “For example, the first song represents how the ocean can be calm and rough, which relates to our lives. We have to be calm during the rough stages.”

The women will be performing the tau’olunga, a traditional Tongan dance for young women that uses hand movements, which interpret the meaning of the song. They will be dressed in ta’ovala mat skirts, kiekies, ribbons, jewelry and feathers. 

The men will be performing a dance about fishing, which depicts how to cast out a fishing net and reel it in quickly. Fishing is an integral aspect of Tongan culture, cuisine and life on the island, and the men’s dance captures its livelihood.

Tonga, like many Pacific Island cultures, uses dance and song to portray meaningful stories, messages and lessons. Utah Tech’s second dance is aimed to portray the islands of Tonga and how men are taught to respect women from a young age. The showcase is meant to teach both participating students and audience members these lessons through each dance.

“As we have been learning the choreography and dance, we have had the opportunity to learn about Tongan culture, which is a great opportunity since it isn’t really taught around here,” Finau said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 1% of the population of St. George identifies as a Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander alone as of July 2023.

Aside from showcasing Tongan culture, the showcase has allowed Pasefika students the opportunity to collaborate together and foster a sense of community.

“The best experience that I’ve had at Utah Tech has been getting to know other Pasefika students in Utah,” said Tiafu Gora, a freshman general studies major from Oahu, Hawaii. “It was eye-opening to see men at this school who didn’t think they could do this join and show that they can.”

While the majority of the students performing in the showcase are of Polynesian heritage, non-Polynesian students have also been participating in the student union and its events.

“Anyone is welcome in the club,” Finau said. “It’s for everyone, and we’re all learning about Polynesian culture together. Learning about other cultures is what makes us more understanding to others and lets us grow.”

OPINION | New MLB bill strikes out

It’s a swing and a miss for the Utah Senate to pass the bill for the new baseball stadium.

Salt Lake City is in the process of getting enough bonds to pay for a $900 million stadium for a Major League Baseball team in Salt Lake City. 

I would love to see more baseball and more support for MLB. However, it is not necessary to make a new team, let alone build an entirely new stadium specifically for Utah. The money would come from the sales tax in the region where the stadium would be located. It costs an obscene amount of money for a stadium that will just sit without use for half the year.

If we look at the Rio Tinto stadium for soccer or the Delta Center, for the Utah Jazz basketball, we can see that these stadiums are used for much more than just their designated sport.

The Rio Tinto stadium can be used for concerts, other sporting events or some larger conventions. The Delta Center is used for concerts, shows and other smaller games. If we look at just about any other baseball stadium, they are very hard to change or to set up as anything else other than a baseball field. They are such specific layouts for the sport that it is best used as is. 

With that in mind, during the six months of baseball season, it would be well used for games. After that time, usually the fields are just left waiting for the next season to start. Even if some company or event coordinator could pay the to rent out the stadium that would be built, the changes that would have to be made to the stadium to accommodate the event would be significant. Especially when trying to protect the field in the process.

The money that is going toward this stadium and team could go to many other things that the valley needs such as:

  • school systems
  • pay for teachers
  • supplies for schools
  • housing
  • finding solutions for cleaner air

The stadium would then spend a good majority of the beginning years of being in service trying to repay that money with the profits made from viewers. It is possible that the stadium as well as the team won’t be super popular, which adds the risk of not bringing in a lot of money, especially for newer and younger generations.

Building this stadium and team is a foul play. To create something like this when there are bigger problems at hand to focus on shows a lack of focus on what’s truly important in society.

Blaze dance team shows strength at nationals

If this season’s Blaze Dance team could be summarized in one word, it would be resilient.

The Utah Tech University Blaze Dance team performed at the USA Collegiate Championships, which took place Feb. 17 and 18 in Anaheim, California. They performed in two different categories including Jazz and Hip-Hop.

The event is an annual competition, and this year, they placed second in Division 1 Hip-Hop.

The team worked tirelessly four to five times a week, performing at sports events and competitions year-round.

Aly Johnston, a senior marketing major from Pocatello, Idaho, said: “The prep for nationals is something not a lot of people understand. There’s a lot of mental work that our team put in this year besides just the physical practice.”

Like many other sports, dance involves mental and physical stamina. The team trains daily to memorize each dance until it comes naturally to them.

”Some weeks practice would be our normal schedule and other weeks, we would be there twelve hours extra,” Johnston said.

This competition was special for this team. It was a poignant and exciting experience for these girls.

”I had so many emotions up there on that stage,” Johnston said. “I was dancing with my 19 best friends.”

The experience helped solidify a bond with these dancers, and Johnston was proud of her team.

”The trust, the emotion and the true friendship is just all the way there with our team this year,” Johnston said. “I knew that every single one of us girls wanted to go out there and perform our best not only for ourselves but for each other.”

Regardless of the outcome, these girls felt they poured their hearts out on the stage this year.

Johnston said: “Our team excelled at resilience. When something was hard this year, instead of being negative, we really looked to the positive.”

Oaklyn Ulrich, a junior communications major from St. George, said nationals was incredibly hard to prepare for but rewarding.

“Second place in the nation is amazing,” Ulrich said. “So even though it can be a little sad to have all that hard work and not get first place, it’s okay because I wouldn’t have done anything different. I’m so proud.”

Brynlee Prince, a senior integrated studies major from South Jordan, said: “During awards, I was proud. I told the team that no matter what the outcome was or what happened on the floor, I was proud of them.”

The team excelled the most at being resilient, positive and encouraging to each other throughout the competition.

The comment section of their Instagram page is full of heartfelt comments from both team members and supporters alike.

Now, the team is focused on performing at games and their showcase March 9.

Ulrich said, “I feel a large sense of gratitude and love for the sport of dance I’ve been doing for 19 years, for my teammates who all work so hard, for my coaches, for my family and friends for supporting me.”

Hoops and hustle: Searles’ hard work propels him toward success on court

From battling through junior college challenges to standing out at Utah Tech, one Trailblazer’s athletic journey to the NBA is far from over.

Jaylen Searles, a junior communication studies major from Everett, Washington, played basketball at two different junior colleges before making his way to Utah Tech University. He hopes Utah Tech can be a stepping stool to boost him to his end goal of becoming a professional basketball player. 

Searles was recently awarded the Western Athletic Conference’s TicketSmarter Player of the Week award, the Western Athletic Conference’s Newcomer of the Week award, and the Intermountain Overachieving Athlete award for the two-game stretch he had Feb. 8 and Feb.10.

Searles had a career-high of 33 points against California Baptist University Feb. 10. His 33-point performance is the second-highest scoring performance by any Utah Tech player in the program’s Division I history.

Searles’ teammate Trey Hall, a sophomore communication studies major from Willimantic, Connecticut, said he sees the work that Searles puts in, and he is excited that he is getting the recognition he deserves. 

“There are a lot of athletes out there that say they love his game, but they’re not doing the little things that he is doing to earn those accolades,” Hall said.

Searles’ journey to get him to Utah Tech has been unique. He is not the only junior college transfer on the team, but he is the only one to play at two different junior colleges. He started his college basketball career at Central Wyoming College back in 2020.

During his first season at CWC, COVID-19 started. During the beginning of his second year on the team, he was kicked off due to poor grades. 

“I was ready to quit basketball for a second,” Searles said. “But then I just got back in the gym and reached out to all the top 25 junior colleges in the country.”

Only one of the 25 schools that Searles reached out to got back to him to give him another chance, Southeastern Community College in Iowa.

He played the entire 2022-2023 basketball season there. During the season, he averaged 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 33 starts. He was named First Team All-Region 11, and he was also named an All-American

After his time at SCC, he was recruited to Utah Tech before the start of this year.

Head coach Jon Judkins said Searles was the perfect athlete that the team needed, especially with his prior collegiate experience at the JUCO level. 

“Look at him, he’s athletic, he’s long,” Judkins said. “One thing that we have struggled with in years past was having a guy that was long and athletic.”

Judkins said after getting on the phone and talking to Searles, it felt like the right fit for him to come play for the Trailblazers.

Searles said he knew that Utah Tech was the right fit for him as well. His favorite part about Utah Tech is the Burns Arena.

“It’s just fun to play in,” Searles said. “It’s a really big, good environment.”

Since the start of this season, Searles has played in all 26 games and started in 24 of those games for the Trailblazers.

During Searles’ basketball journey, he has continued to work hard despite any challenges he has faced.

Hall said: “I’ve seen the work that he [Searles] puts in behind the scenes. Coming back at night, getting up shots, the way he meal preps throughout the week, little things that he does that other athletes don’t.”

“I just look at it [playing D1] as the jobs not finished,” Searles said. “My ultimate goal is the NBA.”

Game changers: the grind of sports game preparation

There are so many things going on before, during and after a game that the audience or players don’t even see. A whole other team of people is hard at work to make the whole experience memorable.

The amount of effort that goes into putting on a game or a competition in the athletic department is immense. Many people put their time and effort into making it not only a good game but also a good show that keeps the audience entertained. There are things like camera setups, efforts of all those involved and coordination for halftime shows.

The main way that the game gets out to the public is by broadcast. The Community Education Channel Broadcast group at Utah Tech University works hard to maintain a professional and quality show for those viewing each game at home. Games such as football, soccer, basketball, baseball and more are viewable through ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference.

ESPN has specific requirements for its broadcasting system. There are requirements for things such as cameras, commercials and playback feed. All of these elements must be up to par for the game to be successfully broadcast.

Lauren Golden, video and broadcast production coordinator, said: “ESPN has specific broadcast standards as far as what colors we can use on our score bar, what colors you’re supposed to use for each school, what the nickname is and how it should look. They’re very specific.”

The broadcasting group also works to make sure that everything that is being streamed onto ESPN or the WAC, such as the score or commercials, is running smoothly.

Utah Tech’s slogan is, “active learning. active life,” so these video production courses allow students the opportunity to operate cameras, playback and other tools. Throughout each game, there are a certain number of students operating cameras. There are also three to four staff members in the van operating commercial breaks, playback and other content to feed into the program.

This is a way for the school’s motto to come into play. The students who are involved in the production of these broadcasts have learned how to use and apply the equipment they are using in class, and then use those skills and that knowledge in real-world experiences at games.

There are many efforts made to make sure that students and the public are aware of the games that are going on. 

Utah Tech Student Association goes through each week and prints out Blazer Digest copies of the events throughout the week, which are most commonly found in the bathrooms throughout Utah Tech. The flyers have information on everything from dances, Wednesday events and athletic games. Included is any pertinent information about the events and games such as times, places, game themes and giveaway details.

The Stampede makes an effort to coordinate and bring energy to the games for not only the players but also for the audience.

These flyers are promoted on most of the Utah Tech social media pages along with the team’s pages.

Social media is one of the main ways that announcements are made as a way for the school to get students excited to cheer on teams and athletes.

Another key point to games is to make sure that all of the promotions that are going on during breaks and halftime are set up correctly. There are interns who are always hard at work to make sure those promotions go smoothly. 

“I have a team of four interns that select contestants, set up promotions and ensure that we have all prizes and anything else that is involved with those,” said Dallas Clifford, marketing and fan engagement coordinator. “We have a lot of promotions that we do, so games can get super hectic. My team does a really good job of making things run smoothly.”

These promotions not only help with funding and promoting the games, but they also help to keep the audience engaged with the game while there are breaks, time-outs or other interruptions that have them waiting around for the next thing to happen. 

Kaylan Walker, the athletics creative content coordinator, said: “I work with some incredible people. We are a small department, but everyone is always looking for ways we can improve. It takes a village, and all of my co-workers are go-getters and are each striving to make a difference in this community.”

For a lot of these sports, the game is often compared to a show or performance. Just as winning is important, making it an interesting experience to see is just as important.

“Putting on a game takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes with a lot of different people making it happen, but we all love to do it and want Utah Tech to succeed,” Clifford said. “The better show that we put on, the better experience fans have and the better atmosphere there is for our student-athletes.”

Intensity in the Burns: Trailblazers get narrow victory over Thunderbirds

3… 2… 1… miss. A last-second missed 3-pointer by Southern Utah University seals a back-and-forth win for Utah Tech University Feb. 8.

Utah Tech won the game 70-68 just barely fending off their rival from 45 minutes up the road. 

Noa Gonsalves, a junior recreation and sports management major from Lehi, said: “This is probably the biggest game of our season so far. There is nothing better than winning at home against a rival with all these fans here.”

Beon Riley, a junior management major from Chula Vista, California, made his return from an injury he sustained Jan. 11. He was injured during the second half of the game Utah Tech played against Stephen F. Austin State University.

Riley was the team’s leading scorer on the night with 16 points. His first shot back from injury was a 3-pointer that he made to put the Trailblazers up 10-4 early in the first half. The second basket he made was a layup where he got fouled going up for the shot and converted it into a 3-point play. 

The crowd got into the game early, and they were loud the entire game. In every rivalry game against SUU, fans show out.

“I’m OK losing my voice with a crowd like this tonight,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “I was trying to yell across the court to get their [his players] attention, and it was so loud in here, I couldn’t.”

Utah Tech had everything going for them starting the first half. They were up 27-12 with 7:21 left in the first half. However, they let go of their 15-point lead and were only up by 8 points going into halftime. 

SUU comparatively started the second half going on a 10-0 scoring run that put them up by two with 16:17 left in the second half.

Utah Tech was able to find a rhythm after going down by two. The Trailblazers went on a 15-7 run in the next four minutes. Gonsalves hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Trailblazers up 48-42. 

The remainder of the second half was back and forth. Neither team was able to pull away and keep the lead. With three seconds left in the game, SUU inbounded the ball and shot the potential game-winning 3-pointer as time was expiring and missed. 

Riley said he had complete faith in his teammates, and there was no doubt in his mind that the team was going to win the game. 

Utah Tech’s women’s basketball team was also able to secure a win against the Thunderbirds Feb. 8 in Cedar City. The final score of the game was 87-77.

This win puts the men’s team solely in seventh place in the Western Athletic Conference, half a game above both SUU and Utah Valley University. The win was crucial in the team’s push to make it to the WAC tournament. It is not the end goal though.

Riley said the win was a big win, but the team has bigger goals than just beating SUU.

“We are worried right now about getting healthy, and giving everything you have every game,” Judkins said. “Let’s win every game one at a time…All we can control is that.” 

The next game the Utah Tech men’s basketball team will play at home is Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. vs. California Baptist University.

The Super Bowl: football game turned social event of the year

The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will face off to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the Super Bowl LVII Feb. 11.

The reasons behind why people enjoy the Super Bowl are extensive. Some people will be enjoying Super Bowl Sunday because they want a certain team to win. Others will watch because Usher is performing in the halftime show, and then some people will enjoy themselves in the kitchen where all the food is, chatting up a storm with friends and family.

Each year has a different outcome, and whether participants are into football or not, the buzz and excitement is all anyone can talk about for the days before and after the Super Bowl.

Predictions

Most sources say the 49ers have a predicted 57.5% to win against the Chiefs. With their 12-5 record this season, the odds are in their favor. However, with the Chiefs having Quarterback Patrick Mahomes on their team and his performance record of doing well under pressure, he has good odds to help bring the team to victory. 

Ken Beazer, executive director of athletics, said he is against the Chiefs and cannot cheer for them, so by default, he is more for the 49ers.

The reactions from fans are mixed as to who they want to win. These thoughts are based on previous games and not wanting either the Chiefs or the 49ers to make it to the Super Bowl.

Ryan Sharp, a junior marketing major from University Place, Washington, said, “I personally want the Chiefs to win since my Dad’s side of the family is from Kansas, so if the Seahawks lose, we start rooting for them [the Chiefs], so it is pretty exciting right now.”

Fans have already begun placing their bets on which team will win. A Caesars Sportsbook bettor from Michigan placed a $1 million bet that the 49ers would win. He also bet $100,000 that the coin toss would land on tails.

Traditions

From eating food to betting on what team will win, there are many traditions surrounding the Super Bowl. 

Watching the halftime show, eating food and enjoying the commercials is just as big of a deal for some viewers as it is to watch the actual game. It is a social event that starts the year for millions of people, whether they like football or not. 

Usher is due to have a 13-minute performance during the halftime show. He said that those minutes “mean everything” and that performing at the Super Bowl has “been on his bucket list for a long time.”

While some enjoy the halftime show, others find it less appealing as Athletics Sports Psychologist Ron Chamberlain said, “The halftime show is something that I usually just mute on the TV while I eat food and be social.”

In a survey done with 2,000 adults, the top 56% of people watch the Super Bowl for “football food.” With the top foods for this game being chicken wings, pizza and potato chips, this easy-to-make and quick-to-grab meal is the funnest part for a lot of viewers, especially for those who are invested in the outcome of the game.

Pricing

With roughly 70,000 people attending the game in person each year, ticket prices are always increasing. Tickets to this year’s Super Bowl at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas range from about $7,000 to over $35,000. Even with those who don’t attend the game in person, the average person is estimated to spend around $115 on food or on ways to make the event more memorable. 

Since the Super Bowl is being held in Vegas, the city is estimated to have an economic impact of more than $500 million. 

Chamberlain said, “It’s [the Super Bowl] such a spectacle, in addition to a football game.”

The Super Bowl is a football game, but it is also a performance. They have the halftime show as well as all of the commercials and sponsors. These athletes are under a lot of pressure to win the game, but so are the performers to give a good show. 

Audiences of over 113 million will be waiting to see what this spectacle brings whether that be the outcome of the game, a Taylor Swift appearance or good food.

Sharp said, “Every Super Bowl has something different to love most about it, which makes it a very special event.”