Pack the Place prevails

Tommy Layden, Assistant Sports editor

Just before 5 p.m. on Jan. 18 LT’s NC field house was buzzing; clubs were setting up fundraising tables, players were warming up, and coaches were helping organize each aspect of the game. All of this was in anticipation of the Pack The Place games–as soon as you walked in the gym you could feel that a special night lay ahead.

As the teams warmed up the excitement was palpable.  Some of the players were at their very first Pack The Place event. But for Will Medina ‘16, it was a bittersweet last dance.

“I am not too nervous, we are really hoping to get the W,” Medina ‘16 said before the game.

Luckily for Will, LT got three consecutive wins; 36-26 in the gold game,  22-20 in the blue game, and 53-10 in the white game.  But what truly makes this event special is most players did not even bring up the win as their favorite moment.

“[The games’ best moment was] when Oscar [Orders ‘21] made his basket, because he had not made a basket all year [and] that was his first,” Ben Ellenby ’19 said.

Zak Lavaty ‘17 who just played his sixth Pack The Place game, had an entirely different take on his experience and thrived on the crowd’s energy.

“The best part is seeing my friends in the stands, and hearing the band play, [ because] I was in marching band for four years,” Lavaty said.

Although this will be the last Pack The Place with Medina, he did not go quietly.  Medina opened the game with eight points in the first quarter, and ended with a game high 17 points, alongside an eight-point effort from Kendall Wright ‘19.

“I had to believe in myself and my teammates, and without that we wouldn’t get this win,” Medina said.

The players are not used to games with large amounts of people in the stands cheering them on, so the fan presence created a unique and memorable environment.

“It was really good a lot of the audience was screaming out of their lungs to cheer us on and I couldn’t ask for a better crowd, ” Medina said.

Even though forecasts predicted snow storms coming through the LT area, students poured in and by 6 p.m. the gym had a larger crowd than last year.

“ [The crowd] was not as big as I thought, but it was very understandable because the weather was predicted to be really bad,” Ellenby said.

Coaches Emma Colangelo and Gabby Silva were pleased that the snow had held off throughout the duration of the event, and that students, parents, and faculty came out to support.

“ I love that some of the other teams like the wrestling team comes to support us,” Silva said.

This event creates a opportunity for LT students to come together to support their sports teams showing what it is to be a Lion on and off the court.

“[ My] goal for tonight was just being out there getting a basket didn’t matter as long as I’m out there, and I [hope] I can help the team stay positive no matter what happens.  I can do that on the bench and on the court,” Ellenby said.

Flip over the page to see a double feature athlete of the month story on Ellenby and Wright.