VCU, Richmond pep rallies fuel friendly competition

Hillary Huber

Contributing Writer

Richmond can expect fire in the streets and a significant amount of crap-talking in upcoming weeks, or at least that’s what VCU students Jessie Spence and Kelly Culberton predict.

In order to celebrate the admittance of VCU and the University of Richmond into the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16, the city of Richmond threw a pep rally at the Canal Basin in Shockoe Slip.

Presidents of both schools arrived on boats and spoke on behalf of their basketball teams. They acknowledged the friendly competition around town.

“I’m looking forward to rooting for you and I know you’ll be rooting for me,” VCU President Michael Rao told UR president Ed Ayers.

Hundreds of students, alumni and fans gathered around the canal in support of the two basketball teams. While some are excited for the national recognition Richmond is receiving for its basketball teams, others think the competition between the schools will put the city in complete disarray.

“I’m excited two teams from Richmond (are in the tournament). Since it’s not just VCU playing, it will give the two schools a chance to be friendly with one another,” Kelly Culberton, a sophomore psychology major, said.

“ … Until we play each other,” freshman education major Lauren Davis added.

As fans of the two teams mingled, the possibility of the Rams playing the Spiders sparked debates about which school deserves the title.

Alumus Kelly Jacobs, who graduated in 2008, said she wouldn’t mind both teams making it to the finals.

“I’d love it for both teams to be in the Elite 8 just so we can beat the crap out of the Spiders,” Jacobs said.

Friend of Spence and University of Richmond student Amanda Lineberry also pointed out that among the students at the rally, VCU’s presence was overwhelmingly larger than UR’s. Regardless of which team wins the title, Lineberry said she was happy that UR was getting part of the national spotlight.

“VCU is such a bigger school than University of Richmond, and by having so many more students, VCU gets way more attention,” Lineberry said. “It will be nice for the Spiders to get some of that attention, too.”

Leah Kimp, a freshman merchandising major, said having two teams from Richmond be a part of the Sweet 16 made her proud to be living in the city. Kimp said that while she doesn’t mind the local competition, she agreed with Purdue head coach Matt Painter about VCU’s ability to win the tournament.

“I definitely think we can beat any team in the country, especially if we keep playing like we have been,” Kimp said.

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