The fourth annual Hootie’s Nocturnal Knockout gave the audience of Keene State students in attendance plenty of things to be excited about last Friday night.
Students entered the event at Spaulding Gymnasium with the chance to play games, compete for prizes, get a preview of the 2019-20 Keene State men’s and women’s basketball teams and more. The doors opened for the event at 7:15 p.m., but the line of people was out the door far before that. One of the driving factors behind that may have been the fact that the first 200 students in line would receive free Hootie’s Nocturnal Knockout T-shirts before even getting into the gymnasium.
Furthermore, the event staff offered all of the students in line other opportunities before getting into the event. In the hallway outside the gym, event staff members encouraged students filing in to sign-up for the chance to play games and compete for prizes during the event. Games that were played throughout the night included basketball related games such as knockout, a half-court shot contest and a four person basketball shooting contest, with both students in attendance and members of the KSC men’s and women’s basketball teams playing the game together. Also, a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos was played with dodgeball, dollies and laundry baskets, along with a game of musical chairs, where the final three contestants had to score a basket with a basketball before they were allowed to sit in a chair.
Another item that students received before getting into the event was one single raffle ticket each, which gave everyone the chance to win prizes throughout the night just by being in attendance. Those prizes included a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, an Owl Nation gear bag, a Halloween-themed gift basket and two tickets a Boston sports event of your choosing.
Students were greeted by loud hype-music and the sight of the center of the gym floor covered in gymnastics mats when they finally got into the event. The mats were there for the Keene State cheerleading team, who opened the event at 7:30 with profound displays of their balance, agility and athleticism.
Once the cheer team wrapped up their act, event staff members took a few minutes to clear the mats off the gym floor. During the downtime though, other event staff members made sure to keep the crowd entertained, by playing some more music and throwing free Owl merchandise into the bleachers. They would continue to do this in between activities throughout the night.
After the gym floor was cleared, it was time for introductions. First, Nate Flyzik, the event emcee, introduced Hootie, the Keene State College mascot. Hootie came out to wave to the crowd and help Flyzik introduce the next people; the players on the 2019-20 Keene State women’s basketball team.
The lights in the gym were dimmed, and the strobe lights came on, as the players on the women’s basketball team rushed onto the court one by one after being introduced. This year’s team features nine new players, eight of which are freshmen. Hien Thach and Kenzie Bennett are the only two seniors on the team this year.
After the women’s basketball team was introduced, Flyzik called students down to the floor for the games. First came the shooting contest with the women’s basketball team, followed by Hungry Hungry Hippos and the half court contest. The half court contest had a lot at stake, as the winner would receive a $500 Visa gift card for hitting the shot. Only one person made the shot, and that was Jake Dunkley, a former player on the Keene State men’s basketball team.
After the games, the 2019-20 Keene State men’s basketball team was introduced. The players ran out to the court and made their presence felt, throwing down thunderous slam dunks that wowed the crowd. Some of the players then played in the men’s basketball shooting contest with members of the audience, with the winners moving on to play the winners of the women’s shooting contest. The ultimate winner in that showdown received their choice of an Apple watch or Bose speakers.
The event wrapped up with musical chairs and knockout, with the winner of musical chairs getting their choice of Apple AirPods or a $50 Amazon gift card. The final event of the night was a performance by the Keene State dance team, giving the audience a show to remember before heading home.
The fourth annual Hootie’s Nocturnal Knockout appeared to be a big hit amongst Keene State students once again, and we can likely expect more of the same when it returns next year in the fall of 2020.
Matt Holderman can be contacted