Population of 'Marshallville' grows as big game draws near

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- As tip off draws near, more and more Wichita State students are moving into Marshallville.

"We like to think of it as our little town!" Kristen Heiman said.

Marshallville was started last year as a place for students to show their appreciation of Coach Gregg Marshall and the Shockers. On the grass next to Koch Arena, they camp out in tents to secure the best seat possible for home games.

But no home game has rivaled the importance of Saturday's Missouri State game. The Shockers are looking to finish the regular season 31-0.

So, the tent city began taking shape earlier than ever this week.

"We had people who were here at 9 a.m. (Thursday)!" Sam Belsan said.

"It's definitely going to be worth it to top off a perfect season," James Hamilton said.

Hamilton, a freshman, moved into Marshallville around Noon Thursday. He was ready to set up camp, but soon realized he wasn't as ready as he thought he was for the cold weather.

"The guy I was bunking with in the tent, he had a heated blanket," Hamilton said. "I was over here freezing like please share it me!"

It was a similar story for Kristen Heiman and Amy Golay, who say their basic blankets were no match for the cold night temperatures.

"The guys were a little more prepared," Heiman said. "We'd like to think we were roughing it."

With one cold night already under their belts, many of the students ran to the store or ran home to stock up on some warmer items.

To get their minds off the cold, they played football, listened to music, and watched horror movies by using the inside of a tent as a projection screen.

"I was scared to be in the tent (afterwards)!" Heiman said.

They haven't been afraid of where they'll get their next meal. Chick-fil-A catered breakfast Friday morning. Even the faculty at Wichita State served up a treat.

"We did have a teacher from the economics department here at Wichita State bring three dozen donuts that said, 'Go Shocks' on them," Belsan said. "You know, the community really does step up."

Coach Marshall himself even came to visit Marshallville Friday night. He took pictures and signed autographs and expressed his appreciation for these loyal fans.

The fans say their dedication to their coach, their team, and their dream is what fuels their town of Marshallville.

"If they could finish off the (regular season) undefeated, that would be the best thing that could happen," Hamilton said. "It would mean the world to us."

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