Local News

Zags go from Underdog to Top Dog

Gonzaga first Division One school in Washington to reach #1` in AP poll

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga's been playing basketball for a long time, but for the first time in school history the Zags are ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press top 25 poll.

The poll was released Monday.

The Bulldogs finished off a perfect 16-0 regular season Saturday, and finished off the year at 29-2, as they head into the post season WCC tournament. It's the most wins in team history and helped Gonzaga become the top ranked team in the country.

On campus Monday, students took the day to celebrate, with a new term swirling around: Zag Fever. At the school Monday Zag Fever reached epidemic levels.

"Zags are 100-percent deserving of this ranking, and it's pretty unreal," Kennel Club president Connor Cahill said.

Zags No. 1

Students were elated, with the Zombie Nation song blaring from the Crosby Student Center, where Bing Crosby's statue was decked out in Zag Swag -- in fact, every statute on campus had a Kelly Olynyk headband -- as a long cake in the shape of No. 1 was served by staff to celebrate. Senior forward Elias Harris joined in the celebration and enjoyed a piece of cake and history.

"It's a great accomplishment, not only for us players but also for the school, which has established itself over the years. Like I said, it's such a great honor. I'm happy, I'm happy for us, happy for our city, for our school, and it means a lot to us," Harris said.

The fever goes all the way up to the president's office.

"It's a time of great excitement, it's a great honor for the team and we're just really excited for them," Gonzaga President Dr. Thayne McCulloh said.

This team has gone from being known as a Cinderella story to an underdog to one and done and now the top dog at No. 1. But not only is Gonzaga No. 1, the university also became the first Division One school in Washington State to be ranked No. 1.

They hope to translate that ranking into wins this weekend at the WCC tournament and through the month of March.

News of Gonzaga's top ranking has the wheels of commerce turning at Zome Design, a Spokane Valley T-shirt company, which was busy cranking out "We Are No. 1" gear for Gonzaga fans.

After hearing the news Bob Petet was one of the first in line to put an order in at Zome Design Monday morning.

"(My) Wife was watching the news, I was driving down to do a tai chi class and she picked up the phone and says, 'You've got to make a different run' here I am," he said.

At Zome Design's warehouse the phones were ringing off the hook with rabid fans trying to get their hands on new Zag swag. In fact so many people were phoning orders in they've had to ask fans to use their website to place their orders.

"Now that it has happened it is hectic because we want to make sure that fans can get a hold of the shirt, and that's our goal, to make sure that everyone out there can get one that wants one," Zane Troester at Zome Design said.

Extra manpower was brought in to help keep up with the demand for Gonzaga merchandise.

"It's as big as it can get. I just think that Gonzaga fans and everyone in Spokane can share in this moment. I mean its an achievement from a program that's worked really hard to get where they are, and all the talks about mid-major in the old days, I mean, Gonzaga has arrived," Troester said.