ROTC runs game ball to Mich. Tech


YA LIKE SWAG—When the ROTC cadets and instructors run the last mile into the Tech stadium for the rival football game on Saturday, Oct. 12, they will be wearing their respective Battalion shirts. Maggie Duly/NW

Maggie Duly

The NMU vs. Michigan Technological University game is a special occasion in U.P. college football, so special that the two schools Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs are working together to transport the game ball from one stadium to the other on foot, rain or shine. 

The NMU Head Football Coach, Kyle Nystrom will hand off the game ball to Maj. Timothy Harris at 6 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Superior Dome. There he will start the 49.3-mile run halfway to Houghton where the MTU ROTC program will be waiting to continue the rest of the run. 

There were nine NMU cadets that volunteered to help with the relay run as well as Harris and Master Sgt. Donald Clemons, with all 11 of the runners each will have to complete about four miles in order to reach the halfway point at Tioga Creek Roadside Park. Their goal is for everyone to run a 9-minute mile pace in order to meet Tech around 12:30 or 1 p.m.

“I thought it was a cool event. Northern and Tech being rivals and having the ROTC programs come together and run the ball to the game is cool,” cadet and senior criminal justice major Andrea Olson said. “If you think about the military, we work together no matter who you are or where you come from, so it’s kind of the same thing here.”

The last time the ROTC programs did the game ball run was in 2009 and the event originally started in 2004. Clemons spearheaded bringing back the tradition.

“Traditions are important. We have a lot of traditions in the army and we try to maintain those traditions,” Clemons said. “Bringing this back to the ROTC program, it helps the students understand the importance of tradition also its an opportunity for the ROTC program to show our support for the school.” 

On game day, Saturday, Oct. 12, some of the NMU cadets will meet at the MTU ROTC building and cadets from both schools will run the last mile or so to Tech’s stadium to present the game ball. All the cadets will be representing their respective schools when they run the ball in by wearing their Battalion shirts. 

The community is welcome to watch the run begin by gathering at the dome Friday morning and cheering runners on from the dome all the way to U.S. 41.