NORFOLK, Va. - Sights and sounds you don't often see from college students at 7 o'clock in the morning.
But Monday, hundreds of students boarded three double-decker buses headed to Myrtle Beach, all agreeing the 5:30 a.m. alarm was worth it to watch the Old Dominion Monarchs make their second-ever Myrtle Beach Bowl game appearance.
“I get see my best friends that are on the football team go out and try to get a win,” said Tyler Maestas.
Maestas was joined by his fellow senior student, Janiah Manley. Both say ODU making it to the Myrtle Beach Bowl game is the perfect way to round out their college experience.
“I'm a senior, and it’s like we haven't had a winning season until this year, and it's just really special,” Maestas said.
“I'm here because I'm cheering my team on. I'm pumped up, and I'm excited – that’s why I'm here, and we’re just gonna win. Let’s go, team!” Manley said.
And this trip was completely free to students, paid for by a group called The Monarchists. That’s a group of alumni and local fans who promote positivity and fandom within ODU athletics.
The Monarchists raised $5,000 to ensure every ODU student got to experience Monday's historic game.
“I've never been to a Bowl before. [It’s a] first-time experience, and I'm just here to experience it and live life to the fullest,” Manley told News 3 reporter Penny Kmitt.
The Monarchists provided students with their tickets, along with snacks, water bottles and the entire game day experience.
You can watch News 3's 30-minute "ODU Road to Myrtle Beach" special here.