Final Four first: Team arrives week before championship

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) You know what they say, there's a first time for everything. Whitman College is living proof of that.

Logan Sherrill/WDBJ7

"For the National Championship round, nothing like that's ever happened," Carey Harveycutter, of the Salem Civic Center, said.

2,572: that's the number of miles from Whitman College to Salem, the site for the Division III Final Four. 35: the amount of years it's been since a West Coast team has made the DIII Final Four. 5: the number of days the boys from Walla Wall have been in town, something that's never been done before.

The Beavers are sitting strong at 31-0 and hungry for their first ever national championship. Need proof? Coach Eric Bridgeland and his team have been holding up shop in Roanoke since last weekend.

"Fifteen-hour trip so there's no way we could come out and compete Friday with that kind of a trip in the middle of the week," Bridgeland said.

So after winning last Saturday in Ohio, coach made the decision to head South and give his guys a chance to relax.

"Hanging out with the guys and just like having fun," Jack Stewart, Whitman shooting guard, said.

"Went bowling last night and saw a movie as a team," Jase Harrison, Whitman shooting guard, said.said.

The other deciding factor, the time change on Sunday morning.

"Sleep schedule has been a benefit of coming out here early," Harrison said.

"The fact that we can just adjust to the sleep is just really helpful," Stewart said.

The Walla Walla boys are hoping that extra rest will bounce their way because with a win they would become the first team in NCAA DIII history to complete a perfect 33-0 season.

"It would be just be like the icing on the cake honestly," Stewart said.

But naturally they're taking it one game at a time.

"We got one game Friday and we're going to enjoy it and have so much fun preparing for it, getting ready for it, and see what happens," Bridgeland said.

Whitman tips with Babson Friday at 5 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center. The last we checked, tickets are still available.