Kansas State student Blake Moris has known for “a long time” that he was going to propose to his girlfriend of about two years, but he knew he would need “the right time and place” — like during halftime of a K-State football game.
For both Moris and his girlfriend, Carly Tracz, “band has been so important,” so he knew that when he proposed, it would have to be in front of the K-State band family of over 400 people. Moris is one of the K-State Marching Band’s drum majors, and Tracz’s dad is the director of The Pride of Wildcat Land.
The couple also met when Tracz sat close to the band during a 2016 football game. Moris was in the tuba section at the time, “and he has a lot to say during games, so he was hard to miss,” Tracz told The Wichita Eagle. So, “in true millennial fashion,” she found out who he was and followed him on Twitter.
“After a few days of liking and retweeting everything from each other, we went out on a Saturday night after I had played at a football game and volleyball game,” Moris told The Eagle. “My voice was gone, and my eyes were bloodshot, so who knows what she thought of me that first night.”
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But “it couldn’t have been too bad,” Moris said. A few days later they were officially dating — and K-State, band and football continued to be a part of their relationship.
“Growing up with the band, meeting him in it, I always knew I wanted it to somehow be band or football related,” Tracz, a graduate student in college student development, said.
And Moris knew that.
“I decided to propose that way because I knew she loves halftime proposals,” Moris, a graduate student in transportation engineering, said. “There was one last year and she was in tears about it for a couple of days, so I knew that had to be the way it was done.”
So, when he began planning how to ask the big question, he “obviously” let the band directors know, in addition to a few other graduate students and band members — “only the people I could trust to know that it was happening without telling Carly,” he told The Eagle.
With his band family on board, he picked a date — the day K-State played the No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs in Bill Snyder Family Stadium — and made sure he knew where Tracz would be sitting.
“I was a little suspicious during the week because he asked so many questions about my plans for the game!” Tracz said. “I do the exact same thing every game so it was weird that he would need clarification. For some reason though I had convinced myself that morning that it wasn’t going to be that day, so I was still really surprised. Especially because I didn’t ever think it would be during halftime!”
But it would be during halftime — and Moris was anxiously awaiting the special moment.
Finally, he went down to the field and helped lead The Pride of Wildcat Land in its halftime performance.
While leading the band on a podium that’s almost six feet off the ground, he had to use all of his concentration on not falling off because of his nerves — “that wouldn’t be very fun,” he said.
“I let my arms do what they were supposed to,” he said. “My legs and knees started getting weak and shaky during the second song of halftime; luckily the band is really really good and doesn’t need me anyways.”
Then, as the band hit its last note of a Jesus Christ Superstar medley, he jumped off that 5-and-a-half foot tall podium and ran to where Tracz was sitting in the student section — while fans watched on the big screens.
That’s when Tracz saw her boyfriend running her way.
“I saw Blake jump down from his podium and grab something from the student staff,” she said. “I had even wondered why the band managers were standing by the gate to my section, but now I know that they were there to make sure it was open and ready for him to run through.”
As he ran through, the crowd began to cheer.
He climbed up about 20 steps to where Tracz was sitting with her friend at the 20-yard line of the student section and she clasped her hands over her mouth, video shows.
“Carly, Blake has a very special question for you,” an announcer said over the stadium’s sound system. But Carly said she didn’t hear the announcer, or the cheers. She only heard her soon-to-be fiance.
Blake got down on one knee while in his uniform and the fans got louder.
“She said yes!” the announcer said as the engaged couple embraced and kissed while on the big screen.
Carly told The Wichita Eagle she couldn’t have said “yes” fast enough.
“It was a surreal feeling, having the love of your life telling you that she will marry you, and then ... people you don’t know going crazy because it happened,” Moris said. “It was amazing, everything worked so perfectly, I couldn’t have asked for it to be any better.”