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The Blue & Gray Press | November 22, 2017

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SAAC Picnic Brings Sports Together

By MADALYN CROWELL

Sunday was an exciting afternoon for the Mary Washington athletic teams.  The Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) put together a picnic filled with competitive events to bring the school’s athletes together to feast on pizza, social action, and a number of fun activities. Papa John’s Pizza sponsored the event.

As she does every year, Coach Dana Hall headed the organization and execution of the event.  SAAC representatives were there as well to help with the set-up, clean up and judging of activities. The teams gathered from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. on the field hockey field of the Battlegrounds.  Team attendance was a major component in earning “points” for each team in order to help them obtain the highest total to win the highly coveted “Golden Shoe Award.” So each athlete checked in upon arrival to show support for their team and then made their way to the tables covered in boxes of pizza.

Although the picnic is an event based on having fun, relaxing and spending time with teammates and members of other sports teams, the competitive focus of the athletes to obtain the aforementioned “Golden Shoe Award” should not be understated.

The teams began earning points by challenging other teams, whom they hoped to defeat, to any of a number of competitions. These competitions included an obstacle course and tug-of-war. Senior Rachel Covington, a member of the women’s tennis team, competed with her teammates against women’s basketball in the tug-of-war contest. Women’s basketball took the win in the event.

“Everyone was challenging our team in the events because they knew they had the advantage over us, but we didn’t feel so bad about losing to the women’s basketball team,” Covington said.

There were also multiple events that took place at a single time, in which every team had representatives competing for the win. These activities included a water balloon throwing contest, strawberry shortcake-eating contest, Popsicle eating contest and, the final event of the day, the four-person relay race.

Senior Andrew Kada is a member of the men’s cross country team and was a participant in the obstacle course. The men challenged the women’s lacrosse team and women’s lacrosse came out victorious in the event.

Another member of this year’s cross country team, junior Daniel Ache, was one of Kada’s teammates in the event.

“Good thing cross country doesn’t involve much hand-eye coordination,” Ache said.

At the end of the picnic, the teams were gathered around the press box to hear coach Hall announce the results. As she listed the teams from highest to lowest score, the players were able to select their “UMW Athletics” T-shirt.  The men’s basketball team earned the most points and won the “Golden Shoe” trophy.  They also earned the privilege of getting first-pick of their desired size and color of this year’s T-shirts.  The men’s basketball team will maintain possession of the “Golden Shoe” trophy until next year’s picnic, when they will attempt to defend their title.