Pierson freshmen emerge victorious

When Piersonites dashed madly through the High Street gate of Old Campus on Saturday they carried two things — residential college glory and a golden mustache trophy. They had just won the class of 2013’s Freshman Olympics.

The Pierson Pirates captured first place for the third time in four years this weekend, topping runner-up Davenport by a margin of 250 points. Morse and Jonathan Edwards tied for third place with 550 points apiece. Berkeley failed to break double digits, finishing last with only 50 points.

A freshman Sillimander hurls a dodgeball at an opponent during Freshman Olympics.
Sebastian Prokuski
A freshman Sillimander hurls a dodgeball at an opponent during Freshman Olympics.
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The Pirates erupted into their notoriously lengthy college cheer after James Campbell ’13, a Pierson representative on the Freshman Class Council, announced his team’s victory. A horde of Pierson freshmen then rushed, trophy in tow, to Pierson Master Harvey Goldblatt’s GRD ’77 Park Street house to present him with the prize.

“I have no words, because every year I feel that the spirit of freshmen could not get any greater, but each year it seems to exceed the year before,” Goldblatt said. “After 16 years of doing this, I’m still touched.”

Pierson tallied points in nine of 17 events, scoring in more contests than any other college. While the Piersonites only claimed outright victories in two events — the relay race and the runway-style walk-off — they still combined for 875 points on the day. Pierson’s five second-place finishes made the difference on Saturday, racking up 600 points from those runner-up spots.

FCC Chair Kat Lau ’13 said the key to Pierson’s success was the college’s high turnout and energy. Goldblatt also attributed the victory of his students’ success to their “youthful enthusiasm.”

Though Lau, who competed for Davenport, said losing to Pierson was disappointing, she added that it was gratifying to see the two neighboring colleges post such strong performances.

“We’re rivals, but also sister colleges,” she said. “Clearly, there’s something in the water over on York Street that breeds success in the Olympics.”

Davenport quickly emerged as the best video-gaming college, winning both the men’s and women’s Mario Kart competitions. Gnome Chris Ramsey, a member of the varsity track and field team, outran all opponents to win Duck, Duck, Goose. The runner-ups also placed third in dodgeball, volleyball and ultimate, helped — or hindered — in the last event by one author of this article.

Behind Pierson’s success and the merriment of other freshmen lay the efforts of Lau, Freshman Olympics Coordinator Brendan Ross ’13 and other members of the FCC. Ross said the council members have been planning the event since early February, working to coordinate 17 events in a scheduled span of four hours.

Ross said planning this year’s festivities involved following last year’s setup as well as adding several new events, including a freshman counselor competition. Morse’s Caroline Murphy ’10 dominated the new event, in which counselors taped balloons to their legs and attempted to pop competitors’ balloons while protecting their own. Murphy credited her win to the efforts of fellow counselors and support of her freshmen.

“Morse always wins,” Murphy said — before the final results had been tallied.

Perhaps the FCC’s greatest contribution to the 2010 Freshman Olympics was the creation of this year’s trophy: a golden mustache. The FCC hand-crafted the ’stache out of wood before spray-painting it with a shiny golden finish, Ross said. The Council thinks a traveling trophy had been bestowed upon the Olympic champions in the past, Ross said, but the FCC had to craft their own when said trophy could not be located.

And next year’s FCC may have trouble reclaiming this year’s trophy, as Goldblatt is already making plans for it.

“I’m going to wear it,” Goldblatt said. “I’m going to put it in a prominent place.”

This year’s win makes Pierson’s class of 2011 the only currently enrolled class of Piersonites not to win the Freshman Olympics. They placed last.

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