Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sig Ep Captures Maine Gladiator Battle

UMaine's own gladiators battle it out
Laila Sholtz-Ames

This past Sunday, the University of Maine Recreation and Fitness Center was transformed into a battlefield for the first-ever UMaine Gladiators competition. The contestants were split into men's and women's divisions that included UMaine athletes, employees and students. With 28 participants, the event proved to be entertaining.

"The events were versatile and allowed for people to [be] successful in a variety of ways," said Megan Ramos, the coordinator of the event.

Participants paid $10 to enter. Just like the popular television show "American Gladiators," the UMaine version matched a cast of participants against one another, as well as against the Rec Center's own "gladiators."

In contests of strength and agility, participants fought in a variety of events. The joust had participants stand on a platform - with a gladiator opposite them - holding a jousting stick. Competitors tried to knock the gladiator off his or her platform while staying on their own. Points were awarded according to how long a person stayed on the platform.

In the "Take Down" event, competitors were given a detachable flag belt and a 10-second head-start up a rock wall before a gladiator raced up after them for a "take down." Those who got to the top were awarded bonus points.

In "Assault," contestants battled a gladiator in a head-to-head matchup of brain and brawn. In one minute, they had to complete the challenge of racing through checkpoints, while targeted by a gladiator armed with dodgeballs.

With "Powerball," two contestants at a time were given 45 seconds to score as many dunks into bins as possible. Points were awarded according to how many balls you placed in the bins.

In the final "Elimination round" the top two female and male contenders from the preliminary round of events squared off in "The Eliminator," featuring massive obstacle courses and requiring equal parts agility, speed, power, strength and quickness.

The winners from the male and female division were named according to who finished first. Sarah Zazzaro, an athlete from the women's rugby team, garnered first place for women, while Thomas Baril, a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, won for the men."

I really did not know what to expect. I wanted to win, and I went in with the mindset of doing the best I could. The events were challenging, and I am sore today," Baril said. "Despite this, I loved the experience and hope they do the event again so I can defend my title."

While there was no monetary reward, winners got their names and faces on a poster that will be displayed in the Rec Center and Memorial Union for 2009.

"It was a long competition, so in the future we would like to minimize duration if possible," Ramos said. "For being our first attempt at a large undertaking, I thought it was a success, and we have a lot more to work with when we offer it again."