More than 300 students attended Spider Mayhem at the Weinstein Center Friday night to mark the beginning of the University of Richmond's basketball season.
The pep rally featured men's dunk, 3-point and tuition half-court shot contests. The first 300 students in attendance received a Richmond Rowdies glass and all were offered free Papa John's pizza.
Sarah Huang, president of the Richmond Rowdies, said she thought this year's Spider Mayhem was a huge success. Students particularly enjoyed seeing the men's Atlantic-10 trophy and highlight videos, watching students participate in the fun contests and the free food, she said.
"Our biggest competition was the free-tuition shot," Huang said.
Huang said the free-tuition shot competition, which randomly selects a student to participate, had been changed in order to improve students' chances of winning. In the past, students had to complete a lay-up, free throw, three-point and half-court shot within a time limit in order to win free tuition.
This year, students had the chance to win tuition if they could make two out of three half-court shots with no time limit, she said.
Senior Kelly Gonsalves was the chosen participant.
Before Gonsalves could begin the competition, she had to sign forms acknowledging that she had never played basketball in college or in the Olympics, she said. Gonsalves said she was suprised to have been chosen and that she was still in shock as she walked down to the court to take her first shot.
"Basically I just went up and shot the first one and I completely missed the basket," Gonsalves said. "So I decided that I needed to throw it a little further, and it just went in and I was completely shocked."
The crowd went crazy when the second shot went in the basket, Gonsalves said. She said everyone started to cheer and stood up as she tried to make the last shot.
"I tried the third time, and it didn't go in," Gonsalves said. "But it was really crazy because I didn't think that I was going to make a single shot."
Although, the free-tuition shot is the contest with the largest prize, Huang said, there were many other fun contests, including the organization-bat-spin competition.
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This competition is a relay that requires participants to spin around a bat 10 times, make a lay-up and run back to switch partners. Large student organizations, such as the Panhellenic Council, Richmond College Student Government Association and Westhampton College Government Association participated, Huang said. The first team to finish and sit down won, she said.
Senior Carli Guastafeste said she had come to Spider Mayhem specifically for the bat-spin competition to support one of her Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters, Kiki Grainger, who was participating in the contest.
"I was really excited to be here and support Kiki," Guastafeste said. "I also thought it would be so funny to watch this contest."
RCSGA, the reigning bat-spin champion, defended its title and won for the second consecutive year.
Senior Anna Von Heill said she enjoyed Spider Mayhem and thought that it was a way to show support for the basketball teams.
"I am really excited to be a part of Spider Mayhem," Von Heill said. Von Heill said she thought the pep rally helped garner school spirit for the coming season.
Senior Zak Estes, a member of the men's basketball team, agreed and said the teams were always excited for Spider Mayhem. "It is a great way to kick off the season and get fans excited since our first game is only two weeks away," he said.
Contact reporter Catherine Crystal at email@example.com
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