St. Paul’s Snaps Challenge Night Losing Streak in Thrilling Tiebreaker

Bam Barriero attempts to block a spike from the SSA team. The Wolves fell to the Doves in two out of three games at this year’s Challenge Night. (photo: Garrett Boyce)

(COVINGTON, La.) — Hundreds of students from St. Scholastica and St. Paul’s packed the Gene Bennett Sports Complex on Monday, April 3, for the annual epic battle of the sexes known as Challenge Night. The Wolves beat the Doves in a combined score of 8-7 to finally snap SSA’s four-year winning streak.

The SPS Student Council-sponsored event began with the traditional senior volleyball match, and, as tradition follows, SSA dominated. The Doves won a best-of-three match in two games. The first game was won 15-7 and the second game was won 15-6. Senior Bam Barriero won match MVP.

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Executive Board members Oliver Sibley (Vice President), Will Murphy (President), and Alex Nunez (Secretary) were largely responsible for running this year’s Challenge Night (Photo: Will Murphy)

The second game was a relatively newly added Challenge Night game known as “Junk in the Trunk.” Each school had five participants line up with an empty box of tissues containing ten ping pong balls. The first team to have all five contestants shake out all of the balls would win, and the Wolves easily came out victorious. The overall score was now 2-2.

The third game, a new addition to the Challenge Night array of games, was a free throw competition. The school that made the most free throw shots in 90 seconds would win. Once the buzzer sounded, the Wolves scored 23 while the Doves only scored 12. The overall score was now 4-2, Wolves.

The fourth was the traditional relay extravaganza known as “Dizzy Bat.” The Doves seemed to easily have the Wolves beat, but junior Cameron Vidal, who did the “frog jump” leg of the relay, incredibly put the Wolves neck-and-neck with the Doves, thanks to his jumping ability. Anchor Spencer Cole capped off the dizzy bat relay to give the Wolves an incredible victory. The score was now 6-2, Wolves.

The fifth game was a classic round of “Balloon Pop.” Each school had 15 participants with a balloon tied around each leg, and both teams had to stomp on opposing participants’ balloons until one team had no more balloons attached to any of their participants’ legs. The Wolves dominated the Doves, and when the last SSA balloon was popped, there were still eight SPS participants with at least one balloon remaining. The score became 8-2, Wolves.

After the Wolves won the balloon pop competition, Challenge Night officials deducted one point from the Wolves’ overall score due to a rostering infraction during the balloon pop competition. The score was now 7-2, meaning SSA still had a chance to tie the score.

The sixth game was the historically SSA-dominated event known as “Cookie Face.” Five students from each school had to somehow move a small cookie from their foreheads to their mouths without their hands. If SSA lost this event, the Wolves would automatically be the winners of the 2017 Challenge Night. The Doves were simply not ready to throw in the towel, and SSA completed all five of their participants before the Wolves could even get down a single cookie.

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Senior Kenneth Avanzino works a cookie down to his mouth during a classic round of “Cookie Face” (Photo: Garrett Boyce)

A point has always been awarded to the school that has the higher attendance, based on percentage of overall students. SPS had a 38% attendance while SSA had a staggering 64% attendance. The score was now 7-5 heading into the final event.

The seventh and final scheduled game was a water bottle flip competition. If SSA were to win this game, the score would be tied at 7-7, and Challenge Night would once again advance to a tiebreaker. Each school had five students (one at a time) flip water bottles until each member of a team successfully flipped their bottle. In an extremely tight race, SSA’s participants were the first to flip all five water bottles. This catapulted the 2017 Challenge Night into a tiebreaker.

Members of the SPS senior class perform their Challenge Night dance routine (Photo: Garrett Boyce)

The tiebreaker was another competition involving water bottle flipping. This time, one student from each school was selected to flip a bottle ten times, and the first to do so was declared winner. The SPS representative was sophomore Jonathan Bertucci, and he battled against SSA’s Grace Guzan in a head-to-head showdown. The entire gym crowded around two teenagers, one official and two plastic water bottles. Bertucci quickly nailed ten successful flips while Guzan finished only a few flips behind. It was all over. The trophy had returned to St. Paul’s School.

On April 3, 2017, the four-year losing streak was finally snapped in one of the most exhilarating finishes in Challenge Night history. Student Council only hopes that the excitement of this year’s Challenge Night will only raise student enthusiasm and participation in the years to come.

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