As the tradition goes, the Sturgis United tournament started the afternoon off; however, this year, there was a bit of a twist. Instead of just facing off in a dodgeball tournament, teams also competed in a plethora of activities such as free-throw competitions, chicken relay races, and a can drive. Winners of each event earned points and whichever team accumulated the most points from the five events would emerge as the Sturgis United champion!
In dodgeball, sixteen teams, each composed of ten students from both Sturgis East and West, competed in a four-round tournament to be the very best! This year’s tournament had some close calls, with several underdogs reaching the semi-finals against all odds. The final round of the tournament had the light pink team battle against the red team.
The light pink team had proven themselves to be the ultimate opportunists, pulling victories out when all hope had seemed lost. After sprinting out of the gate with a dominant win over the stacked orange “Inmates” team, the light pink team turned heads quickly and worked hard to maintain the momentum. Led by team captain and Sturgis East junior Caroline Sullivan, the “Pink Eyes” set the tone in the first round and never looked back on their way to the final round. Other teams attempted to gameplan around West senior John Ryan’s unavoidable curveball throw, but they had no such luck.
The red team, captained by East junior Mark Agostinelli, had to claw harder on their path through several tough showdowns and nail biters, despite entering as heavy favorite to win it all. In the team’s second round game, one of the most thrilling matches of the day, East junior Alex White and West senior Althea Turley had their backs against the wall as they faced four people from the “Royal Blue Archers.” Even with the reds on the brink of defeat, Althea Turley managed to not only lead to team to an inspirational comeback win, but she also earned the nickname “The Matrix” due to her athletic prowess.
In the end, the light pink and the red team had one final matchup for all of the glory. At the start, the light pink team took an early lead, but the red team’s tenacity shone through. After an early exit last year in the tournament at the hands of Kevin Agostinelli’s team, the red team was not to be denied this time. Eventually, five light pink players remained to only two red players, East juniors Mark Agostinelli and Evan Taubert. Without trepidation, the red team persevered to pull off a miraculous comeback in what may go down as the most exhilarating match in dodgeball history.
After many trials and tribulations, the red team (or Supa Hot Fire, as they like to call themselves) had won the dodgeball tournament. While the light pink team accumulated more total points and won the entire Sturgis United tournament, the red team won something else. Their hard work had indeed paid off; they won pride, bliss, and most of all, unity.