SportsFest XXII goes to Hecht

It’s February again, and that only means one thing of the campus of the University of Miami: SportsFest. And as of late, that only means one thing: Hecht is the SportsFest champion for 2007.

Although Hecht did wind up trailing Mahoney by 127.23 points in what is called the “college average,” factoring in total points earned divided by teams participating, Hecht answered with their participation percentage, which was 50 percentage points higher than Mahoney.

“The weight of participation was reduced by approximately half, although it appears the outcome was about the same,” said Jim Ohrberg, who was in charge of scoring.

The fact that Mahoney had the higher average and lost based on participation may again raise calls for an adjustment to the scoring formula, after some feel that the other residential colleges cannot get the same participation percentage as the freshman towers.

Kara Dapena, a sophomore and member of Pearson’s Captain Hookers, enjoyed SportsFest overall, but questioned the scoring system.

“It was a lot of fun. I got to meet some more people in my building,” Dapena said. She added, “I think the scoring system should be changed so that dorms with smaller populations don’t get penalized. It just seems kinda rigged towards Hecht.”

Hecht has now won every SportsFest since 2002, tying the longest consecutive win streak in history, set by Stanford the six years previous. It is Hecht’s 11th SportsFest victory.

SportsFest dates back to 1986 when Hecht, then the “Honors Residential College,” challenged Stanford, then “The Residential College,” to an athletic competition. The other residential colleges and the apartments have since been included, creating the modern mix of sport today.

This was the first year that a tie needed to be broken amongst the top three finishers, as three teams tied for second. The tie was broken by an extra round of tug-of-war, won by Stanford. Mahoney finished in third, followed by Eaton, the apartment area and then Pearson.

Rhonda DuBord, associate director for the Department of Wellness and Recreation, said that most events went smoothly, adding that this year was “the best year ever.” She said that the biggest complaint was that Wiffle Ball took too long to complete.

“There were some glitches, but you’ll run into that with any large-scale event,” said Tom Soria, the head coordinator of the event, in his first year on the job. “But overall, I think it went really well.”

One of the most talked-about topics of this year’s SportsFest was the newest event, the Arsht Ethics Debate. The debate, organized by the UM Ethics Society, resulted from a $1 million gift from Adrienne Arsht, chairwoman of TotalBank. Organizers say that this event will add more academic importance to the games.

“This is what great universities do, they mix things up in ways which are intellectually exciting,” said Kenneth Goodman, co-director of the Ethics Society. “This event is a celebration of reasoned disagreement.”

The society prepared for the event for weeks, hosting informational sessions in each residential college beginning on Jan. 25.

“This is an attempt to broaden SportsFest and academic life on campus, to include ethics and critical thinking,” Goodman said.

The inaugural winners of the debate were the team from Stanford Residential College, represented by Seth Price, Nora McDonnell, CJ Walker and Tim McNaught.

Matthew Bunch may be contacted at