Sportsfest, an annual sporting competition for students, has united the University of Miami in healthy competition since 1986. Over the years, the competition has undergone many changes to its event roster. But this year, Sportsfest returns with a changed format.
As usual, the competition will kick off with canoe racing on Friday at 3 p.m. But rather than concluding on Sunday, Sportsfest will only last a day and a half, ending Saturday evening. This shortens Sportsfest by one day of competition.
Despite the time reduction, few changes were made to the event roster. Assistant Director of Intramurals Tom Soria attributed this to careful planning.
“Ironically, not much was cut out,” he said. “We had to consolidate the time frame. So we looked at the most important events and figured out what can overlap and what can’t.”
The schedule of events for Sportsfest is always tightly packed, but even with one less day, Soria said that this year’s schedule should not feel much tighter. He explained that a home basketball game conflicted with Sportsfest last year and caused a time crunch, which will not be a factor this year.
According to Carolina Gonzalez, a resident assistant in Mahoney Residential College, the decision to shorten Sportsfest was made because of low Sunday attendance during previous years. Despite this change, she is aiming for high participation among Mahoney residents.
“Hopefully, we’ll see more attendance this year even with the length being shortened,” Gonzalez said. “And this will be the first year in Sportsfest history that Mahoney will win.”
Kai Ito, a resident assistant in Pearson, said that extra efforts were made this year to engage upperclassman residents.
“The reality is that upper-year students become less involved with UM events because they’re busy with their own thing,” Ito said. “But this semester, we really energized the Pearson community to participate. At the end of the day, our job is to make the residents have an incredible time and a memorable experience. If the residents feel that way, then we’ve accomplished our goal.”
However, junior Pearson Residential College resident Hunter Riley was less sentimental.
“I thirst for the blood of my enemies in Mahoney,” he joked.
Hecht and Stanford usually require less effort to engage their residents in campus events. Freshman Rachel Medaugh, a desk assistant in Hecht, said this will be their advantage in competition.
“Freshman have the most spirit on campus,” she said. “It’s not just about how athletic you are, but how much you support the U, so we should win.”
Although enthusiasm cannot be formally incorporated into the scoring system, Soria said that participation is still a factor. A complex algorithm is used to calculate final scores, but participation and performance each roughly account for half of a team’s score.
A freshman residential college has won 25 times out of Sportsfest’s 29-year history, with Hecht winning 13 times and Stanford winning 12 times. Eaton has won only three times, the last win being in 1993. Neither Mahoney or Pearson has ever won. The University Village won for the first time last year.
In response to the UV’s recent win, Stanford resident assistant Skye Coetzee is determined to bring victory back to the freshmen.
“After the pep rally, we’re prepared and confident that we will reclaim our title as Sportsfest champions,” Coetzee said.
To see the winners of Sportsfest events, visit their website or follow @UMIntramurals on Twitter.