Commuters win an award for the first time in Sportsfest

For the first time in the history of the Sportsfest tradition, commuter students brought home the Spirit Award.

The spirited competition involves residential and commuter participating in a weekend of sports contests that range from flag football to brain games. Sportsfest brought more than 1,000 students who participated in 15 sports during the Feb. 6-9 weekend.

The commuter team, “Uber Strong,” was divided into one female team and two male teams led by team captains Mallory Blum for the women, and Miguel Silveira and Gus Tovar, both members of the Association of the Commuter Students.

Commuter student team captains Miguel Silveira, Mallory Blum and Gus Tovar receive the Spirit Award recognition at the 35th Sportsfest contest on Feb.9. Photo credit: Massiel Leyva

The commuters competed against teams from the residential colleges Eaton, Hecht, Mahoney, Stanford, Pearson, and the University Village.

Stanford Residential College was the winner of the first place of the entire Sportsfest, followed by Pearson Residential College and the Mahoney Residential College in third.

“Winning the Spirit Award means that your team is being recognized for the fact that you had the most fun and that’s awesome,” said Stephanie Fleitas, assistant director of the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement. “It was the first time that we have ever won something.”

Fleitas, who graduated in 2012 from the University of Miami, said the planning for Sportsfest begins in the fall. The planning committee comprises representatives from Housing and Residential Life, the Wellness & Recreation Center and the commuter student body.

“I think Sportsfest from its inception was created to be a community building program,” Fleitas said. “We push so much for commuter students to get involved because it is a fun way to meet people.”

Estefania Caputo, sophomore international studies major and a vice president of UM’s Association of Commuter Students, agrees.

“Commuters are a huge factor of the UM community and we have to make our presence known,” Caputo said.

Erick Martin, a freshman health sciences major, was an active participant in Sportsfest from the commuter team. He participated in volleyball, soccer, knock-out, basketball and Jenga.

“It was a fun atmosphere; all our friends were there cheering our teams,” Martin said.