The competition last week marked the 10th and last Tocco Challenge in the current format at Hillsdale College.
This year, Don Tocco donated over $22,000 to Hillsdale sports teams and other student groups while winning the Annual Tocco Challenge by 24.8 points.
Ten years ago, Tocco had never heard of Hillsdale College. When he stumbled across a copy of Imprimis, Tocco said he thought to himself, “I don’t know who they are; I don’t know what they are.” He booked a flight to Hillsdale, Mich., to find out for himself.
When Tocco visited the Hillsdale campus, he was impressed with the mission of the students and the faculty of the college.
“What I came to learn is that Hillsdale College is a very special place,” Tocco said.
After his visit, Tocco was anxious to contribute to the cause of Hillsdale College and created “The Tocco Challenge,” an annual competition between Tocco and athletes from the college in a series of events that includes basketball, baseball, football, and chess.
Tocco donates $25,000 to the participating clubs if a Hillsdale Charger emerges as the victor after the points are tallied. If Tocco’s score prevails, he still donates $15,000. Tocco has won nine out of the 10 Tocco Challenges.
Basketball player junior Marissa DeMott, who represented Students for Life, had the highest average of points throughout the Tocco Challenge. However, Tocco and DeMott’s chess game determined Tocco’s victory with a total score of 201 points to Hillsdale’s 176.2 points.
Tocco came first in the football and chess events, while DeMott came first in basketball. Senior Scott Lantis, who participated on behalf of the Hillsdale Christian Fellowship, placed first in the baseball portion.
Sophomores Landon Peterson and Noah Bader tied for second after Tocco in the football portion of the competition. Scoring was determined by an associate of Tocco. Five points were awarded for a perfect pass, three points for a decent pass, and zero points for a bad pass. Tocco threw a perfect pass 18 out of the 20 times, winning with an average of 96 over Hillsdale’s average of 68.6.
“Apparently we had a ton of bad passes,” Bader said. “But it was a lot of fun. I won ATO around $1,000.”
While this year marks the end of Tocco’s athletic competition, he plans to stay involved with the college. The when and the how is still undetermined, said Associate Dean of Women Rebekah Dell.
“This was the last all-campus sports competition, but he’s still working on ideas,” Dell said. “It was just time to mix things up.”