Ashlee Moran is crowned 2017 home­coming queen. Josephine von Dohlen | Col­legian


Simpson Res­i­dence won Homecoming’s spirit week com­pe­tition for the seventh year in a row on Sat­urday, after fin­ishing first at the Mock Rock dance-off.

The 200-point victory pushed the team from third to first place, pushing it ahead of the Paul House, which was in first place before Mock Rock.

Hillsdale College held its Home­coming cel­e­bra­tions Sept. 25 – 30. Ranging from banner dec­o­rating and “tacky trophy” con­tests to com­pet­itive wing eating and vol­un­teering, stu­dents from dif­ferent dorms and Greek houses on campus came together to compete for the title of Home­coming champion.

On Sat­urday, Student Fed­er­ation announced that campus voted seniors Dean Sin­clair and Ashlee Moran for Home­coming king and queen. Moran rep­re­sented the Chi Omega sorority, and Sin­clair was nom­i­nated as an inde­pendent.

Sin­clair said it humbled him to be selected among the other nom­inees.

“It made me smile,” he said. “It’s nice to be thought of in that way. After I got crowned, I just went back to the pep band and kept on playing the rest of the game,” he said. “I enjoyed that, and I still got to play drums.”

Moran said the victory sur­prised her.

“It didn’t process when it all hap­pened,” Moran said. “Everyone was running the field, so it was a little over­whelming. It didn’t really feel real. I feel really humbled and really unde­serving that people would vote for me. I don’t feel like I deserve that sort of recog­nition, but it’s very kind. I feel so grateful that Hillsdale voted for me.”

Home­coming week is a good way of bringing stu­dents together from across campus, Moran said.

“The week was really great with com­pe­tition,” Moran said. “It keeps everyone involved with campus. I think it’s great that we can include both inde­pen­dents and Greek life. It’s really important to mend the divide that I think some­times is created.”

But home­coming is about dorm com­munity, too.

Simpson Res­ident Assistant sophomore Dietrich Bals­baugh said the RAs tried to get as many guys involved as they could. Bals­baugh said Home­coming this year was dif­ferent for him because this was his first year as an RA.

“It’s def­i­nitely a much larger scale than I realized freshman year,” he said. “There’s a lot of things we have to con­sider. On one hand, you have to con­sider, how are we actually going to do the events; what do we want to do? And then, sec­ondly, how are we going to get guys involved in this; how is the dorm enjoying Home­coming?  Because the RAs love Home­coming, it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.”

Bals­baugh noted that it was important for the Simpson RAs not only to keep Simpson involved but also to encourage friendly com­pe­tition among campus, as well.

“If the rest of the dorm isn’t enjoying Home­coming, then we aren’t doing our job well,” Bals­baugh said. “We have to pay attention to how the school is doing in home­coming. We have to be aware of how we’re holding our­selves during the week to make sure that it’s the best expe­rience as pos­sible for as many people as pos­sible. I think it went really well this year.”

As far as the actual Mock Rock com­pe­tition, Bals­baugh high­lighted the fact that’s it’s mostly about enjoying the night.

“What makes Mock Rock excellent is it’s a con­ver­sation about the people dancing and the people watching,” Bals­baugh said. “The dorm sends out their rep­re­sen­ta­tives, they do a move, and the crowd goes nuts, and that just gives them more encour­agement. And the crowd gets into it even more. That’s what we really wanted to do. At the end of the day, that was what I wanted to have happen: to have the crowd get into it, to enjoy what we do here.”

Although Simpson won Mock Rock, another team set fire to the dance floor — lit­erally.

During the dance from Mauck­ood­feldt — a team com­bining Mauck, Koon, and Nied­feldt res­i­dences — a student carried a lit torch into the arena, dripping rubbing alcohol onto the floor and catching leftover con­fetti from a pre­vious per­for­mance on fire, according to Hank Prim, assistant director of student activ­ities and director of res­i­dence life. He and Director of Student Activ­ities Ashlyn Landherr ran across the court to stomp out the fire, and the student car­rying the torch dropped it into a bucket of water pre­pared prior to the dance, which Prim then removed from the arena.

Prim said the two primary con­cerns were putting out the fire and making sure everyone in the building was safe.

Koon Head Res­ident Assistant senior Reuben Blake said he and other RAs had planned on incor­po­rating a fire drumming routine even before they began work on the chore­og­raphy.

“We prac­ticed it outside of Nied­feldt to make sure it was doable and safe before we decided the move it forward with some of the res­i­dents,” Blake said. “During the week leading up to Mock Rock, during our dance prac­tices, we had dress rehearsals, and we also included fire drum rehearsals. During all of those prac­tices, we never had an incident, we never had any­thing else catch fire. We had prac­ticed it quite a bit and then even changed the way that we were doing it a couple times so that it was more prac­tical and more safe.”

Prim said SAB plans on addressing issues like this for future per­for­mances.

“Moving forward, Ashlyn and I will make sure that we’re very straight­forward on what the oblig­a­tions are, what the require­ments are, and the pro­hi­bi­tions with Mock Rock per­for­mance, just to make sure that everyone’s on the same page,” Prim said.

But fire wasn’t the only thing that caused a stir at Mock Rock. Delta Tau Delta broke from a tra­di­tional group dance and sent only one rep­re­sen­tative onto the dance floor.

Sophomore Mitchell Biggs reen­acted the famous dance from the film “Napoleon Dynamite” for the routine.

“Delt has been so busy with Home­coming week, and our 150th anniversary is in a week and a half, so we didn’t have time to get a full Mock Rock going,” Biggs said.

According to Biggs, James Young, the vice pres­ident of Delta Tau Delta, approached him and asked if he would do the “Napoleon Dynamite” dance just for fun.

That’s exactly what he did. But at first, Biggs said he didn’t think he was actually going to do the dance.

“I said ‘sure’ as a joke; I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said. “It didn’t hit me until Thursday at mid­night that I really had to do this dance. I was hoping the audience would have fun with it, because it was not sup­posed to be a real com­petitor in Mock Rock. It was just more to have a good time and laugh about it.”

The audience cheered and laughed through the per­for­mance and gave a standing ovation at its end.

“It was a good time,” Biggs said. “The Delts were just happy that they pushed me to do it because I was very hes­itant about the whole process.”

Another team also caused a stir with a sur­prise guest per­for­mance.

The first place team at the time, Paul House, deployed a secret weapon for Mock Rock: a religion pro­fessor. During the middle of their per­for­mance, Jordan Wales, assistant pro­fessor of the­ology, hit the floor with the women of Paul House.

Wales said the Paul House’s house director, senior Sarah Schutte, reached outto his wife, Kathryn, about getting Wales to par­tic­ipate

“I know Mrs. Wales from Catholic Society events, and I’ve babysat for her, so I con­tacted her during our meeting about Home­coming,” Schutte said. “We knew we needed a really unex­pected element in our dance, so when one of the girls sug­gested asking him, I asked. She replied that Dr. Wales was inter­ested.”

Wales said backup dancers were popular when he was growing up in the early 1990s, and lots of people tried to imitate that style of dance for artists such as Janet Jackson and Vanilla Ice. According to Wales, what he did was not actual break­dancing, but he was able to recreate some chore­og­raphy he studied in prepa­ration for the routine.

“Of course, I had to refresh my memory, so I watched a few YouTube videos of ’90s backup dancers and then danced all over the place in my kitchen to the delight of my 1-year-old son,” Wales said in an email. “I met with the ladies of Paul House for one evening in the dance studio of the Sage Center. Each practice run was dif­ferent, each felt more exhausting than the last, and each lasted only about 42 seconds. I am newly inspired to get regular car­dio­vas­cular exercise.”

Wales said he felt mixed emo­tions before and after the per­for­mance.

“I vac­il­lated between feeling nervous, amazed at the crowd’s reaction, and tri­umphant like Maximus and Juba at the end of their first arena battle in the movie ‘Glad­iator,’” Wales said. “Mainly I was hoping that I wouldn’t let the Paul House down.”

Schutte said it wasn’t hard to get the res­i­dents of Paul House excited about Home­coming.

“Since we’re so small, we knew it would take more effort and planning, and it really payed off,” Schutte said in an email. “We were already planning the dif­ferent events a week into the semester.”

Ulti­mately, Home­coming is a chance for the res­i­dences to come together and compete as a com­munity against each other. Bals­baugh said Simpson wanted to promote campus unity as a whole.

“Right before we went out on the court to do Mock Rock, Zach [Stone] told us, ‘After we’re done, nor­mally we chant, ‘Who are we? Simpson,’ but this time we’re going to say ‘Hillsdale,’’” said Bals­baugh.