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Junior Blake New­berry bal­ances a stack of Oreos on his forehead for a “Minute To Win It” chal­lenge in the ongoing home­coming com­pe­tition. Andrew Dixon | Collegian

With the Off-Campus Coalition in the lead at 280 points, Spirit Week is approaching its climax. The 17 com­peting teams have two remaining com­pe­ti­tions before Mock Rock on Sat­urday night. Whit­WatWay, last year’s home­coming winner, is in second place with 215 points. Simpson res­i­dence is in third with 190 points. 

OCC, which formed its coalition in the fall of 2018, took the lead after winning the trivia com­pe­tition on Wednesday night. What will it take for them to win? Con­sis­tency, said senior and OCC team member Ben Weide. 

“We know Mock Rock is huge, but we also know that we need to be in a good position going into it and we need to con­tinue to place in as many com­pe­ti­tions as we can,” Weide said. “And we’re pretty con­fident. We have some good stuff in the pipeline.” 

The photo com­pe­tition will take place on Thursday and the vol­unteer hours will be tallied on Friday. Mock Rock will be on the football field at 7 p.m. on Sat­urday. There, the home­coming king and queen will be crowned and the winning team of Spirit Week will be announced. 

After home­coming was can­celed last fall, the Alumni Asso­ci­ation decided to host a sep­arate alumni reunion in late May, while Spirit Week replaces the tra­di­tional home­coming week. The goal of Spirit Week is to focus on school com­munity and spirit, said junior and Student Activ­ities Board Big Events Leader Luciya Katcher. 

Though not the tra­di­tional home­coming week that typ­i­cally happens in the fall, the Spirit Week   com­pe­ti­tions included the annual banner com­pe­tition, Mock Rock, a photo com­pe­tition, and a race to com­plete the most vol­unteer hours. 

The biggest changes, Katcher said, include replacing the tra­di­tional wing eating com­pe­tition with minute-to-win-it, a series of minute-long chal­lenges which took place Tuesday night, and hosting Mock Rock on the football field instead of inside the Roche Sports Complex. 

“Even though we’ve thrown Spirit Week at a weird time, in the middle of midterms with no football game, and there’ve been all these obstacles, the student body was willing to rise to that and still bring the spirit and bring this excitement that makes being here fun,” said sophomore and SAB team member Meg Scheske. 

In the past, Mock Rock judges have fac­tored in the­matics such as lighting and con­fetti. Katcher said this year, the judges’ primary focus will be the dancing. 

“It’s more about how well you can put together the routine and wow the judges,” Katcher said. “We are trying to get the feel of a Friday night football game where we say, ‘come out and get cozy with your friends. Come out with blankets.’” 

For the minute-to-win-it games, the con­tes­tants were asked to com­plete five to six chal­lenges, each in less than a minute. Tasks included blowing cups across a table, stacking as many Oreos as pos­sible on one’s head, sliding an Oreo from one’s forehead into his mouth, and sucking as many beads as pos­sible with a straw out of one cup into another. 

SAB is con­sid­ering con­tinuing doing minute-to-win-it in place of the usual wing-eating contest every year, due to its popularity. 

“Minute-to-win-it was really great because it was some­thing dif­ferent that we tried,” Scheske said. “There’s a lot of energy and that kicked the week off in a good way.” 

Simpson won the com­pe­tition with a total of 90 points with Olds and Cross Country fin­ishing in second and third place, respectively.

Olds always has an enthu­si­astic presence in Home­coming week, and this year is no exception, said freshman and Olds res­ident Orlagh O’Donohue.

“It’s so fun to see how much it impacts the com­munity and how I’ve grown so much closer to so many people really that I usually wouldn’t have seen,” O’Donohue said. 

Kappa Kappa Gamma did not par­tic­ipate this year, and Delta Sigma Phi and Delta Tau Delta dropped out on the third day of competitions. 

Simpson, who lost home­coming last year for the first time in seven years, is hopeful to take the win on Sat­urday, said senior and head RA Tom Howell. 

“It’ll take a lot of practice from the guys, it’ll take a lot of demos, and it’ll take guys who are willing to put in the work, but I think most impor­tantly it will take guys who have a lot of energy and just want to go out there and have fun,” Howell said. 

Senior and OCC team member Patrick Mitchell added that Spirit Week is a time for all parts of campus to par­tic­ipate in activ­ities together. 

“Off campus res­i­dents have a rep­u­tation for iso­lation, or just the belief that they’re sep­arate from the rest of the campus,” said Mitchell. “I think that this just proves that wrong, that we are a united front and we can come and perform for all the tour­na­ments just like any other dorm, or sorority, or fraternity.” 

The most important aspect, though, is the com­munity and spirit that Spirit Week creates, added sophomore and Simpson res­ident Matthias Rhein. There has been a decline in par­tic­i­pation this year because of the move to the spring semester, he said, but an increase in campus camaraderie. 

“It’s a lot of delayed bonding that could have hap­pened early on, and at this point, people are already in their own friend groups, whereas home­coming last year was where I made most of my friends,” Rhein said. “I think that home­coming and Mock Rock and all these events are some­thing that campus dearly needed and I wish that it would have hap­pened last semester. It’s amazing how much campus, at least last semester, lacked without it.”