Written by: Travis Dube
The Mario Kart season raced, pun intended, off to a ruckus start in Holt Hall last night. Mr. Gallery and the boys set a great tone with a huge field of racers. 12, that’s right, 12 wii wonders vied for a spot in the second round. Pizza was an obvious draw, but once the flagged waved on the Mushroom Cup, no one was safe from the enthusiasm. The event even drew scouts from other dorms in the form of Brendan Cullura, Javier Duran, and Will Devine.
The first cup races saw a match of Kenny Fox, Drew Boli, Jeff Wheeler, and Justin Simmons. After a lot of pregame talk, Wheeler was undone before the race started with a poor choice in characters. Interviewed after, Wheeler stated, “Toad’s buggie did not perform the way I was expecting. Did you see how much faster Yoshi was?” The match went the way of Boli, despite a great attempt by Simmons to form a mid-cup alliance with Fox to take him down. The key to the race, Boli relayed, “just keep it on the road and watch your own screen.” Sage advice.
Heat two featured a confident Jovohn Bernard, a very excited Ben Lumbruno, the master of positive self-talk Miles Oliver, and Chuka Mekkam who asked on more than one occasion which button was go. Despite his neophyte abilities, it was Chuka who blew the competition out of the water. Every time one of the other racers thought they had victory in hand, Chuka would quietly slip by them on the last lap to claim the “W”. It was a masterful display of hand eye coordination.
The third group was a “who’s who” of mild mannered Holt residents. That said, once the racing started, the competitive fires were unleashed! Joe Bernard exuded cool confidence that backfired early in the first race. Ben Spiker channeled his youth to mount a serious comeback that put the pressure on late in the cup. Yet no one could compete with the smiling assassin, Kolton Vining. At one point, Vining, never one to waste unnecessary words exclaimed, “F-you Baby Mario!” The crowd was shocked into silence first, because no one had expected such language from the man from Maine and second, because Baby Mario was not a human controlled racer. The highlight was Nick Giles, another Mario Kart rookie, who provided the line that defined the night. As he hit the button on a Bullet Bill power up, he exclaimed, “Ohhhh! I’m a f*****g rocket!” His face showed a joy and surprise only Mario Kart can bring.
The top finishers of these heats, Boli, Mekkam, Lumbruno, and Vining, faced off to be the three men to represent Holt in the second round. From the start, Chuka and Ben were the class of the competition. Battling a blue shell onslaught, the duo had built commanding leads by mid cup. The drama was about who, Vining or Boli, would finish in third and claim the last birth in the second round. Going into the final race, the score was 17 to 18 favoring Vining. Simply put, the man who finished higher moved on. Vining hit on a starting burst to jump to a commanding lead. Boli snagged a golden mushroom to put himself back in contention. As the final lap progressed, the pair traded 3rd and 4th on multiple occasions. Heading into the final turn, a bomb blast forced Vining off the asphalt and slowed him just enough to see Boli slip in to claim the final spot in the second round. It was heart stopping drama.
Tonight, Mario Kart moves on Sly Resort and Spa. I would like to remind you all that it will not be “Sly Resort Casino” as friendly wagers for entertainment purposes only are expressly forbidden by the rules of the Mario Kart tournament. Jovial trash talk, however, is required by tournament rules. Can Sly match the passion and drama of the first round? Will Coach Whit and LeGendre (that’s Jordy’s last name) spring for pizza? Will anyone achieve the perfect “60” score? Many questions that can only be answered tonight in Sly.
Sylvester Hall (Sly Resort and Spa)
If there are two certainties at Bridgton Academy, the first is that the hill gets steeper as the year goes on, and the second is that Coach Whit’s guys bring the intensity! Last night, in Sylvester, the Sly boys did not disappoint.
In the time-honored tradition of Mario Kart, there were a great number of confident racers before the green flag dropped. And, as always, there were countless young men who caught the fever of nostalgic youth. Heat one saw that dynamic mix in action. Ed Upton brought his typical competitive drive and an insistence on manual drift to the race. He was matched in his drifting by our friend from north of the boarder, Franky Filato. Nick, don’t call me “Chris”, Dorain provided fine bowties and facial hair to an otherwise clean-shaven group. While three sport athlete Zac Boohaloufa, the Boofman himself, looked to show that his talents were not limited to athletic achievement. For those of you who remember, or were even alive during the 80s, you’ll note that Boof bears striking resemblance to “Charles in Charge” star Scott Baio. Early, it looked as if Ed’s grinding teeth and steely gaze would carry the day, but Boof, with fire in his words and ice water in his veins, guided Yoshi’s wild wing past numerous obstacles to place near the top. Coming into the last race of the heat, it was all up for grabs. Frank dashed the hopes of his competitors with a big win, a dose of Canadian kindness, a sailor’s propensity for foul language, and first place in the heat.
The second grouping was some of the closest racing of the tournament to date. Ben Antoine brought his great hair game to face off against newcomer Corban Teel, the West Coast cool of Dain Coddington, and red headed (he’d call it strawberry blonde) wonder Sam Williamson. The race played out in styles as contrasting as the competitors. Antoine and Coddington bounced around the standings as shells and grass took their toll. Teel, however, was captain consistency and never placed lower than 4th. Sam took the novel approach of battling the computer-controlled racers in the bottom of the pack, a strategy that ultimately cost him down the stretch. In the end, Ben narrowly squeaked out the top seed, edging Corban 41-40.
The Sly Resort finals brought out the best in Coach Whit’s guys. Boof, now so heated from his first heat and repetitive chest thumping, had removed his shirt to improve his aerodynamics. Ben adjusted his braids and jockeyed for a better seat. Frank, channeled his best Coach Warde impressions to fire himself up. Corban quietly pulled up his hoodie and announced it was go time. Out of the gate, it was clear that the class of the competition would be Ben and Corban. Corban took race one, but prematurely celebrated thinking the competition was over. His concentration broken, he opened the door for Ben as the racers headed to the tropical land of Shy Guy Beach. Ben dodged incoming bombs and the always feisty crabs to put himself back in command. Frank, the cool Canadian, unfamiliar with the beach environs, fell victim to a vicious attack of the crustaceans and put himself in a difficult place in the standings. Boof, now sweating profusely, was undone late in the race when Waluigi knocked him off his line and cost him valuable positions. The last straw for all was the pummeling that Frank took at Waluigi stadium while Corban, Boof, and Ben all secured top 5 finishes. Just as in karaoke, Frank finished the night dejected, disappointed, and a little bit heart broken. Frank, keep the faith, the maple syrup is always sweeter on the other side.
Tonight, the race rolls into Jillson, home of the best racer on staff, one Mr. Tim Atwood. Admittedly, his experience and expertise were on the N64, but you can’t underestimate the crafty vet’s skills. Will Jillson’s residents live up to the mythical reputation of their fearless dorm parent? Can Mateo shock the world again as he did during karaoke? Will Isaac Blake be able to see through his hair to race? Will Harrison break into sudden song? So much to see but only if you make to Jillson tonight!
Lydia Atwood, youngest heir to the Atwood racing legacy, made her Mario Kart debut. Her unflinching confidence and demeanor were an inspiration to the Wednesday night racers. Billy Martin kicked off the first heat with calculated aggression. He traded shells with power hitting catcher Ryan Turenne, currently red hot at the plate, and the long arms of reliever, Harrison Joslin. The quiet bearded man in the group, Nic Patuto, linebacker extraordinaire, completed the field. When the dust settled it was Patuto, unable to keep his tongue in his mouth as he raced, exceeding expectations again with a sound victory.
Heat two featured Spencer Pettingill redeeming the racer Toad after Jeff Wheeler had squarely placed the blame for his performance on the mushroomed one. Spencer had to fend of multiple attacks from the flame and shell throwing Trevor LaBonte. Matteo Avallone, his left-handedness a distinct disadvantage, contributed a workman’s effort guiding Peach trough the field while John Kumitis provided a challenge with his deft handling of Mario. In the end, no one could catch Spencer as he took the heat.
The third group was a cast of characters to say the least! Our Canadian lax bro, Adam Brown, emerged from his hibernation to join the fray. He was met by a strong challenge from Joe Relva’s magically enchanted hair and Jackson Sawyer’s statement that Mario Kart was, “one of my best games.” None, however, could match the calculated calm of Karaoke legend Jeremy Muench. In an unprecedented move, Mr. Math chose to race a Mii character that bore passing resemblance to yours truly in what had to have been a bit of psychological warfare meant to unnerve his competition. Mission accomplished, as Mr. Muench charged through his heat.
Patuto, Pettingill, and Joslin had their hands full meeting up with Mr. Muench in the finals. The first race set a shocking tone as all three student entrants finished in the top 4. The real surprise came when Mr. Muench was unable recapture the magic and fell to an improbable bottom finish. The lead proved insurmountable and Nic, Spencer, and Harrison moved on. The Jillson finals was without some of its star power as Mr. Atwood decided that dominating the event would have been unfair to the competition. Asked for comment, Mr. Atwood stayed classy stating, “you know, these event, as great as they are, well, they’re really about the kids. I’m just here for the kids.” A man of the people to the end.
After a day of raking and shoveling, the tournament found blistered hands but happy souls in Potter House Thursday afternoon. Potter, absent from last year’s competition due to a massive disqualification scandal (i.e. there were no students living in Potter), came back with honorable vengeance in the tournament this year. For those arguing that there are “only” 7 students in Potter so the odds are much easier, looking at you Mr. Muench, I can only say you have not seen Emmett Peoples race!
From the first race of the opening heat, Peoples was the dominant force in the room. Collin Krauth, erstwhile roommate and karaoke dynamo, may have Peoples by nearly 90 pounds, but it was Emmett who did all the heavy lifting. To his defense, Krauth faced on onslaught of question, tips, and suggestions from my oldest son while attempting to race. I can’t help but think his famous focus was disrupted by the endless talking of a 9 year boy. Neither Matt Farragher’s multi-sport talents, all the man does is score goals and rip base hits, nor my own unlimited access to the Wii, could match Emmett’s amazing run, and he moved effortlessly to the next round.
Heat two, the all hockey round, found roommates Tommy Marhoffer and Mathieu Doucet face teammate Ryan Mahoney and Coach Sam Scannell. In a heat that would have made Coach Warde proud, the hockey guys brought playoff intensity. Mahoney jumped out to an early lead with a great showing in race one. Doucet was a close second while Marhoffer seemed to garner special attention from the computer racers who pummeled him without remorse. Mr. Scannell, despite his mathematical talents and disregard for the team rule regarding facial hair, looked lost in the geometry of the race. Yet, come race two the boys found their stride. Hockey talents merged with racing for an epic conclusion. The boys went hard into the corners, checked the other racers right off the track, and went “bar down” on the competition. When the shift ended, Mahoney and Mr. Scannell were left standing for the final.
The Potter House final was a race against time as study hall quickly closed on us. Mahoney struggled out of the gate and took over Marhoffer’s role of computer punching bag. Mr. Scannell, however, found his footing drove hard toward the finish. His talents for racing were evident and it’s clear that this man plays his hockey in skate rather than roller blades. My own efforts were in vain as my small corner of the screen was filled with Peoples’ character driving away from me, that is, when I was actually close enough to see him. Emmett was able to achieve the vaunted “perfect round” winning all 4 races to clinch the top seed in the entire tournament. Mr. Scannell went on the power play to advance himself. The final Potter House spot came down to controversy that rocked the tournament. In a ruling sure to shape future generations of Bridgton Mario Kart Champions, I disqualified myself after it was revealed that I was actually a 2 person racing team. My precocious 2 year old, sitting with me during the races, and was truly the brains behind my performance providing me with an unfair advantage. Her valuable tips of “it’s my drink!” and “I spilled it” were deemed performance enhancing and could not be allowed. In the end, Mahoney earned the last spot and will move on in the tournament. There is no word from myself whether or not I will be protesting my own ruling.
What should not take a back seat to the scandal is that Peoples’ performance catapulted him into the top seed for the tournament. If it holds, that means huge implications. There is a distinct advantage to Peoples as the top 2 seeds host the second round of the tournament. Given that most students don’t know the secret location of Potter House, Peoples may move to the finals by default!
Thursday night moved the races to Mass Hall, home of the best dancing during the Karaoke Tournament. Could their moves carry the day? Would “the King” claim his crown? Could new man on campus Knoop play the role of spoiler? Could Ben Johnson control his racer using only a ukulele and a Go pro? Why so many questions? Off to the races!
The last races of the week were held Thursday night in Mass Hall’s eclectic common room. Where else on campus can you find a mix of a hockey jersey, disorganized chairs, the smell of popcorn, and an X box 360 brought into such Feng shui? Add in the intense sodium intake by Cullura and his ramen and you’ve got a winner! The art of the room is a testament to the love and devotion of Mr. Groves and Mr. Day, as well as the more recent additions of Mr. Marean.
Now, to the action. The first heat was a who’s who of Mass Hall. Local chapel celebrity Brendan Cullura took to the sticks against international sensation Charlie Badji, bearded wonder Scott Knoop, and the man with the best hockey flow on campus, Trevor Suydam. It was quickly apparent that this heat was going to be notable for two very different reasons. The first, was that Suydam was unchallenged throughout, dominating from start to finish. The second, was a record of a different sort. For the first time all tournament, a racer recorded a single digit score. Our multi lingual friend Charlie, couldn’t quite get the Mario machine rolling. To his credit he did earn more than 2 points a race over the four races. For those keeping score at home, that is an average finish of 11th out of 12. The highlight/lowlight of the heat was deep in Wario’s Goldmine, when Yoshi, piloted by Trevor, tore around the final turn to pass Charlie and put him a lap down. It was a testament to Trevor’s skill and motivation for Charlie to play more video games.
The second heat was a hard sell. While Ben Johnson, Jordan “the King” Enselmoz, and Ed Sullivan, Mass Hall not Hollywood, were game for the competition, a final opponent was hard to find. Johandy claimed a sore elbow, while TJ and Donavan were picking things up and putting them down. The situation called for drastic measures and I had to step in to fill out the race. It was quickly apparent that Sully had been spending too much of his time on school work, at least that’s what he’s telling his mom, and not enough prepping for the Wii. Ben remained his usual unphased whimsical self in the face of adversity. “The King,” however, provided all the entertainment. From the get go, language proved no barrier for our frisky, friendly Frenchman. Each shell was a personal attack on his being. A “POW” or “lightning cloud” elicited lengthy lectures on the etiquette to proper sportsmanship. After one particularly distracting “inking,” Jordan remarked, “ok, that is enough. Obviously, you are a fool and that is aggravating to all of us. You are a shellfish.” The crowd was momentarily silenced as such harsh and vicious language seemed uncouth in a gentlemanly match. At that point, Ali translated that Jordan had meant “selfish” and order was restored. As for the racing, it was a back and forth match between Johnson and Enselmoz. The two traded victories and top 5 finishes with Ben coming out on top 40 to 39, while both moved to the Mass Hall final heat.
In the dorm’s final draw, Trevor took first pick after his perfect round and selected Yoshi. Knoop, in a move he would come to regret, retained the services of Koopa Troopa on the bullet bike, while Jordan grabbed Mario. Ben, in a calculated move to unnerve the all-male room, went with Peach and her wild wing. After 4 straight victories, Trevor was the odds-on favorite in the grouping and his early racing did nothing to suggest otherwise. Despite what can only be described as a tsunami of blue shells (12 in an 8-race stretch!), Sudyam won the first two races. Yet, in race 3, “the King” held court. From on high, Jordan commanded from start to finish. Knoop’s frustration became apparent as his silence gave way to passionate cursing the likes of which would have made Mr. Day blush”¦if you could see under his beard. Not to be left behind, Johnson broke from the pack to grab a top 4 finish as well making the ultimate outcome a three-man race. When the dust settled, Trevor had placed first, followed by Jordan and Ben.
The opening round of the Mario Kart tournament came to an epic conclusion in Walker Hall Monday night. Enthusiasm was high, as it became apparent that Eduardo Alvala and Bryan Ramos had a rivalry that needed settling. While there may have been more racers in other dorms, the battles in Walker Hall were as competitive as it gets.
After a great deal of speculation, the first round dawned with a dream match. Javier Duran, the man with a quick laugh and B-hop in his soul, faced off against Kyerstan Casey’s aggressive wheel game, the quiet prankster Ryan Plentzas, and Max Klemm’s well permed hair. Casey jumped out to an aggressive lead in the first race. Klemm countered with a second lap for the ages that saw him escape the pack to challenge Casey. That’s when the honey mustard hit the fan for Javy. After zooming to an early lead at Shy Guy Beach, exploding cannonballs and feisty crabs were Duran’s undoing. His ire up, Javy retired in what can only be descried as the politest “rage quit” in the storied 2-year history of the Mario Kart challenge. Kyerstan, perhaps distracted by Javy’s departure, or the fact that he was attempting to text and drive, suffered a series of setbacks. With the door open, Klemm and Plentzas charged right through. In a move that will be talked about in Mario lore for years to come, Ryan hit the midway point of the last lap in a devastating 12th place. He skillfully strung together a golden mushroom, a triple mushroom, and a star to push him into contention. He followed with deft use of the red and blue shells to eliminate the competition. Finally, as the lap closed, he benefited from a Klemm crash to steal an improbable victory. This momentum carried him into the second round with Klemm.
Heat two was rivalry time. Ramos and Alvala brought the spice of the multilingual world to the commons. They were joined by crafty lefty tour guide Ryan Brown and international man of mystery Mo Khan. Mo, boasting an impressive array of Mario Kart accomplishments on the DS made a huge psychological gambit sniping Luigi from under the covetous gaze of Eduardo. The loss of his go to character showed early as Eduardo had to make due with Mario. Despite the side intrigue, the race was truly a battle of Ramos and Alvala. Though Brown put in a valiant effort, and Khan exerted multiple challenges, great run a Shy Guy, neither could match the skills of the Ramos – Alvala rivalry. Eduardo, easily the most vocal of the Mario Kart racers to date, repeatedly invited Ramos to join him at the front of the race. The hall resonated with the sounds of “where are you Baby Ramos? Come to the front and find me.” The silent assassin did just that. Ramos zipped through each race, finishing no lower than third, and ended the heat on top with an impressive score of 54.
The stage was now set for a final heat featuring Plentzas, Klemm, Ramos, and Alvala. The first race was a shell bath where Klemm was hit with a blitzkrieg of winged blue death. Though racing at a higher level than his opponents, Max had to content with a dedicated computer foe. Eduardo continued his own offensive against Bryan in an attempt to shake his confidence. There were even “blue shell” calls made when Ramos had slipped into the lead. Ramos could not be shaken. Even as Max and Eduardo traded first place finishes, Bryan never sunk lower than third. It was his consistency that gave him is final score and place in the regional round. Sadly, Plentzas was unable to recapture his first-round magic and he bid a fond goodbye to the tournament. Ramos, reached for comment after the end of the races, stated, “I was really disappointed in my second-round performance. I felt the way I was racing early, I was the man to beat.” Ramos does move on with Klemm and Alvala, but did not manage to capture the #2 seed to host.