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SMC canoe race builds community

Hayley Miller | Wednesday, September 19, 2012

As a part of Spirit Week festivities, Saint Mary’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) sponsored a canoe race Wednesday afternoon for SMC students to earn spirit points toward the “Hall of the Year” distinction for their dorm. This third annual event took place on Lake Marion, located at the center of campus.

Junior Emily Murphy, national communications coordinator for RHA, said the event is intended to promote camaraderie among Saint Mary’s students.

“We have Spirit Week to promote hall bonding and to increase the spirit of the different residence halls,” Murphy said. “We want to have pride not only in our class, but also [in] where we live.”

RHA sponsored students to rent canoes from St. Joseph County Parks at a discount, Murphy said, and those with the best rowing skills won recognition for their dorm.

“‘Spirit Points’ will be given to the different residence halls throughout the week based on [their] resident’s enthusiasm and participation in the events,” Murphy said before the race. “At the end of Spirit Week the points will be tallied and whichever residence hall collected the most points will be named ‘Hall of the Year.'”

Duos competed in the regatta, which took the form of a tournament, Murphy said.

Before the race, junior Katherine Wabler said she sought to regain the championship title she won freshman year.  

“We are going to have to work out our arms before the race so they are in prime condition for rhythmic rowing,” Wabler said.  

Wabler’s partner, Shanlynn Bias, said teamwork is important.

“Communication and synchronization is the key to victory,” Bias said.    

Classmate and rowing rival, Kirsten Bonnesen, said she competed with teammate Helene Tarnacki as one of the other 11 teams up against Wabler and Bias.  

“Our confidence as first-time rowers is very high,” Bonnesen said.  “There will be some intense competition, but our eyes are on the prize.”  

The first place team, consisting of Julienne DeLee and Krista Mathews from LeMans Hall, won $25 gift cards to Target.

Spirit Week will conclude Friday with the first home meet in seven years for the SMC cross country team.  

“We will be handing out free T-shirts, and would like to encourage everyone to come and show their support,” Murphy said.  

The meet will begin 6 p.m. Friday at the Saint Mary’s soccer fields.