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St. Patrick’s Day kicks off March Madness

Elizabeth Kuhn | Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Student Activities held its first-ever basketball shootout competition in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of March Madness Monday on the Fieldhouse Mall. Students lined up to shoot free throws and 3-pointers in hopes of winning a private NCAA Championship party in the LaFortune Ballroom for themselves and 25 friends.

“We just wanted to offer the students a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the men’s and women’s basketball teams, who have done so well this year,” said Erin Sekerek, the Student Programs Coordinator at the Student Activities Office. “We thought this would be a perfect way, especially since the women’s selection show is tonight.”

The shootout, which was organized by the Student Activities Programming team, began at 4 p.m., with participants attempting five shots from the free-throw line and three shots from the 3-point line.

The real challenge began at 8 p.m. with an intense game of knockout for all students who had qualified by making 10 out of the possible 14 points. The winner of this game would then take home the grand prize of the private, catered party on April 7.

Students also received free food and St. Patrick’s Day paraphernalia that Student Activities was passing out, from green necklaces to buttons that said “Worlds Cutest Leprechaun.”

Despite the cold and cloudy weather that turned into snow and sleet around 5 p.m., Sekerek said they had a good turnout.

“We were packed the first half hour, and people have been trickling in since then,” Sekerak said.

The contestants ranged in skill and commitment, with some picking up a basketball for their first time ever and others sinking shots with no problem at all.

Junior Liz Pike and a friend tried their best to gain the coveted 10 points despite their lack of experience.

“It’s cold to be out here, but definitely worth it,” she said.

Other players took the game much more seriously, showing off skills they had perfected in hours of practice. Celebrating after dropping his tenth point, Sophomore Bryan Hayes looked toward the future.

“I just want to show scouts out there that I’m for real,” he said.

SAO interns Camille Gabriel and Kyle Chamberlain, who have worked on the project since its initial proposal, agreed: “It’s entertaining, to say the least