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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Relays heats up Mac Field

Students participate in tug of war during Relays last Saturday, April 26. Photo contributed.

The Grinnell Relays was established in 1973 by Wayne Moyer, Political Science, along with a group of Grinnell students. From its outset, Relays has been an event designed to relieve stress as students approach the end of the spring semester. Ever since the event started, Moyer has been the master of ceremonies at Relays, giving a speech to officially start the event.

“People need something really different than academia, at least for a day or so, and Relays are, I think, helpful in getting people to relax for a little while,” Moyer said.

Moyer, who was out of town for a conference, was unable to attend Relays this year. Henry Rietz ’89, Religious Studies, came through in Moyer’s place and delivered a motivational opening speech. 

“As a student of religious studies, I recognize Relays as one of the important celebrations in the series of rites that help form the identity of Grinnellians,” Rietz wrote in an email to the S&B. “As such, I approached the profanely sacred event with profound (ir)reverence.”

Students participate in tug of war during Relays last Saturday, April 26. Photo contributed.
Students participate in tug of war during Relays last Saturday, April 26. Photo contributed.

According to co-chair of Relays Committee Hayes Gardner ’15, Rietz filled in very smoothly for Moyer.

“He took it in this great direction,” Gardner said. “He made this hyperbolic, almost sacred religious ritual about Relays and about the history of it.”

During the speech, SGA President Thomas Neil ’14 held a long stick with a toilet paper roll on one end as a torch to light a toilet on fire in traditional Relays fashion. Simultaneously, a pitcher of water was brought out, and Rietz proceeded to turn “water into beer.”

With 38 teams participating, the overall turnout this year far exceeded last year’s total of 15 competing teams. Co-chair Ryan Hautzinger ’15 attributed the increased turnout to extensive tabling by the Relays Committee.

Hautzinger and Gardner began planning for Relays over spring break in Florida. They thought previous Relays had been poorly organized, so they came in with the goal of improving organization.

“Usually it’s just an unorganized event and we wanted to get it more in line,” Hautzinger said.

On top of improved organization, Hautzinger and Gardner wanted Relays to be a fun event as well. According to the participants, the addition of a megaphone and written schedule made a huge difference.

“This year, the competition side of things was more fun because it was better organized,” said Natalie Richardson Gentil ’14, captain of the relay team “Haus of B.”

Like most participants, Richardson Gentil and her team went into Relays not to win, but to enjoy the day. Team preparation consisted of taking it easy the night before. 

“We knew we weren’t going to win,” Richardson Gentil said. “We just wanted to make sure we participated in all the activities and had fun.” 

“#Quad Chillin 69,” headed by Aaron Levin ’14, and “Team Brain Drain,” led by Steph Haines ’14, were tied for first place with 15 points each.

“They had a lot of speed, a lot of strength and a lot of coordination,” Gardner said.

Achieving success at Relays is not limited to being fast and strong. Teams can also be awarded in other areas. “Team Bunny Haus,” headed by Delia Salomon ’14, is a case in point. 

“We had a depth ranking system,” Hautzinger said. “Our judges ranked first the teams that won, the teams that got last place and the teams that f***ed up the best. Bunny Haus got third place because they did the best job f***ing up,” Hautzinger said. 

Moving forward, Hautzinger wants to bring new events to Relays while Gardner would like to see 500 people participate. Gardner said he hopes that the good turnout and overall success of this year’s Relays will help achieve their goal moving forward.

“Hopefully we will branch out to all demographics on campus so everyone wants to join it and compete,” Gardner said.

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