Let the Games Begin President's Cup brings fun and fierce competition to unite tritons

It was a moment that would change the games’ history forever.

As David Okada, Chief Planning Officer and co-creator of the Annual President’s Cup Competition called out the names of this year’s winners, the room quickly shifted from dead silence to a cacophonous roar.

First time participants the Pohnpei Student Organization (PSO) placed first overall in the Fifth Annual President’s Cup Competition as announced during the awards ceremony held March 17.

PSO Wins: Members of the Pohnpei Student Organization team pose next to the President’s Cup Competition trophy on March 17. Standing left to right: Floriano Ponopart, Elua Hyromi Mori, Vaniger Poll, and Lian Joseph. Sitting left to right: Nathaniel Nanoto, Ivenglynn Andon,and Judy Wilbur.

“It’s the way we communicate and the way we play together as well as hearing our friends cheer for us that made us work hard,” said Ivenglynn Andon, a senior exercise science major and co-team captain of PSO.

For the last four years, an ROTC team earned first place. This year, the ROTC Savages and Marine Lab’s Bad News Barracudas tied for second place. The Oh Set Tritons, an alumni team, placed third.

“We really want people in our school and the community to know about our positive capabilities,” said Noriekka Lekka, a senior social work major and co-captain of PSO. “We’ll definitely be back next year.”

History of the Games

Jonas Macapinlac, Director of Integrated Marketing Communication and co-creator, said the President’s Cup was made to get students and employees more involved in the Charter Day festivities.

“We wanted to generate more excitement for Charter Day,” Macapinlac said. “And of course, we wanted an activity where students, alumni, and employees from across the campus came together for friendly competition.”

But the games have seen a lot of changes since the first year.

Held on Charter Day in 2013, two-teams, employees vs. students, battled it out in events such as dodge ball, tug-of-war, and a pie-eating contest for the 1st Annual President’s Cup Competition.

In the years to follow, events were added and dropped, including ROTC EST and golf. This year, the games were shaved down to 8 events with 15 teams competing for the title and trophy.

Over the years, events such as Pie Eating Contest, Golf, Wildcard Challenges, and Trivia Competitions have made their way into the games.

The most interesting event just happened to be the one most shrouded in mystery, Macapinlac said. The purpose of the “Wild Card” event is to have a secret event that competitors can’t prepare for. Despite the different skill sets of our competitors, the Wild Card helps even the playing field, he said.

Added in 2015, the first WildCard was a relay race/obstacle course originally called the “Triton Challenge.” A year later, the Wild Card event became a trivia game night.

The brainchild of UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood, this year’s Wild Card event was the Knockerball Challenge. Teams donned plastic orbs and tried to knock opponents out of the Triton Arena in a certain amount of time.

“Despite the secrecy, I guessed early on what the Wild Card event was,” said Assistant Instructor Mike Herreros who served as the Oh Set Tritons team captain this year. “But I still loved the event! I know a lot of people always enjoy the Wild Card events.”

Teams compete in a battle of brawn during the 5th Annual President's Cup Competition's Wildcard Knocker Ball event on Charter Day 2017.

Diversity of Teams

One goal of the games is to unite Tritons from all over. Students from all degree programs and organizations participate. Alumni, faculty and staff also create teams, which bring another element of fun and competition to the events as well, Macapinlac said.

Erjohn Guiking, a senior mathematics major and team captain of EMC^2, said it’s the third year their club has competed. Guiking said they want to participate as much as possible in UOG activities, and since EMC^2 had fun at the last President’s Cup, they wanted to do it again.

There were also a few new teams to participate this year. Mark Canovas, a senior business administration major concentrating in Human Resource Management and team captain of Gang Green, said his team’s goal was to have fun and meet other Tritons.

Lekka said he became interested in joining ever since he enrolled at the University in 2014. His club joined to have fun, hopefully to evelop skills and knowledge from playing, and to be recognized.

“Even though there are ups and downs, we still play united as a team,” Lekka said. “We want to show everyone what they are capable of and that we also have that same capability.”

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