Sep 182008
Authors: Jim Sojourner

Faces glistened with sweat as the gladiators stood precariously on wobbling platforms. Expressions contorted into grimaces as each man raised his padded weapon and took aim at his opponent’s head, hoping for the blow that would send his competitor to the inflatable floor below.

Emotions ran high at the American Gladiator-style inspired competition that took place on the Lory Student Center Plaza Thursday afternoon.

“Obviously Delt will dominate. It’s just a matter of who my opponent is,” Alex Avila of Delta Tau Delta said moments before he and his gloats were smashed, face first, to the floor in the opening round.

“Victory!” came the cry from champion Alex Griffin of Sigma Phi Epsilon as he struck a pose resembling Richard Nixon’s famous resignation stance, after his 4-3 victory in the finals.

A total of eight fraternities took part in the gladiator competition, one of 10 events scheduled for this week as part of the inaugural CSU Fraternity Decathlon.

Bijah Gibson, vice president of public relations for the Interfraternity Council, said 13 chapters are competing in the decathlon, which aims to promote unity among all the Greek houses.

“People think the houses hate each other. Really we’re all people trying to get the most out of the college experience,” Gibson said. “It’s been a pretty exciting atmosphere.”

“It’s all fun and games, but it brings out the competitive spirit of everybody,” said Tom Murphy, Delta Chi Fraternity’s gladiator. “It ties in the Greek community.”

The competition began last Saturday morning with a golf tournament that took place at City Park Nine course in Fort Collins. Later that night, a competition inspired by TV show “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader” took place at the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house.

Fraternities also competed in two events Sunday. The first was a 100-meter swimming race at the CSU auxiliary gym, and the second was a tug-of-war competition on the intramural fields.

“Swimming was really, really tough,” said Mike Rager, president of the Interfraternity Council.

Tuesday evening, fraternities competed in a three-on-three basketball tournament on the outdoor basketball courts in front of the CSU Recreation Center.

A Halo tournament was initially scheduled in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom Wednesday night, but was cancelled due to a lack of equipment.

A wing eating competition is scheduled to take place on the lawn between the Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity houses Friday at 5 p.m.

“If nothing else, it will be funny to watch,” Gibson said about the wing eating.

The decathlon will finish up Sunday at the Jack Christensen Memorial Track off of College Avenue. Events will include a one-mile run, a 100-meter sprint, and a push-up and pull-up competition.

“Track’s going to be insane,” Rager said.

Fraternities entered one competitor or team apiece for each of the 10 events. Each fraternity was required to make a monetary contribution to compete. Rager said the amount varied, depending on the size of the fraternity.

Rager said points are given for placing in each competition: 1,500 for first place; 1,200 for second; 1,100 for third and so on, in 100-point increments.

At the end of the week, the victorious fraternity will receive a 4-foot trophy, which will travel to the winning chapter each year. The fraternity will donate half of the money raised by entry fees to the charity of its choice.

The other half of the entry fee money will go to the sorority that attends the most decathlon events for a donation to a charity of the sorority’s choice as well.

Although Rager said Sigma Phi Epsilon is currently leading the decathlon, Avila said he is confident that Delta Tau Delta is going to pull out a win.

“We’re just a dominating fraternity. We’re in it to win it.”

Staff writer Jim Sojourner can be reached at

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