Dodge ball tournament raises money for heart research

Rebecca Coleman / Sun Star Reporter
April 26, 2011

The UAF Athletics department hosted a dodge ball tournament in the Patty Center on Saturday, April 23 as a fundraiser for the Fairbanks Heart Walk, which will take place May 14. Each team paid a $100 entrance fee for the double-elimination tournament, which all went to supporting UAF’s Heart Walk teams.

“There are a lot of big-name companies that really get into it,” said Erik Ofelt, the event’s coordinator.  “Everyone has a lot of fun and it’s all for charity.”

In addition to numerous university groups, teams came from all around Fairbanks, including the Fairbanks Fire Department, Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), Odom Corporation, First National Bank, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital as well as random groups not affiliated with a company.  GVEA was last year’s winner, so Ofelt anticipated that they would be the targets this year.  However, the GVEA “Shockers” went out fairly early.

The winning team, “Balls on Ya,” was one of the teams not associated with a company.  They showed up on the court looking like a competitive team, both in skill and in uniform.  “We went to Sports Authority and picked out matching gear,” said Colin Foote, a UAF student.  “We were trying to look professional and let everyone know that we mean business.”  They took their dodge ball seriously, usually winning their games with all of their players still on the court.  They won one of their games in 30 seconds, which was Foote’s favorite moment of the tournament.

Even though there wasn’t a UAF-associated team in the finals, UAF was well represented.  “Team Awesome,” a team made up of a few SRC employees and some of their gym buddies, placed third.  They dominated the loser’s bracket, but their last three games were all played consecutively with no breaks in between, so they were exhausted, said senior Raleigh Bartholomew.  They almost beat “Jim Bean” to move on to the championships, but came up short.

“We are kind of a Cinderella story,” Bartholomew said.  “Three of our players dropped out at the last minute and we had to reestablish our team.  We didn’t think we’d come as far as we did.”  Bartholomew also sang the national anthem at the beginning of the tournament, a first for the event.

UAF had five teams in the dodge ball tournament, and will have 15 teams participating in this year’s Heart Walk.  So far, there are 154 UAF-associated walkers, and UAF is the leading organization in terms of money raised with $28,593.  Each year, the Fairbanks Heart Walk raises about $200,000.

Another fundraiser for UAF’s Athletics and Campus Recreation Hearth Walk team will be a $10 Zumba event in the SRC at 6 p.m. on May 6.  If you would like to help fund or join one of UAF’s teams, check out the group page on the Heart Walk’s website,

The Heart Walk is put on by the American Heart Association, which is the second largest funding source for anything research-related in the area of cardiovascular diseases, according to Janet Bartels, the regional director.  UAF has a long-standing relationship with the American Heart Association and has received close to $1 million for stroke and cardiovascular research, Bartels said.

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