All photos by Daniel O'Toole.
After shutting down most activities for the Adventure Club at Malden High, the club has bounced back and is ready to remind everyone what they can do.
Before the start of the pandemic, Malden High's Adventure Club was run by Erin Craven, but she has since dropped the advisor role and it been picked up by Sarah Jones and Shauna Campbell. As their first event of the school year, the club decided to host a dodgeball tournament which was open to all students and staff members.
Victoria Loreus, a senior in the Adventure Club, was interested in joining the club since she likes “traveling and I like learning more about the world and the fact that the school offers an opportunity to do that to Puerto Rico. I took the chance, you know, and now I get to share an experience with my other classmates and get close and know more people in the school that I may have not had otherwise.” The Adventure Club is working alongside the Travel Club, which has a trip planned for this upcoming spring to Puerto Rico. The dodgeball tournament was created to help raise money to lower ticket prices for students who are interested in going.
When asked about more of what the club does, Loreus responded, “most of the meetings we have, we just get to know about each other more because of the upcoming trip to Puerto Rico and the fact we are going to be around each other for a week, so creating bonds with each other to be on a close first name basis is something we all want to have.”
The tournament was held after school on November 9th in the gym with contestants either paying $20 to form their own team or $5 to join solo and get grouped into a random team. The tournament consisted of seven teams: the Burgah Boys, the Dodgefathers, MTEC, Computer Club, Bloodline, Frigo’s Federation of the Feared, and THEE Team. Each team would get two losses before they would be eliminated from the tournament and after their first loss, they would get sent to the losers’ bracket. The team who won that game would be sent back to the original bracket until their second loss which resulted in the team being eliminated. The winners of the tournament would receive the honor of having their team’s name placed on the trophy, which was created by Jones.
At the beginning of the event, Campbell explained the rules of the game which included two courts with two games going on at the same time, a “no throw zone”, no headshots, and going out of bounds in your court would result in the player getting out. Then, the first round of games would commence with the Dodgefathers taking on THEE Team and Bloodline going against Computer Club. The Dodgefathers and Computer Club would both win their respective games with the final game of the round being played between MTEC and Frigo’s Federation of the Feared, with Frigo’s Federation of the Feared taking the close game after John Frigo would take out the last player in a one on one situation.
The first game of the loser’s bracket would be played between MTEC and THEE Team with Bloodline given a round off to play in the next round of the loser’s bracket. THEE Team would hang on for as long as they could, but MTEC was able to knock them off and out of the tournament.
The opening games of the second round were highlighted by the dominance of the Burgah Boys and the Dodgefathers as the two teams faced Computer Club and Frigo’s Federation of the Feared respectively. The Burgah Boys ended their game with only two players still out and the Dodgefathers only missing one player from the court. The games of the loser’s bracket would feature Frigo’s Federation of the Feared battling Bloodline and Computer Club combating MTEC. The winners of these two games would determine the two teams that would fight for the third seed in the finals, so the stakes were starting to get high. The rest Bloodline was given seemed to get them a little rusty as they fell to Frigo’s Federation of the Feared and MTEC was able to shake Computer Club off them and advanced for a chance at securing the third seed.
In the third round, the spectators were treated to an amazing game between the two powerhouses of the tournament, the Burgah Boys and the Dodgefathers. Despite some phenomenal play from the Burgah Boys, the Dodgefathers were too much for them to handle and now they had to play MTEC to get their second chance against the Dodgefathers. Without much rest for the Burgah Boys, they fought through exhaustion to punch their ticket into the finals in a rematch against the Dodgefathers.
At long last, the tournament hit the final round and the end of this matchup would allow for a champion to be named. The game was very close, as both teams made it this far through coordination and collaboration, and they were able to execute plans that required everyone to be on the same page. Unfortunately for the Dodgefathers, some mistakes were made and left senior Naveen Nemalapuri to go against juniors Jake Simpson and Ryan Coggswell alongside sophomore Robert Stead. Time would run out in the game and since the Burgah Boys had more players on the court, they took the game. Since the Dodgefathers had not lost a game at that point, another game would be played to determine the winner.
After both teams got a quick water break and would discuss gameplans, they both came out with one thing on their minds: being able to hoist that trophy. Unlike the game before, both teams kept the game neck-and-neck, trading blow for blow and it came down to a one-on-one. Despite a fantastic effort from both teams, senior Tarik Kurtagic got the game-sealing hit and won the tournament for the Dodgefathers.
Nemalapuri thought, “winning this event was crazy. We had the expectation to come here and win. We are the ‘godfathers’ and we came here to win and that is exactly what we did.” Nemalapuri’s teammate, senior Adam Khalki said how “I am happy to be here. I am here with my team. We have Simon Pham, Tarik Kurtagic, Nimon Jusufi, and Naveen Nemalapuri, with the latter two really putting their heart out on the court. They left everything out there and that is what got us to win.”
The group of boys was all encouraged by Mr. Valente after he got them to “represent the Maldonian and the yearbook staff,” and made sure to “thank our coaches Peyton Lightbody and Jianna Downey.” Nemalapuri added, “The group of guys have great team chemistry and we love to do things outside of our comfort zone, and this was one of them.”
In Khalki’s opinion, “the tournament was a great success,” at driving attention and getting involvement from the school since “there were a lot of teams here, a lot of spectators you know, it was all fun for everybody watching.” Nemalapuri echoed these thoughts, saying “you could just see it in the crowd, the crowd was massive today. We had great people come to watch a lot of great teams, but we were one of the better ones. Even more events like this would be really fun to do to get everyone involved just like how we did today.”
“It was the students’ idea to host this fundraiser since they thought it would be a great way to attract a lot of people which would in turn help get more funds,” said Ms. Campbell, which proved to be true based on the attendance from spectators and players. However, Campbell stated that she believes “not many people knew about it, but the people that did got excited about it which still helped get a good sized crowd as they brought their friends to come watch.”
Due to the difficulties of being able to host large and involved events such as tournaments from a safety standpoint, Campbell thinks it is “definitely easier, I think in general to host events than to sell something in terms of a fundraiser because people like to enjoy themselves,” since “last year was the first time we were all really back in the building, and I think people are hanging around more and want to do more extra activities.”
On the future of the Adventure Club, Campbell noted that “we are going to host the student versus faculty basketball game like we usually do,” so be on the lookout for that when details come out later in the year.