By: Dalet Valles
Published By: The Chimes Newspaper
The majority of the Biola campus filled with zeal as students made their way to Chase Gymnasium for one of the university’s biggest traditions — Nationball. The Biola tradition is a huge dodgeball tournament against dorms, off-campus+community(OCC). The gym filled up with many students full of anticipation and hopes to be crowned 2022 Nationball Champion.
Once the effects of the pandemic hit campus, the annual tradition took a two-year hiatus. Last night’s Nationball game brought together both students in their last year as well as students who are experiencing it for the first time. The Office of Campus Engagement planned the event and coordinated the experience that many students have been anticipating since 2019.
“To be able to see it actually come to life this year the way we intended it to be, it feels so good to see everyone be so hyped for this tradition to come back,” said Mattelyn Giannandrea, Intramural Coordinator for OCE and senior psychology major. “[OCC] usually wipes the floor, but we will see. I see a lot of energy out here.”
The spirit of the competition filled the room as the games began. Though one’s pride in their colors may have set teams apart, the tradition brought many together once again.
“This is my last Nationball; second one ever because of COVID,” said Dominique Kirton, senior public relations and strategic communications major, who was part of the off-campus commuter team. “I am excited we are going to win and it is going to be so fun.”
As the tightly packed gym echoed with chants for each team, hosts John Butler and Rob Prioleau kicked off the night of dodgeball. Savannah Richards, a music major, started the night by singing the National Anthem, during which many students yelled with excitement and pride. As the game was introduced, student referees CJ Waterman, Zanen Zeller, Arturo Infante II and Maximo Milovich made tough decisions that kept a fair and safe game.
ROUND IT UP
StewHart and Horton battled each other in the first round of the night. To even out team sizes as best as possible, Stewart and Hart dorms are combined, ultimately creating StewHart. Any bystander would have thought Horton would reign supreme in this round, yet they succumbed to defeat. Horton was the first team to fall.
OCC, the 2019 champions, faced Hope, hoping to defend their championship. Waves of purple and pink flooded the center of the gym, wasting no time in launching dodgeballs. Hope dethroned OCC and triumphantly advanced to the next round.
Next to face-off were Alpha and Sigma. The all-women dorm stood its ground for the majority of the match. However, when the buzzer went off, Sigma defeated Alpha and progressed to the next round.
Blackstone and StewHart faced each other in the next battle. The tension filled the atmosphere as the clock ticked away and members of each team made their way back to their sections on the bleachers. As the match closed, the crowd and both teams anticipated StewHart’s victory. It became a shocking turn when the MCs of the night announced a tie. Only one team could make it to the next round, so Butler and Prioleau issued a tie-breaker. It was neck and neck, but Blackstone was eventually named winner of the round.
The top two teams, Blackstone and Hope, competed against each other in the final, nail-biting round. Blackstone was losing people quicker than Hope, so many predicted that Hope would take the big win. As the round neared the end, however, the size of both teams had decreased a good deal. Once the final round ended, the MCs announced the team that would be taking the championship all the way home. Blackstone became the 2022 Nationball Champions.
Exuberant waves of green ran to the center of Chase Gymnasium to celebrate the recently announced victory. Even members of other teams joined in on the celebrations, hugging one another and chanting out the name Blackstone. The victorious festivities continued as Blackstone paraded their trophy.
“It was truly an amazing feeling to take the trophy back to Blackstone together,” said Ryan Wingert, senior political science major. “The environment in Blackstone a day later is amazing.”
The last time Blackstone won the Nationball championship was in 2018. Though the team failed to win the trophy in 2019, Blackstone celebrated by bringing the trophy back to their dorm.
“It feels really good,” said Benjamin Chi, junior business marketing management major. “Blackstone has a winning culture. I am glad we were able to bring back the championship.”