Class of 2020 fundraisers “spike” with new tournament

Kuo, Cielecki win Spikeball tournament 15-13 in final match

Colin Martin

During the first half of lunch on Thursday, Sept. 20, the Class of 2020 held its first event of the year: a school-wide Spikeball tournament. The tournament featured a bracket of 16 pairs competing in a single elimination tournament and offered a grand prize of $20 in the form of Starbucks gift cards.

Teams met outside on the grass at 10:45 to begin first round action, which included pairs of freshmen, sophomores and juniors of varying skill levels. From the beginning, it was clear that certain teams had more experience than others.

Junior Vaughn Battista of Tinton Falls didn’t come into the tournament with big expectations for himself and his partner, classmate Jack Hester of Oceanport.

“I mean, I’m terrible at spikeball but I was happy to play,” Battista said.

The two lost in the first round to the junior pair Christian Falcone of Allenhurst and RJ Franzen of Allentown.

For some, the tournament was a way to have a good time with friends free from the competition of daily school life. But for others, revenge was on the mind. After a first round exit, sophomores Jake Polvino of Tinton Falls and Jayden Thomas of Marlboro felt they deserved a second chance.

“I definitely need redemption,” Polvino said when asked about his defeat.

The tournament concluded with a shootout between two powerhouse teams: juniors Evan Kuo of Tinton Falls and Mike Cielecki of Spring Lake Heights facing off against junior Brian Schade, also of Tinton Falls, who partnered up with sophomore Ethan Hecht of Wall. As lunch drew to a close, The Kuo-Cielecki partnership clinched the victory 15-13 after several rounds of overtime.

Hecht said of his tournament experience: “The tournament was extraordinary and the final game was wild.”

Class of 2020 president Caelin Burgi of Matawan said the tournament was “a really good way to start the year off.”

“It was definitely a lot of work,” Burgi said, “but in the end it was so gratifying to see it come together and be a really fun event that people enjoyed.”

The CHS Spikeball tournament found a bit of fun for everyone, whether that fun was competing, or hanging around with friends. Prize money will be distributed to the victors as soon as possible.