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President's Cup race heating up as school year reaches its end

By Justin Chang     4/11/16 10:14pm

The President’s Cup pits all 11 colleges and their intramural sports teams against each other. Over the course of each year, Rice’s residential colleges put together their finest athletes and send them off to compete in intramural sports from basketball to billiards. The winners and runners-up in each sport earn points toward the cup for their college; the college with the most points receives the grand prize of the coveted President’s Cup. The colleges have a vested interest in securing bragging rights for the next year and a further step to claiming definitive rights as the best college ever.

This year, some colleges are giving it their all to win the cup. Brown College, which currently holds sixth place in the college standings (seventh without freshman points), hasn’t won the President’s Cup since 2002. Yet according to sports committee heads Deeksha Madala and Benjamin Jefferson, Brown is confident that this could be their year.

“With so many teams in the playoffs, if anything the possibility of winning is increasing the spirit of the college,” they said. “Considering our current standings and our performance in the past few years, the general student body may be a little surprised.”

As the possibility of a championship remains, Madala and Jefferson use the President’s Cup as an incentive to push Brown to compete even harder.

“We try our best to make it well-known to the college and to use it as a motivator to get everyone involved,” they said.

For a college where an estimated quarter of the students participate in college IM sports, winning the cup for the first time in 14 years would be a large-scale effort.

At other colleges, particularly the newest ones, the President’s Cup hasn’t sent students into the same fervor. McMurtry College currently ranks eighth in the overall standings, and as far as they’re concerned, they have little problem trailing far behind. McMurtry freshman Kunqian Li, a member of McMurtry’s championship freshman basketball team, said that the President’s Cup was not a motivating factor for him.

“It definitely wasn’t on our minds,” Li said. “We enjoyed winning but the cup wasn’t a big factor.”

McMurtry has yet to win the championship trophy in its history; without the illustrious athletic background that other colleges have, students there perhaps have less interest in the competition than those at other colleges.

Of course, the President’s Cup doesn’t need to be the center of attention; it’s just a fun way to get the colleges involved in IM sports, with a shiny new trophy as a particular incentive. As IM sports wrap up for the year, and as workloads begin to accelerate for the end-of-year crunch, the President’s Cup could further be jostled from people’s memories. Still, the competition moves forward as a time-honored tradition, and this year’s winner shall soon receive its rightful crown. 

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