Nour Khayat, Staff Writer

UHS hosted its first Unilympics since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning with an opening ceremony on Feb. 7 and ending with a game of dodgeball on Feb. 11. 

ASB has historically planned this event, and this year, the games included futsal, a scavenger hunt, basketball, and dodgeball. 

Unilympics is a school-wide competition between classes in which teams comprised of players from each grade level are assembled. The results of Unilympics are based on class spirit, class posters, and the results from each of the four games played throughout the week.

The Unilympics time period coincided with the start of the official 2022 Winter Olympic Games hosted in Beijing, China, from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20.

In past years, video games were included in the competition, but for this year’s Unilympics, video games were removed and replaced with a more inclusive sports activity. 

“There was a higher demand for basketball in the mix and video games are harder to get people involved with only having two controllers,” Senior Class Vice President Karim Galal said. “It was also a lot about involvement for Unilympics, and an activity like basketball or dodgeball was much easier to have. We had a poll for the senior council to choose which activities were the best choice.”

Sophomore Vice President Jesse Neidwick also spoke on ASB’s planning process for the games. 

“A big part of the planning was gaining participation. A big part for sophomores was getting people interested since sophomores have not had Unilympics yet. It was difficult to know how to spread the word and encourage many sophomores to join. I knew the people who would want to play, but it was interesting to see who else would want to participate,” Neidwick said. 

Competitors for the games signed up for the activities via a Google form provided by ASB. After students signed up, players for the teams were voted on by their classmates to finalize the team. 

Senior Jackson Zambo was one of the students selected to play on the senior basketball team. 

“Even though it’s competitive, Unilympics is a fun experience and brings together the different classes. Since my friends and I play basketball, we decided to participate,” Zambo said.

Sophomore Ayden Agahi participated in the games to spend time with his friends.

“I chose to participate because I thought it would be a fun way to hang out with friends and engage with the entire sophomore class,” Agahi said. 

The games began with an opening ceremony in the crossroads on Monday, Feb. 7, where senior and ASB Spirit and Rally Commissioner Kody Alarcon, Club Commissioner Quinlan Tobin, and member Wyatt Mackellar performed the introduction to the competition wearing makeshift togas. Barricades closed off the stage for the ASB members, with the outside being surrounded by students separated by class levels. Tobin gave a speech periodically as the competition participants were introduced and a game of musical chairs was played amongst the grade levels to receive points. 

The second day of Unilympics consisted of a scavenger hunt, where grade levels competed again to receive points for their class and was a precursor to the start of the official games the following day. 

The third day of Unilympics was the futsal game, similar to indoor soccer, which was played in the main gym during the lunch period. The teams consisted of seven players. To start, the seniors played the sophomores and the juniors played the freshman in a ten-minute period. The winners of each matchup would then play each other for the first and second placements, and the losers would play each other for the third and fourth placements. 

The fourth and fifth day consisted of the basketball and dodgeball games where classes competed once again and the seniors took first place in both. The basketball game had eight players for each team and the dodgeball game had twenty players for each team. 

Some students believed there was some favoritism amongst the classes and unfair rules in the games, preferring some changes to the games’ setup. However, most students were pleased with the experience.  

“Overall, I am happy with the setup and rules. Although, the games do seem very short. The games were fair and there was no major bias towards one grade or another,” Zambo said. 

Other players like Agahi thought that the referee methods for the games could be improved. 

“The games were all set up pretty well except for the refs. I thought they could’ve been a bit better with their calls,” Agahi said.  

“It definitely wasn’t rigged,” Spanish teacher and ASB advisor Señora Michelle Fox said. 

Along with the many students interested in competing in the games, the Unilympics attracted a large number of students from each class who came to support and cheer on their teams with posters. ASB also hosted a workshop the weekend before the games where posters and jerseys were made for the team members. 

“The senior class is a very connected student body, having all the athletes there, and creating a more enjoyable experience for people. We hosted a workshop, made posters, jerseys, and posted on the Instagram page, which was a great way to get people interested in the fun experience,” senior Hunter Jue said. 

Neidwick speaks about the experience for the sophomore class at Unilympics.

“For futsal, I was a little bit surprised. Once we beat the seniors, I was proud of the team. We had someone step in to be a goalie, and he did great. Soccer was the first game and we won it, so it gave us some pride. The basketball team was very committed and their effort was there, dodgeball had its difficulties. But at least we came in third!”

The high turnout of the competition surprised many of the ASB members with its success. 

At the end of the week, the senior class came in first place, junior class in second place, sophomore class in third place, and the freshman class in last place.