Glowing in Green

Saturday, September 09, 2017 - By: Hannah R, Mackenzie ‘18; Photo by Virginia W, Mackenzie '18

The second event that counts towards the running tally, Eco-Challenge provides new and returning students alike a chance to show their grit. Essentially interhouse outdoor pursuits, the event is organized as a giant, multi-skill relay race, with components such as canoeing, portaging, shelter building, kayaking, and running. It is also the first time that the entire school participates in a fun, competitive activity together.

The excitement level was high as Mrs Olszewski counted down and four stand-up paddleboards pushed off the beach. The challenge part of Eco-Challenge quickly became apparent to them as, trying not to fall into the water, they climbed through hula-hoops strung above the water and back onto their boards to continue paddling.

Paddle boards tagged off to double sea kayaks, who passed the baton to canoes. As some canoe pairs were comically uncoordinated, the gap between house teams widened: despite the incredible speed of Madison H, Hope ’18, Hope/Privett was left behind the other three houses as the shelter building challenge began.

A mighty shove from the shelter builders sent single kayakers on their way. A recent addition to the single kayak component, all paddlers had to complete a wet exit at the end of their course. This year, for the first time, there was also the option of a skill bonus: if your house’s paddler had learned, practiced, and was able to complete a roll, they could. Rolling saves considerable time, as there is no need to empty the boat before the second paddler can leave the dock.

As soon as the second single kayaker flipped underwater to do their wet exit, swimmers dove in to complete the final portion of the relay. Mackenzie/Ellis’s swimmers were speedy, maintaining the house’s lead even though they were issued a penalty for a slip-up in tagging off.

An archway of green and yellow-clad supporters led the two MackEllis swimmers from the dock to the boathouse, where a bell was hung. To win the Eco-Challenge, the two swimmers from a house must be first to ring this bell together; for the second year in a row, Mackenzie/Ellis – the most recent winners of the Interhouse trophy – reached it long before any other house.

Heading back to Ellis for ice cream and celebration, everyone in the house – new and returning – revelled in their victory: a strong beginning to the interhouse competition. Congratulations to all competitors, and thank you to all the staff who supported the event!

Hannah R, Mackenzie ‘18

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