Holiday Competition Provides Fun for Student-Athletes

Competing on a completely different platform for an opportunity like never before, the student-athletes rolled up their sleeves, put on their thinking caps and got to work.
Some teams pulled their most creative-minded players to do the job while others went at it together, subbing in their top talent when needed. They knew that in the end, only one team would be crowned the true champion.
...Champion of the best-carved pumpkin, that is.
The holiday-related competition was thought of by Ahearn Fund Student-Athlete Performance Table manager Michelle Sullivan and Executive Chef Michael Moyes as a way to provide student-athletes with a fun, new experience before Halloween.
"Putting everything together was pretty simple," said Sullivan. "We saw on our order form that we could order pumpkins and we thought, 'How fun would that be to do something with pumpkins?' So we ordered them and we brainstormed. We thought it would be fun for the student-athletes to decorate the pumpkins and that it would give them an at-home feel."
Taking advantage of the fun, festive competition, 13 of K-State's 16 teams showed up ready to carve and compete.
The grand prize? 
The team with the best pumpkin earned the opportunity to choose the menu for dinner at the Performance Table one evening later this semester. 
The voting took place throughout the week at the Performance Table as the student-athletes had the opportunity to vote for their favorite pumpkin.
Though it was a close call, the K-State Equestrian team's pumpkin titled "K-State Sports," which displayed each Wildcat team uniquely drawn by sophomore Kelsey Karanges, was chosen as the overall winner.
"We were both here both days and worked on it together," said freshman Lauren Lynch who helped Karanges along the way. She said nearly five hours of work went into their masterpiece. "It was fun and it was different. I think pumpkin carving is the most fun part of fall, so I loved it."
Though equestrian won the event, prizes (pumpkin medallions) were also awarded to women's golf and women's basketball for their respective pumpkins.
Winners of the contest's 'funniest pumpkin,' the K-State women's golf team, used golf tees and golf balls in its creation. 
"We kind of just went with it as we were going," laughed junior Scotland Preston when asked if her team was planning on carving a pumpkin that displayed such humor. "We had golf balls and tees, and it just turned out really funny. We had tons of fun together as a team."
The women's basketball team's 'Donut Mess with K-State' was painted by team manager Abbee VanNess. She said senior guard Heidi Brown provided her with inspiration.
"Well I wanted it to be a cupcake, but then I thought of a donut," said Vanes as she fondly gazed at her donut pumpkin during the competition's award ceremony. "It's something I don't really eat, but I really like."
Everyone laughed.
"It makes me want a donut right now," said Lynch.
And perhaps donuts will be on the menu the evening equestrian gets to choose dinner at the Performance Table.
The equestrian team said it still has to meet up and talk about what it would like for its chosen dinner, and once it decides, it will meet with Chef Moyes and Sports Nutritionist Scott Trausch to set up the menu.
However, there is one thing that artist Karanges hopes to have on the menu that night.
"I love their crepes," she said with a smile, "so we will have to have those."
 Kelsey Karanges, Lauren Lynch, Scotland Preston and Abbee VanNess pose with their winning pumpkins (Photo by Cori Pinkett)
Kelsey Karanges and Lauren Lynch design equestrians' winning pumpkin (Photo by Cori Pinkett)
K-State women's golf poses with its "Funniest Pumpkin" (photo by Cori Pinkett)
Thirteen K-State teams showed up ready to design their pumpkins for this year's contest (photo by Cori Pinkett)
Thirteen K-State teams showed up ready to design their pumpkins for this year's contest (photo by Cori Pinkett)
Abbee VanNess' pumpkin titled "Donut You Mess With K-State" won "Most Creative" (photo by Cori Pinkett)