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Ducks, dives and dodgeball

The CHS gymnasium reverberated with cheers and the thump of rubber balls during the 2nd annual “March Radness!” Dodgeball Tournament, held Sunday, March 18 at Claremont High School.

Twenty-one teams—comprised of students in the 4th through 12th grades and adults representing various community organizations—came ready to dodge, duck, dip and dive to raise money for the Claremont Educational Foundation.

The competition netted championship trophies for Mountain View Elementary’s Black Mustangs, El Roble Intermediate School’s “No-Names,” Claremont High School’s The Crazies and Claremont Fastpitch.

Along with their game, teams like the be-wigged Mountain View Mullets and the black-clad Mini-Ninjas of Chaparral and Sycamore schools brought a sartorial sense of humor.

Asked whether he thought his ninja mask would intimidate opponents, 6th grader Sanjar Junisbar said, “I think they’re going to laugh at us.”

Drawing laughs and the prize for best costume was Razzle Dazzle, a team of teachers from Oakmont and Vista led by Oakmont principal Stacey Stewart and her husband, Vista principal David Stewart.

With the men in tight pink sweats and the women in net tutus, the crew looked ready to flash some jazz hands, but instead brought some heat to the chilly court, earning the nicknames on their T-shirts: “Slaughter,” “Larva,” “H-Bomb” and “The Brat.”

With rocker wigs, Van’s shoes and Hawaiian shirts over rock tees, the DO-NUTS was another crowd favorite. The team—featuring Claremont Unified School District assistant superintendents Lisa Shoemaker and Kevin Ward and Nutrition Services Director Rick Cota—drew inspiration from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” channeling iconic slacker-surfer Jeff Spicoli.  

Fast, furious game action

While a DJ spun stadium favorites like the “Rocky” theme, Marcus Dowd, Andy Dale and Tim Tipping served as MCs, cracking jokes and presiding over the 3-minute matches. The fast-pace contests saw spectators ducking the occasional flying ball. When they were not ducking, audience members reached for the T-shirts and sweatbands flung at the crowd during game lulls.

“It is tiring. You sweat, even in 3 minutes,” said Condit Elementary office manager Beth Huff, who played for The Condit Rockers.

Game highlights included the upset of the CHS “Ballskrieg” by middle schoolers “The No-Names” during a tie-breaking sudden death match, and the sight of notables like Mayor Sam Pedroza and Councilman Corey Calaycay taking one for the City of Claremont team.

Kids were encouraged to head next door to a gym stocked with hula-hoops, a parachute, badminton gear and other gym games. Two food trucks, one selling gourmet cupcakes and the other vending burgers and fries, were on hand outside for those who dared to brave the cold and intermittent showers.

There were also members of the Claremont Educational Foundation posted at tables just outside the gym, selling tickets for their Prius raffle and collecting money for the Foundation’s ongoing $365 campaign.

“The dodgeball tournament is a great way to get the community involved with the schools,” said Tracy Zanteson, the parent of 2 CUSD students and a teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School in Ontario.

“Everyone cares about the kids. They’re even willing to dress up,” she said, pointing to the pink-clad Razzle Dazzle team.

The Claremont Education Foundation helps fund art and music for Claremont’s K-6 students, technology for students at the high school and at El Roble, and summer school within the district.

The Foundation launched its $365 Campaign in March of 2010 with a march from local schools to the high school and held its inaugural dodgeball tournament at that time.

The Claremont Educational Foundation has made a concerted effort to plan recurring events, said vice president Al Moreno.

“We know things aren’t going to get better with the state, so we want to get away from crisis funding.”

–Sarah Torribio

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