By Larry Austin
The annual Grand Island Rugby Club spaghetti dinner featured the first-ever 2015 spaghetti-eating contest.
In a bout matching five hearty appetites fighting to see who would be first to finish eating two cups of spaghetti, two scoops of sauce and two 3-ounce meatballs, high schooler Matt Studley came away the winner.
Studley, the GI Rugby Club team president and lightest contestant in the event, edged teammate Ian Hardison in a voice vote tiebreaker to take the 2015 crown. The contest was featured during the annual fundraiser for the Grand Island Rugby Club, held in the Grand Island High School large cafeteria Tuesday, March 3.
The two rugby players easily beat fellow contestants, 2012 GIHS graduate and rugby alumnus Jamison Phillips, GIHS social studies teacher Kevin Murray, and GIHS Assistant Principal Corey Gray. The teacher and administrator were no factor in the outcome, having handicapped themselves in the race by using utensils.
Gray, however, was sartorially resplendent as usual even with the plastic bag he wore to protect his threads prior to chaperoning a concert in the Grand Viking Theater. "Slow and steady wins the race," Gray said confidently before the start, which Dan Hager, GI rugby coach, immediately pronounced "Terrible strategy. Terrible."
Phillips perhaps left his best on the practice table before the contest. "I saw him in the back corner actually eating some spaghetti to warm up," Hager said. Phillips faded to third.
Like the well-attended spaghetti-eating contest, the fundraiser was a success. Hager estimated a couple hundred dinners were sold on the night.
No. 7 Steven DeCarlo, flanker on the Grand Island rugby team, gets ready to eat some pasta at the rugby team spaghetti dinner fundraiser. (Photo by Larry Austin)