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Max Palevsky’s Team Wombat conquers Scav competition

Sunday evening in Ida Noyes must have looked strange to outsiders. Groups of students, anxious and exhausted, kept up their energy by shouting back and forth at each other while waiting for the Scav Hunt judges to name Max Palevsky’s Team Wombat this year’s winner.

Max Palevsky, which tied for first place last year and won two out of the three previous years, has its operation down to a near science.

Though Max P is a traditional powerhouse given its size and fundraising ability (it receives more money through house donations than any other team), it still had to overcome its share of obstacles.

The Max road trip team broke down 15 minutes into the trip and was revived only through some fortuitous poking around.

The team nearly didn’t find a van for the “bassmobile” showcase item—the vehicle was stuffed with blast-from-the-past items like a waterbed, lava lamps, and disco balls.

But Team Wombat, which won by nearly 300 points, also had its share of lucky breaks. When going after item 134, “Who wears short shorts? Why, tenured faculty members, of course,” their pick, David Bevington, was surprisingly game.

“We expected him just to put them on over his pants, but when our photographer showed up he said ‘hang on, let me change,’ and came out in the shorts. Then he even did poses for us,” said Dave Franklin, a second-year in the College and Team Wombat captain.

The last place combination of Seitanists, Vegan Society, MacLab, and Co-op team endured special trials this year. Just three years old, the team has found itself adding a new affiliation each year in hopes of garnering enough members to make a real play at the game.

“The first year we had nine people, four who went on the road trip and five who stayed back,” said fourth-year Lola Thompson. “We initially started just to try to make Scav Hunt use less animal products.”

The team, which started out with approximately 20 members this year, was down to eight by the end of the weekend.

“They usually have it at the end of sixth week, but most of our members are math or computer science majors, and they have midterms eighth week,” Thompson said. “Having it on seventh week made a difference.”

A small team invariably means financial stress. In an effort to save money by reducing gas costs, the team combined its road trip team with Broadview and Breck-Hoover this year.

“In past years we ended up spending a lot individually,” Thompson said. “We still have outstanding scav hunt debts from previous years. The first year we basically each paid $200.”

Before the winners were announced, however, the items were judged. After a rainy Thursday and Friday threatened the Maxwell Street market item and forced the traditional party on the quads into Cobb (which was promptly trashed), Sunday dawned clear for Judgment Day.

Human kaleidoscopes covered the Ida Noyes courtyard. Neon signs and jacked-up computers overflowed the East Lounge. And in the park across the street, contestants put on a display of “Pimp my Bike.”

“We jacked it up three whole inches,” said one Max Palevsky presenter. “You don’t ride, you roll.”

“Let’s see what’s under the seat,” shouted his compatriot.

The presenter grinned, rooted under the bike seat, and pulled out an SCC sexual health awareness condom pack.

“It’s hard out here for a pimp,” he added while the crowd cheered.