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Alpha Omicron Pi dodges arthritis with tournament
Jennifer Kardell
Antelope Staff
Photo by Chelsea Archer
A member of the Alpha Phi team prepares to take a swing at the opposing team. This is the fourth year of the Alpha Omicron Pi "Strike Out Arthritits" tournament.

It’s a simple game involving two teams, one ball, one focus and one goal. The goal is to dodge a ball being thrown at you, and be the last man standing resulting in a win for your team all while earning money for a great cause.

The ladies of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority have brought this simple game to a new level by hosting their fourth annual dodgeball tournament last Thursday, April 1 in the Health and Sports Center.

Sara Smith a sophomore business administration major from Scottsbluff, was happy to see the event have a great outcome. “In 2009, 18 teams participated. Each team consisted of five or six players. This year we had 24 teams,” Smith said.

In past tournaments, around $1,500 has been raised for the sorority. Hopes to increase this amount became a reality Thursday when they exceeded their goal by $300.

“The goal was $2,000, and we exceeded this by $300, but after expenses for the winning team we are donating a little over $1,900 to arthritis research,” said Courtney Smejdir, a freshman communication disorders major from Lincoln.

There are many charities and causes the sorority could have chosen, but to them, the National Arthritis Foundation is the most important. “We chose arthritis research, because it is the philanthropy of our national headquarters. Many more women are affected by arthritis than men, so we felt it was our duty to help our fellow women out by raising money for research,” Smejdir said.

If you did not participate in the event you missed out. Alpha Omicron Pi had a great lineup of prizes for the teams who participated. “We had a $300 cash prize that went to the winning team. A 32” flat screen television was raffled off. Other raffle prizes included gift certificates to restaurants, salons, clothing stores and others,” Smith said.

Alpha Omicron Pi has participated in many charity-related events during the school year, but this has been their biggest event. Smejdir and her sorority are very pleased with the outcome of the event, are excited for next year’s festivities and hope to see the event continue to grow. However, they couldn’t do it alone and would like to give praise to those who helped them achieve their goal. “I would like to thank all of our sponsors for the tournament this year: Bob’s Super Store, Holiday Inn, Arby’s, Shirt Shack, CopyCat Printing, Buckle, Urban Hair Salon, Tripe Construction, USA Steak Buffet and Mr. and Mrs. Lee Higgins. I also want to thank on behalf of AOII, all the other Greeks who participated in the event as well as those on campus who made teams. You all went out there and did your best. Thanks for making this year a great success,” Smejdir said.

“Next year I would love to see more community involvement. We had two teams who were from outside the UNK campus, and they both went very far in the tournament. I think it would be good to give the team that has won for the last two years now a run for their money. The final game was close between the defending champions and a team of ‘oldies’ from the admissions office,” Smejdir said. Alpha Omicron Pi will be hosting this event next year, so don’t miss your chance to take part.

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