Math major Edsel “EJ” Arce drives to the basket to lead Beer Nation to victory against the Upstart Rogues.
Math major Edsel “EJ” Arce drives to the basket to lead Beer Nation to victory against the Upstart Rogues.

Young Alumni Drub Olds in Zornado Classic

Six teams battle for dominance in madcap “March Madness” tournament.

By Ethan Gordon ’19 | March 19, 2019

The Young Alumni reclaimed their title as champions in Reed’s Zornado Classic March Madness basketball tournament last Friday, capping off an action-packed night with a show of skill and athleticism.

The madcap tournament, held annually during the spring, is open to the entire Reed community, and anyone can play. This year, there were six teams:

  • Beer Nation. Drawn from the students who provide beer at parties.
  • Upstart Team of Rogues. A mishmash of Quest editors, bio majors, and a geriatric magazine editor.
  • Reed Griffins. Reed’s actual basketball team.
  • Reed FC. Reed’s soccer team.
  • Young Alumni. Players who were students just moments ago, it seems.
  • Olde Alumni. Grizzled veterans of the Cretaceous period; the gym shakes when they run.

The evening began with Beer Nation squaring off against the Upstart Rogues. The Rogues put up a valiant effort, but ultimately bowed out 26-37, as Beer Nation’s Tommaso McPhee ’19, Edsel Arce ’19, and Akim Farrow ’19 displayed their talents in the midrange and the post.

Reed FC got off to a strong start against the Griffins, at one point leading 9-2, whipping the crowd into a frenzy; if the soccer team had actually succeeded in defeating the basketball team, it surely would have been the Reed sports story of the decade. But the Griffins soon settled down, slowed the pace, and began to dominate the play, and the soccer hooligans could not compete with the size and strength of Cyrus Kirkman ’20 and Zesean Ali ’20 in the paint and on the offensive glass. The Griffins also benefited from outstanding play by high-school freshman Elliot McElroy (son of Brittney Corrigan-McElroy ’94 and Thomas McElroy ’97), and won the game 33-21.

In the second round, Beer Nation faced off against the Old Alumni in what was eventually to be the closest match of the night. Down by 8 points with only a minute left to go, Beer Nation mounted a furious comeback, with Tommaso McPhee ’19 and Slater Ward ’19 nailing clutch threes to cut the deficit down to 2. Time, however, was not on Beer Nation’s side, and they ultimately succumbed 26-24.

The match between the Reed Griffins and the Young Alumni was not as close, however. After the Youngz skyrocketed to a 21-3 lead at halftime, the outcome of the game was never really in question, and they marched onward to a 39-20 victory.

In the championship match, the speed and vigor of the Young Alumni, led by Gabriel Zinn ’16, ultimately overtook the Old Alums, captained by Erik Brakstad ’89, in a hard-fought but decisive 39-24 victory.

The Zornado Classic honors the legendary Frank “Caged Fury” Zornado, who retired in 2018 after 32 years as supervisor of the sports center. Frank and Erik organized the tournament for at least 29 years in a row (no one seems to know the precise starting date.)

Stay on the lookout for the Zornado Classic next year, and be sure to come down to the sports center cheer on your fellow Reedies!

Tags: Alumni, Campus Life, Sports & Adventures, Students