Sig Eps are Tugs champs

By Laurel Marselle

Blood, sweat and tears were shed at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house Friday as the Sig Eps defeated Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, becoming the Tugs champions for the first time since they began hosting the competition in 1974.

The Sigma Phi Epsilon members raised $6,400 for their philanthropy, Earhart Foundation, an organization that gives scholarships to underprivileged students, and gathered 450 cans of food for Hope Haven.

The match was an upset, as Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has won the Tugs competition 26 times in 31 years.

“For me and the guys in my house, it was almost unreal at first,” said senior communication major Sassan Ashouri, the caller for Sigma Phi Epsilon. “To think you always wanted it to turn out that way and it finally did.”

This year the members of Pi Kappa Alpha took an advantage on the first rope, but the Sigma Phi Epsilon team took the second, both ropes lasting the entire 20-minute time limit. Possessions of the rope on both sides left way for a third rope with no time limit, which the Sigma Phi Epsilon team took in 24 minutes, Ashouri said.

Ashouri said he learned to stay calm while calling during the match.

“Last year we tugged against [Pi Kappa Alpha] in the championship match and I lost my head, and that’s why we lost then,” Ashouri said.

Adapting to the other team’s moves throughout the match also helped, Ashouri said.

Though Tugs is physically demanding, with participants battling cuts, pulled muscles and the occasional cracked rib and slipped disk, tuggers continue to come back each year, said Joe Wilson, a junior sociology major and Sig Ep tugger.

Sig Ep tugger Mark Michiels, a senior electrical engineering major, said after panicking a little when losing advantage in the first rope, he decided to give it his all.

“I looked at it as after this is over, I can be hurting, but I don’t want to have any regrets,” he said.

Earlier in last week’s competition, Phi Sigma Kappa earned a trip to the semifinals by defeating Tau Kappa Epsilon in the first round. Both Sigma Pi and Tau Kappa Epsilon faced off in the consolation bracket on Wednesday with Sigma Pi earning the victory and moving to the third place match.

In the third place match, Sigma Pi defeated Phi Sigma Kappa in three ropes. This is the fifth time in the past six years Sigma Pi has earned third place in the competition.