Out of 32 competing teams, first-time team the “Tinder-ellas” took the win at this year’s Great Race event hosted by Dixie State University.
As one of DSU’s longest running traditions, which closes out D-Week, the Great Race calls upon students, alumni and community members to race relay-style in varying events. Each team member participates in a single event during the race such as running, swimming, trivia and an obstacle course segment.
DSU alumnus Joshua Cooke led the Tinder-ellas to victory as the team’s captain. Cooke said he had participated in the Great Race for two years prior to 2018 and his team placed top three both years. Cooke said he didn’t expect to take first place this year.
“It was just to have fun,” Cooke said. “I expected to place top three, but when I saw our [team member] running through the mud pit, I knew we were going to take it.”
When Cooke and a friend began assembling the team he said they ran into trouble finding athletic females who wanted to participate. The Great Race requires a team of 10 people, four of which must be female.
“Finding girls was the hardest part,” Cooke said.
Jennifer Wilcox, a sophomore nursing major from Anchorage, Alaska, said this was her first time participating in the race and was also just in it for the fun.
“[The team captain] just wanted to build a good team that could be competitive,” Wilcox said. “We honestly didn’t expect to win, but it was a pleasant surprise.”
Likewise, Mikayla McMillan, a junior pre physical therapist assistant major from Spanish Fork, said this was her first year competing, and first place wasn’t her expectation.
“[I was] shocked but super proud and excited,” McMillan said. “I expected top three, but first was an awesome time.”
Mcmillan said the Great Race is an important event because it brings unity and uniqueness to the campus, and it was a good opportunity to meet new people.
Cooke said the team did no formal training or preparation for the race, as they were not focusing on winning, but it did help that the team members were athletic people already. He said trial and error and strategy when placing team members in each position was the key to their success.
“We looked at each event … and we just played to everyone’s strengths,” Cooke said. “There were some ex-college athletes, and I run a lot because I’m training for the Navy, so I knew we could do it.”
Although he’d like to see the rollerblading event return, Cooke said he enjoyed his time at the Great Race and would encourage DSU students to participate next year.
“Every year I tell people to participate,” Cooke said. “I know a lot more people would want to participate if they knew about it.”
Cooke said he was saddened to know there were DSU students, especially freshman students, who didn’t know about the race.
“Maybe something they could change was hyping it up a little more,” Cooke said. “I like it because it’s not just for students. It’s a great opportunity for everyone in the community to interact with students … and it’s a great way to connect with the history of the community.”
Wilcox said her participation in the race helped her see the importance of breaking the boundaries of her comfort zone and participating in new events.
“It’s just fun and it inspires people to go out there and be active,” Wilcox said.