Friday night’s for feasting – French fry feasting, to be specific. Drinks were flowing and food was flying at RT’s Longboard Grill in Pacific Beach, CA for the inaugural Collegiate Nationals Eating Championship. 13 collegiate food warriors with dreams of a $1000 cash purse gathered to chow their way through two-pound plates of French fries.
Arnie “Chowhound” Chapman, the Commissioner of Eating, was on hand to welcome the co-eds to the ranks of competitive eating. Wearing a “Food Warrior University” sweatshirt, the Chowhound solemnly explained the Eaters’ Oath: no chipmunking; no mashing, mushing, mutilating, or otherwise desecrating the food; no unhappy returns. Respect the food.
And with those words of wisdom, they were off, plowing their way through plate after plate of French fries.
Competitors were divided into three heats, with the top four overall times advancing to Saturday’s finals.
Darrin “D Money” Wolff of San Diego City College jumped out to an early lead and was able to sustain his hectic pace, demolishing the 2-lbs in four minutes, 55 seconds. D Money’s victory was assisted by the first and only DQ of the contest. Referee Dave “Coon Dog” O’Karma caught Greg “Rabid” Reynolds dunking fries and promptly asked him to leave. Reynolds walked off stage accompanied by the boos of the crowd.
The second heat ended in a tight finish. Eventually Josh “the Upside Down Man” Ballard of San Diego State out-chomped Jeremy Garber and Henry “Beast of the East” Ugale, to take the heat.
The lone woman in the competition was Maggie “I’m Hungry” Prowell from Colorado Mountain College. Prowell took the stage in the third heat, but hunger wasn’t enough to overcome speed. Local Longboard legends Ryan “Big Mac” McMillan and Chris “Scary Spice” Hanson took first and second, respectively, in the heat, completing the final line up.
Wolff, McMillan, Ballard and Hanson will take on four nationally-ranked food warriors who traveled to San Diego to vie for the eating championship. Christian “Muscox” McCarthy (Kentucky), “Iron” Pete Czerwinski (McMaster), Carey “Powerhouse” Poehlmann (Montgomery County CC) and Brian Eatin’ Keaton (Maryland) all have significant wins on the competitive eating circuit, and each would like to leave Wave House with the big bucks.
Rankings for final
#1 Christian “Muscox” McCarthy, Kentucky
#2 “Iron” Pete Czerwinski, McMaster
#3 Carey “Powerhouse” Poehlmann, Montgomery County CC
#4 Brian Eatin’ Keaton, Maryland
#5 Darrin Wolff, San Diego City College
#6 Ryan McMillan, Mesa
#7 Josh Ballard, San Diego State
#8 Chris Hanson, Grossmont/SDSU