Iowa State reclaims knockout record


Samantha Melvin, junior in English education, celebrates after successfully making a basket during the Guinness World Record-setting game of knockout at Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday, April 17. After having last year’s record beat earlier this month, the second annual Veishea knockout game re-set the record with 571 participants. 

Isaac Hunt

Iowa State reclaimed its title as the world record-holder for the largest game of knockout Tuesday night at Hilton Coliseum. As part of the Veishea tournaments, students and others from the community successfully broke the record it also set last year.

Cy the mascot was the first to shoot and Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Hill was the last. With the number 571 safely pinned to his chest, Hill helped the students break the previous record by almost 150.

Just last year, Iowa State set the record, only to have it quickly taken by Grace College.

“We were pretty disappointed to see that,” said tournaments co-chairman Jake Smith, senior in mechanical engineering. “Before we even officially made it on the Guinness website, this other college had broken it and taken it from us.”

When plans were being made for tournaments at the beginning of the year, the committee members knew they would schedule another attempt to try and bring the record back to Ames.

Brian Capesius, graduate student in business administration who had the idea last year for the knockout game, also co-chaired the event this year. The goal, set at 1,000, may seem large to some, but it was a realistic goal to those who planned the event.

“It’s tough to tell,” Capesius said. “We got 360 last year in the middle of a blizzard. We thought the nice weather and Veishea week [would help]. We thought 1,000 would be awesome to put in the record book.”

Iowa State broke the record previously held by Buick, of General Motors, which hosted its event in New Orleans during the NCAA men’s Final Four.

Two players with NCAA tournament experience were part of the record. Cyclones Melvin Ejim and Austin McBeth both took part in the game.

“We were kind of asked to come as a team by coach [Fred] Hoiberg,” McBeth said. “I wasn’t going to play and then Melvin said he was going to play, so I thought I might as well. You don’t get this opportunity very much.”

McBeth, in jeans, said he didn’t come prepared to play, but if he came up against his teammate, he would try to beat him.

For many others, it was their first shot attempt at Hilton Coliseum. Kaitlin Ungs, freshman in design, and her friends arrived with hopes of putting Iowa State back on top.

“I wanted to see if we could actually break this record,” Ungs said. “I thought that there was going to be tons of people here and we would break it by so many.”

After an airball, Ungs joked that she felt a bit wimpy, but shooting at Hilton was still a fun experience.

Before the event began, the rules to the completion were explained.

Knockout is a game that consists of participants lining up behind the free-throw line. One player shoots the ball from the line. After they have shot, the player behind them is allowed to begin shooting as well. If the second player makes a basket before the one ahead of him, the first player is “knocked out” of the game. This process continues until there is one person left.

Michael Wauters was that one person after 2 hours and 48 minutes and 32 rounds.

Several schools, including George Washington University, Utah State and James Madison, have held the record in the past, which was started at Pine Creek High School in 2010.

Iowa State held the record after James Madison. Grace College took the reins as leader for almost a year before the Buick event.

With the boosts from social networking such as Facebook invites and flyers around campus, the word was spreading about the event.

“We realized last year we didn’t quite advertise it as well as we could have,” Smith said. “At the beginning of this year, we talked to some people who said, ‘That sounds like fun, I never even heard about it last year.’ This year we really pushed it. Every Iowa State student should have heard of the event.”

Students at the University of Connecticut attempted the record this past weekend and failed. Matt McDonough, sports editor for the Daily Campus at Connecticut, said the turnout was only about a third of what they needed to break the record.

“Hopefully, we break [the record],” Smith said before the event. “We beat UConn in everything so far this year.”