Riverside college students compete in the Amazing College Race

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Written by Crystal Olmedo | Written April 10, 2016

Riverside City College students gathered to compete in the Amazing College Race on Main Street for a chance to win up $1500 in scholarships.

A total of 50 teams, which ranged from three to five people, from Riverside colleges as well as neighboring colleges Cal State San Bernardino and Moreno Valley College set out on a scavenger hunt race around historic Downtown Riverside April 10.

The teams were provided clues that lead them to various spots around downtown such as Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery where the founder of Riverside, John W. North is buried, the RTA terminal on University Avenue and the Fox Theater, which was the first location to premiere the film “Gone With the Wind” in 1939. Students were not allowed to skateboards, bicycles or vehicles of any kind were allowed. However, students were encouraged to use their smart phones to help them figures out given clues.

Of the 50 competing teams, 16 included RCC students. Each group chose their own unique team names.

One of the RCC teams that participated in the race was the “Lovely Ladies” which included Valarie Pearson, Marie Padiño and Kari Kalinich.

Pearson said her team decided to come together at the last minute, but did their best to be prepared for the event by picking up pamphlets from businesses and sites around Downtown Riverside to study up on some of the city’s history. Her fellow team members agreed that they did their best to have a balanced competitive drive.

“We are competitive individually, but not to a point that it overpowers us working together,” Pearson said. “Three are better than one.”


One of the competing RCC teams, “The Lovely Ladies,” which included Valarie Pearson, Marie Padino and Kari Kalinich show their school spirit with RCC mascot, Benji the Tiger. (Crystal Olmedo | Viewpoints)

The “Blue Raccoons” included Veronica Sepulveda, a student from Cal Baptist University and two RCC students Celeste Zamora and Thang Dang.

RCC President Wolde-Ab Isaac was present to show his support for students competing in the race.

“It’s a good event to bring our students together with university students such as CBU and UCR and other colleges in Riverside,” Isaac said.

We are always No. 1. It doesn’t matter if they win or not, it’s about the fun of coming together with other colleges and recognizing our place in the higher education of Riverside.”

Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey spoke to the students before the race.

“We have 50,000 college students in this city,” Bailey said. “We are a college town and this proves that we are a college town. We want you to feel like you are a part of this city, root yourselves in this city and that’s why we’re doing this today.”

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey spoke before the competition and showed his support for college students at the Amazing College Race. (Crystal Olmedo | Viewpoints)

Bailey also shared some words of advice with the racers.

“Get out there and learn something, have some fun, and make some connections with the businesses and all the other things you’re going to get to see today,” Bailey said. “Make sure you make some connections with each other … make sure you proceed with victory, victory with honor.”

The race was timed and had to be completed in two hours. RCC, La Sierra University, Cal Baptist University and UC Riverside sponsored the event and donated the money that was awarded in scholarships. The Mayor’s Office also provided some of the funding for the scholarships.


First place and a $1500 scholarship was awarded to Alyssa Avila, James Bogdonavich, Jordan Giusti, Wyatt Deane, Kim Rabenstein of the Cal Baptist University team, “Threat Level Midnight.”  

Cal Baptist University team “Threat Level Midnight” take first place at the Amazing College Race April 10 in Downtown Riverside. (Crystal Olmedo | Viewpoints)

The “3 Amigos,” Carlos Lopez, Emily Sanchez and Cesar Solis, from UC Riverside took second place and a $1000 scholarship. 

“We did research by looking up businesses around downtown and some of the city’s history,” Sanchez said. “We did everything together and tried to do the challenges that would win us the most points first.”

Four teams tied for third place and $500 scholarships.

The “Coyotes” (Jake Orta, John Orta, Adrian Gamboa, Yasmine Flores and Kevyn Ruiz) from Cal State San Bernardino were one of the teams. The other three teams were from RCC. The “Dilldoniks” (Valerie Cordova, Hannah Keaneman and Venezia Moyano), #VPDreamTeam (Hector M. Zermeno, James Williams, Laura Tapia, Alexis Naucler and Brooke Cary), and “Lob City” (Andy Cleaves II, Amore Smith II, Marqus Porter, Elijah Kirkland and Courtney Moffatt Kirkland-Cuffee).

Tapia, from the #VPDreamTeam, attributed the win to keeping motivated as a team. 

“It was very unexpected, but we just tried to stay as a group and keep our energy positive and root on other teams and just try our best,” Tapia said. 

RCC student Chris Gonzalez of Local Boy Mobile DJ, LLC played music for the event. Students and mascots danced together to the “Cha Cha Slide” among other songs. Ross Holman also from Local Boy, who received the 2105 Young Entrepreneur Award from the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, played a small set and helped with sound control for the event. 

Associated Students of Riverside City College Vice President Rakhee Uma played a big part in creating challenges and choosing the sites where students would find clues, according to Bailey.

Uma said she did her best to chose places that college students would want to know about and also sites that would help students to learn more about Riverside’s history. She said  she was pleased with the student participation at the event.

“I am extremely proud of how many teams RCC had at this race and I’m happy to say that almost every RCC team that registered was here,” Uma said. “So that is great effort on behalf of RCC and it shows a lot about the impact that RCC students want to make in Riverside. I’m happy to be a part of it.”


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