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U of Maryland Champ Crowned

Media Credit: Vince Salamone

Rock, paper, scissors may only be a schoolyard game, but for one university student, it's turned into a trip to Panama City, Fla., and a chance at $20,000.

Matt Witt, a sophomore letters and sciences major, emerged victorious in the university's qualifier for the USA Rock Paper Scissors College Championship, which was held Saturday afternoon at Santa Fe Cafe.

The simple nature of the game - rock crushes scissors, scissors cuts paper, paper covers rocks, best of three wins - belied the intensity of the suspense and the competition. Before the event, students nervously recounted their preparations and sipped on AMP energy drinks that the event's sponsor provided.

"Last night, we played a few games," junior psychology major Clark Roop said. "I gotta check out my competition."

Sophomore philosophy major Alex Brady was ready "to win the trip ... [he had been] practicing a little during the week."

After being eliminated in the first round, many students sat with their heads in their hands, blaming the loss on their nerves.

"I got nervous," junior communication and psychology major Alexa Doerr said. As one of three women in the 27-person competition, though, Doerr felt she "held [her] own."

Doerr's friend, junior early childhood major Julie Capriolo, admitted to leading an unfair match.

"I rigged my own competition," she said. "I told my competitor every move I was going to make. ... I didn't care about winning."

The winners of the first round enjoyed the taste of victory, pumping their fists up and down and screaming with joy. Some students even took off their jackets and rolled up their sleeves to prepare for what lay ahead.

The game was played under the rules of the USA Rock Paper Scissors League, meaning competitors had to say "ro, sham, bo" instead of "rock, paper, scissors," and use clear hand gestures.

As the competition continued, sophomore government major Andrew Campbell began to develop his winning confidence.

"This is thrilling," he said. "They're going to make a movie from this."

Campbell even asked for the audience's advice.

"Time-out," he called as he motioned to his cheering fans. "What's he throwing next?"

Campbell proved cheaters never win, though, and was eliminated in the next round.

The final competition came down to two sophomores: Witt and business major Ian Haynes.

Competition grew fierce as Haynes, with a smug look on his face, sat down across from Witt. Eliminated competitors cheered loudly for each competitor, but quieted as the final round began.

After three intense rounds, Witt emerged as the final winner.

Jumping up ectastically, Witt called out, "Yay! I won!

"It feels glorious," he added.

Witt claimed his previous practices and ability to understand mental patterns as his winning strategy.

"It's a gift," he said. "I can't control it."

As for his strategy in Panama City?

"Have fun."

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