Geneseo students packed the Pizza Paul's dining area on Saturday hoping to witness the triumph of human over food: 30 hungry students with dreams of conquering the monstrous quad. In the end, though, the unanimous winner of the Quad Challenge was … the quad.
Ten teams of three put their stomachs to the test. The rules: The first team to finish its quad wins. Teams could divide up eating responsibilities in any manner, but any individual who failed to keep the pizza in his or her stomach was barred from continuing to eat. Each team had an endless supply of water to wash down the food and at least one person came equipped with Tums.
The quad chosen for the competition was described as a "Chicken McPizza" - four layers high and adorned with hot sauce, chicken, sausage, pepperoni and mini Paul's Balls. An audible wave of "oh my god," "that's disgusting" and "holy s---" swelled through the parlor as the monstrosities were carried to each table.
At 2:19 p.m. the race was on. As onlookers cringed, the players began devouring the quads bite by bite and layer by layer. Though most competitors chose the slow and steady strategy, it soon became clear by the unbuckling of belts and removal of shirts that the quads would not go down easily.
In the first hour of competition the quad's domination over the contestants became increasingly evident. A few of the players had to excuse themselves to the bathroom or the sidewalk trash bin. One by one teams exited the competition, plates left piled high with partially-devoured cheese and bread, with only a losers T-shirt to ease the defeat and indigestion.
The victors were finally declared as freshmen Tyler "Tigger" Thompson, Dan Zilberbrand and Dan Lee. Though Thompson and, later, Zilberbrand were unable to keep the quad down, Lee - a proud representative of 'Daga 4 North - was the day's trooper. Though no team actually finished its quad completely, Lee was the last man eating. He earned himself and his teammates legendary status on the wall of fame. According to Zilberbrand, he and Lee had decided to take on the challenge after coming to Pizza Paul's for dinner and noticing the poster. He described the decision as one of "stupidity - extreme stupidity."
Runners-up Paul Goodwyn, Dave Balajthy and Matt Booth, all seniors, came close to finishing their quad, but slowed to a near-stop toward the end and were ultimately ousted after portions of their digested quad reappeared unexpectedly onto the table. There was also senior Zach Nelson who continued eating long after his teammates were disqualified until he could finally eat no more. "It was fun," Nelson said.
The quad is available, for anyone who cares to try it, as a regular Pizza Paul's menu item in four varieties: pizza and wing, veggie, meat machine and trash plate.
Before the event, the staff of Pizza Paul's announced a more feasible contest. They ask anyone interested to dress up as a SubZone, quad or Paul's Ball to win prizes on Halloween. If anyone thinks they're up to the challenge, see Pizza Paul's for details.