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      Leadership Competition Winners

      Widener Team Prevails in College Leadership Competition

      The Winning Team

      The Widener team that captured the College Leadership Competition win included, kneeling from left, students Dan Whitney and Todd Geweke. Standing from left, team coach and ’16 alumnus Tori Remondelli, students Aly Horton, Annamarie Burns and Leah Levi.

      When five Widener students committed to compete as a team in the College Leadership Competition, this past January, they didn’t really know each other. Despite already being busy with heavy academic loads, extracurricular activities and sports – the team was steadfast in their training and met every Wednesday night with coach Tori Remondelli, a 2016 alumnus who had taken part in the competition the previous year.

      “Right from the beginning you had to automatically trust your team,” freshman competitor Annamarie Burns said. “We all had the same goal. We wanted to win, and we did it.”

      Under Remondelli’s direction, the team competed against students from Rider University, Cabrini University, Penn State Abington and Virginia Commonwealth University on Widener's Main Campus, April 22. The team, comprised of Burns and students Todd Geweke, Dan Whitney, Leah Levi and Aly Horton, didn’t just win the competition. They won after earning 810 points, and being the first team from anywhere with a score that broke 800.

      “They put in a lot of time to become better at leadership,” said Remondelli, who at the team’s first practice directed the students to build a house of cards together blindfolded. He also had them meet for one-on-one lunches, and have deep discussions about what motivates them to succeed and why they came to Widener. By learning what drives each other, Remondelli thought, they would come to empathize with one another and find the best ways to work together. “That’s a crucial ingredient when you’re in a situation like this,” he said.

      Tilelli Graduate Fellow, Jennifer Shepard, coached a second Widener team that also competed. That group was comprised of students Colleen Riley, Keenan Smallwood, Caleah Kitchens, Chase Morrison and Boyd McCoy.

      The College Leadership Competition is in its third year. Co-founded by Arthur Schwartz, director of the Oskin Leadership Institute, it has grown to involve 22 teams that competed at four regional events held in April at Widener, and locations in Maine and Ohio.

      The event began with a Friday night banquet for all competitors and started that Saturday morning with six competition rounds at Widener's University Center. The students had between 25 and 45 minutes to complete each challenge, but received extra points if they finished early. Judges determined other team points based on process and results. Teammates took turns serving as group captain for each challenge. Events included vocabulary challenges, escape-room-style challenges, drawing challenges and more.

      “This was probably the best experience I’ve had at Widener,” said Whitney, a junior. “It was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience that helped me grow as a leader.”

      Burns agreed. “It was the most incredible experience. Your mind is constantly being challenged in leadership and problem solving,” she said.

      To learn more about Widener's role in the College Leadership Competition, visit the Oskin Leadership Institute website


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