Blaise Spinelli bit down on his lip, took a big step back and pulled on the rope he held in his hands with all his might. The Half Hollow Hills East High School junior’s eyes were locked on an orange flag dangling from the rope nearly two feet in front of him.
Behind him in the gym of the school in Dix Hills, about 20 other junior guys were also trying to gain a footing on the slippery floor and tugging on the rope until they had dragged the flag clearly across a white line onto their side of the basketball court. They had just defeated the seniors at tug-of-war.
Spinelli, 15, of Dix Hills, said he came into Saturday’s Competition Night committed to winning.
“I’m just not going to lose,” he said.
Students from each grade — freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors — went up against each other throughout the night in a series of challenges including a three-legged race, relays involving hula hoops and seated scooters, and a pie-eating contest. Each event was a chance to earn points, and each class also had to present a group dance routine to the panel of judges.
The winner of the third annual Competition Night won’t be revealed until Monday, but the evening was capped off with the announcement of who won the titles of homecoming king and queen. This year the crowns went to varsity basketball player Matthew Boyd, 17, and singer Lisa Diasparra, 17. Both are Melville residents.
Boyd and Diasparra were among the 10 finalists in the running for the titles and garnered the most votes from their classmates, who cast ballots on Thursday and Friday. The candidates for king and queen were also required to pair up and perform a skit during Friday’s pep rally, which Boyd and Diasparra said was their favorite part.
In the video of their performance that Boyd replayed on his phone, the 6-foot-1 point guard is seen wearing black-and-white striped pants and bopping around the gym floor with a giant stuffed bear on his back. Meanwhile, Diasparra dances around with her hair pulled up into two buns on the top of her head, a stuffed bear backpack hanging across her chest and foam finger on her hand. Her younger brother, Anthony Diasparra, a sophomore, also showed off some of his dance moves including “the Worm” while sporting a bear costume during the routine.
She explained that it was a parody of the now-infamous Miley Cyrus-Robin Thicke performance from the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, but said her and Boyd’s version was clean.
“There was no ‘twerking,’” she said.
Diasparra, who describes herself as an R&B and pop singer, said, “I love performing.”
“And I love being funny,” Boyd said.
Diasparra added, “We meshed together well.”