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McCormick Graduate Intramural Basketball Team Wins Championship

Weekend warriors

From left: Jimmy Buffi (BME), Neema Mashayekhi (ChBE), Devin Barrett (BME), Pat Ryan (ChBE), Jacob McPherson (BME), Ryan Boehler (ChBE), Brandon Tefft (BME), Parmede Vakil (BME), Phil Brunner (ChBE), and Zack Feinberg (MatSci)

They saw each other around SPAC for years — biomedical and chemical engineering graduate students, playing pick-up basketball to blow off steam after classes and long hours in the lab.

They eventually formed their own departmental intramural teams, but the results were mediocre at best. So three years ago, they did what good McCormick engineers do: they broke down departmental barriers to form a McCormick supergroup.

Their first two seasons were bittersweet: they lost in the final four, then in the elite eight. But this season, the fruits of that interdisciplinary collaboration blossomed into a championship win for the team. On March 8, in the hallowed halls of Welsh-Ryan Arena, the team pulled out a 47-28 win to take home the top prize.

The nine graduate students and one post-doc (mostly from biomedical engineering and chemical and biological engineering, though there is one materials science and engineering member) went undefeated for the season, though they had their share of close calls. In one semi-finals game, they mounted a late comeback to win 31-30.

“Just like TNT, we know drama,” said team member Brandon Tefft, a biomedical engineering graduate student. And despite the interdepartmental collaboration, is there any competitiveness between BME and ChemBE?

“I don’t know if the BME players are any better than the ChBE players, but we are definitely better looking,” Tefft said. 

The team was rewarded with championship T-shirts, but in the end, it was all for fun.

“It was exciting to finally make it deep into the playoffs, but we felt we had the talent to win it all,” Tefft said. “This is really a great group of guys, and we had a lot of fun playing together.”