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Tech Students Set Three Wintery Records
For more information on this story contact:
Email:Marcia Goodrich

Feb. 10, 2006--Michigan Tech students rolled up a snowball today that should get them into the record books. Plus, they attracted a crowd of nearly 4,000 to hold the largest snowball fight ever and create the most snow angels in a single place.

At 6.77 feet in diameter, the snowball is a whopper.

“It was an exercise in determination, in sheer will,” said student Robert Niffenegger, who helped organize the event. “It took the largest people we could get from the Tri-Hall Weight Club.”

To meet Guinness World Records specifications, a snowball must be rolled, not packed, and the bigger they are, the heavier they are. “It’s at least a ton, if not more,” Niffenegger said. “We had about 20 people pushing at the end.”

The snowball was the first of the three world-record attempts undertaken today at Michigan Tech. Later in the day, school kids, members of the community, and university students and staff thronged to Michigan Tech’s football field to join in the world’s biggest snowball fight, with 3,762 participants. and make the most snow angels in a single event, a total of 3,780.

Tallies indicate they have the numbers to beat the previous records, 1,791 angel-makers set in Bismarck, N.D., and 3,084 snowball-throwers in Illinois.

The air was white with projectiles as crowds launched their snowballs. Michigan Lt. Governor John Cherry and Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz were on hand to throw out the first ceremonial missiles. School kids pelted volunteer college students, while the rest of the crowd split into two sides that battled each other.

“No one got hurt; that was my big concern,” Niffenegger said. “And it’s something the Keweenaw [Peninsula, where Michigan Tech is located] will be able to talk about for decades.”

At 88, Meredith Montgomery of Calumet arrived courtesy of one of her friends, Tonette Timmreck-Windy of Hancock. “I wanted her to be part of history,” Timmreck-Windy said.

“I may be the oldest person here,” Montgomery said, scanning the crowd. Asked why she came, Montgomery said, “Just for the hell of it! Why not?”

Kyle Isaacson, a freshman at Michigan Tech, called the experience, “Fantastic!” adding that he was there to be a part of history.

The entire record-breaking day was a testimony to the enthusiasm and good will of the region, Niffenegger said.

“Really, the snowball event was an organized fight, and yet everybody cooperated, and everybody followed directions,” he said. As to why students would devote so much effort toward setting world records instead of studying, he shrugged.

“Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses.”

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