ABOVE: The homecoming court lines up for a photo after the coronation on Saturday. The king and queen were David Matthews, biology senior, and Asiah Greene, sport management senior. (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)


By Tessa Castor

Staff photographer

Tessa Castor, English junior, Marissa Evans, business junior, Laura Podschun, religion and philosophy junior, and Emily Jones, elementary education senior, kick off this year’s bonfire with tiki torches on Friday night. The night was full of fun, dancing, music and a large pile of blazing pallets. "I truly had such a fun experience getting to lead the school along with Marissa, Laura and Tessa to the bonfire on Friday," said Emily Jones, elementary education senior. "It's an exciting tradition we share as a school that I always look forward to. Also, shout out to the Winfield Fire Department for helping us start the fire. We couldn't have done it without them." (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)
Kelsi Doss, freshman middle, defends the goal with impressive headbutt. The women’s soccer team won 5-2 against Tabor on Saturday. "I told the girls before the game, homecoming games go one of two ways," said Joe Wood, head women's soccer coach. "You either come out ready to play or come out distracted by all the homecoming stuff. They came out ready to play." (Madison Stumbough, Staff photographer)
Tessa Castor, English junior, and Emily Jones, elementary education senior, present 2018’s homecoming king and queen candidates. For the men, the candidates were Mason McDowell, sports medicine senior, David Matthews, biology senior, Mitchell Hewitt, sports medicine senior, Tanner Schartz, theatre senior, and Sheldon Hawthorne, accounting senior. The women candidates were Asiah Greene, sport management senior, Kari Blattner, elementary education and business administration senior, Caitlin Koch, athletic training senior, Marlee Gaddie, business administration senior, and Victoria Lybarger, digital arts junior. "Getting to be a part of the homecoming court was so much fun and really reminded me just how much of a family SC really is. I'm very glad I got to experience it," said Gaddie. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)
The homecoming court lines up for a photo after the coronation on Saturday. The king and queen were David Matthews, biology senior, and Asiah Greene, sport management senior. Pictured here is the entirety of the Homecoming Court, Kari Blattner, elementary education and business senior, Mason McDowell, sports medicine senior, Taylor Henderson, 2017 homecoming queen, Victoria Eskridge-Lybarger, digital arts junior, Sheldon Hawthorne, accounting senior, Asiah Greene, sports management senior, David Matthews, biology senior, Caitlin Koch, athletic training senior, Mitchell Hewitt, sports medicine senior, Marlee Gaddie, business administration senior, Tanner Schartz, theatre senior, Tomunci Whitfield, 2017 homecoming king, and Little Builders princess, Henley Calvin, and prince, Logan Miers. "Homecoming was really fun this year," said Victoria Lybarger, digital arts senior. "With it being a shorter week, it was a fun-packed four days. Being on homecoming court with such great people was awesome. Everyone was just happy to be there." (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)
The tennis team stands in their float's trailer for the homecoming parade. While the tennis fall season is over, they will begin another season in the spring. "The energy on campus is amazing during homecoming and the parade is really awesome because we get to share that energy and excitement with the community," said Meghan Kindred, psychology sophomore. (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)
Kiralyah Jones, freshman outside hitter, dives to bump the ball back to Kansas Wesleyan during the Friday night game. The sets' individual scores, with losses from the Builders, were 19-25; 19-25; 21-25. (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)
Austin Early, senior quarterback, runs the ball during Saturday’s football game against the Bethel Threshers. The Moundbuilders won the game 45-14, bringing in a homecoming victory. "It's always amazing to see everyone come together all week during homecoming and to cap it off with a football win is always special," said David Matthews, linebacker and biology senior. Matthews was crowned homecoming king during the halftime coronation. (Tessa Castor/Staff photographer)
Stephen Le, biology junior, and JC Fuentes, communication junior, share a friendly embrace while attending the bonfire. Fuentes is the new president of eSports and works at the Helpdesk under the cafeteria. "“It was really fun getting to see everyone come together and have fun," said Fuentes. "I enjoyed watching Nicc perform on stage and really liked how big the bonfire got. I do feel like it could’ve been a bit bigger though.” (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)
Keyshawn Wyatt, sophomore running back, takes off after retrieving Early’s handoff. Wyatt hit the 1,000-rushing-yard milestone during the Thresher game. He is the first 1,000 yard rusher for SC in over 20 years. (Tessa Castor/Staff photographer)
Two builders share a pleasant conversation late into the night of the bonfire. Some students stayed far past midnight to celebrate the event. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)
Bryson Guinn, freshman defender, fights to keep the ball in Southwestern’s possession. Men’s soccer lost a tough battle against Tabor on Saturday and fell 0-3. "We were having trouble transitioning from the midfield to the final third," said Bryson Barrett, senior defender. "Also, defensively, we were solid, but the ref was calling some bogus fouls." (Madison Stumbough, Staff photographer)
Members of Discipleship and Worship Outreach walk alongside their float for Saturday's parade. The two groups paired up for their float, constructed at the home of Martin and Cheryl Rude's, faculty. "Our X-Wing fighter took lots of hours of work and stress, but ended up being so much cooler than I could've imagined," said Jonah Robson, marine biology freshman on the Discipleship team. "Being a part of walking it five miles into Winfield at 2 a.m. with a police escort down Highway 77 was an experience I will never forget. The group of people who helped us bring this project to life encompass the true Builder spirit." (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)
The SC student section stands out in Stewart Field House in their Vortex Volleyball Pink-Out clothes. The volleyball team played Kansas Wesleyan University. "It was really fun showing school spirit and pride with my team," said Alexis Gouyton, biology freshman. "It was great getting to cheer for the volleyball girls and getting pumped up." (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)
Hunter Brewer, sophomore running back, works to break away from Thresher defense. Saturday’s game brought the Builders to a 6-2 season record. (Tessa Castor/Staff photographer)
The bonfire shines bright on those who attended late into the night. Members of the Winfield Fire Department were on site before and after the event to ensure there were no injuries or mishaps. "It was a great experience being on the homecoming court this year," said Caitlin Koch, athletic training junior. "I loved the group of us that was involved and I feel like all of us enjoyed being able to represent different activities on one stage together." (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)
Deardin Kelley, junior outside hitter, and Alyxandra Blaker, sophomore middle hitter, leap up to return the ball to the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes. Kelley transferred to SC from Fort Scott Community College. (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)
Joshua Lewis, physical performance and sport studies junior, Christian Terrell, undeclared sophomore, Tsena Morris, computer science freshman, ride on their cross country and track and field float during the Saturday morning parade. The two teams combined for their homecoming activities. "I love the parade because of the community aspect," said Madison Stumbough, religion and philosophy senior. "While the community is at the parade to support Southwestern, we're also able to give back to them by throwing out candy and just showing our faces in public. The parade brings an aspect of joy to the homecoming weekend that I love." (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer)
Sydney Staples, sophomore, and Kari Blattner, junior, race along their 5 kilometer course with energy and speed. At the NAIA Mid-States Classics Kari Blattner finished in eighth with a time of eighteen minutes and twenty-five seconds. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)

Much like other campuses, SC’s homecoming is packed with activities and excitement. This year, Southwestern’s homecoming was particularly busy, taking place over the course of only four days. Despite this, many of the traditions students look forward to continued into the 2018 homecoming festivities, getting students and faculty alike involved.

“Homecoming week is a big part of the culture at SC,” said Anjaih Clemons, director of campus life. “There’s so many traditions, old and new, embedded into the week, and this year was no different.”

Homecoming festivities kicked off at the end of fall break last Tuesday with the annual homecoming service project. The event, set up by the service learning team, featured a guest speaker from SoCe Life, a nonprofit in the south central neighborhood of Wichita. The project was a neighboring event, intended to bring together SC students.

“I think that Neighbor Night was a great way for the entire student body to practice their emotional intelligence with each other,” said Ashleigh Hollis, graduate student. “Students were able to bond and make good connections which helped our student body continue to keep the Builder family strong.”

After the guest speaker, students broke into small groups around Christy Hall to play icebreaker games. The groups then posted photos on Instagram with the hashtag #SCNeighborNight, came together to sing the song “Lean on Me” and gathered in the south Christy parking lot for dinner, provided by Boss Hogs BBQ and College Hill Coffee.

“Neighbor Night was a fun success for our eighth annual homecoming service project,” said Brae Wood, director of Leadership Southwestern. “Pushing students to broaden their idea of service was a challenge but well worth it with the end result of 370 students working to build community and get to know their neighbors. The event was a service to ourselves, but the goal was to get at some real challenges on college campuses of isolation and loneliness.”

The next day was the Lunar Lip-Sync Battle, won by the football team. Thursday’s events included the Deep Space Spelling Bee, Crater Cupcake Wars and Kick Asteroids Kickball.

On Friday, the volleyball team took on Kansas Wesleyan University, losing all three sets and bringing their season record to 18-10.

“It was so awesome to have so many fans at our match against KWU on Friday,” said Catabrean Baumann, senior setter. “We could really feel the love and support. I am proud of the progress our team has made from last year to now, but we have lots of work to do still.”

The music department also held their annual Kaleidoscope Concert at 7:30 p.m., its finale leading to the bonfire, photographed above. The bonfire included a guest speaker, an introduction of homecoming candidates and a performance by Nicc Matthews, accounting junior.

“Being able to not only participate in, but lead and help set the mood for the bonfire that’s been anticipated for the past year was such an awesome experience,” said Laura Podschun, religion and philosophy junior. As an executive of Student Foundation, Podschun assisted in the lighting of this year’s bonfire.

Marissa Evans, middle-level math education junior, also helped light the bonfire. Evans said, “It was great to actually be able to have a bonfire this year. Getting to see alumni and current students come together was really cool. You could really see the love and support that Builder Nation has for one another during Nicc’s performance.”

Saturday’s events kicked off with the Planetary Parade at 9 a.m. on Winfield’s iconic Main Street. This event gave organizations and sports the opportunity to show their artistic skills in float-building.

“The thing I enjoyed most was getting to announce the homecoming court and try to be entertaining – I need lessons,” said Justin Williams, Wallingford resident director. Williams announced the parade. “Many of those students I see as my kids or my little brother or sister. I’ve been able to watch and in many ways help them grow as young women and men. It’s amazing how fast three or four years can fly, but it does at light-speed.”

The parade’s conclusion gave students a few hours of rest before the football game against Bethel College.

The Builder football game against Bethel ended with an SC victory of 45-14, bringing them to a 6-2 overall record for the season.

“I believe we as a team are making history at SC,” said Arthur Anderson, sophomore defensive lineman.

At the game’s halftime, the Homecoming Royalty Coronation took place. David Matthews, biology senior, and Asaih Greene, sports management senior, won king and queen.

“Homecoming has been the best it’s ever been,” said Tanner Schartz, theatre junior. “Not just being on the court, but seeing more Builders come together to create, support each other and show school spirit day after day. The Jinx was most definitely on this week.”

This year’s homecoming activities concluded with the women’s and men’s soccer games against Tabor and the Eternal Quest Game Show. The women’s soccer team beat Tabor 5-2, and the men’s soccer team lost 0-3.

“We scored two goals within the first four minutes of the game and it was 5-0 by halftime,” said Joe Wood, head women’s soccer coach. “The girls played really well. I hope we can do that against Bethany too.”

With tough competitions and student-led events, many student organizations and sports teams battled to win the 2018 From the Mound to the Moon Homecoming Sweeps, led by Student Foundation. The final standings were Lady Builder basketball in first, softball in second and football in third. The social science department won the faculty window decorating contest, judged on Friday.

“Student Foundation and Student Government ensured the student body was engaged during homecoming week and it was nothing short of amazing,” said Clemons. “From cupcake wars to lip sync battle and a new touch to the bonfire, it was evident that the Builder spirit was alive. I’m extremely proud of our students and their hard work in making homecoming a success.”

Student Foundation will continue with their student activities at 9 p.m. on October 24 at Cowley Cinema 8 for Free Movie Night. Students must bring their ID to be admitted and are invited to wear costumes as photos will be taken.

Tessa Castor is a junior majoring in English. You may email her at tessa.castor@sckans.edu.