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Yachting club hosts WTH Con at Guilford

Senior Jared Willis (right) fights Patrick Haugh, a junior from UNCG, during the Ampguard, or foam weapon, tournament. Willis cosplayed as Geralt from The Witcher video game series. Photo by Abe Kenore/Guilfordian

On March 3-5, nerds invaded Guilford College campus.

Members of the Greensboro community arrived cosplay-clad to attend the Yachting Club’s annual “What The Hell?!” Con. Hosted in Dana Auditorium and Duke Hall, the convention dedicated to all things geeky was first held in 2001. Attractions included rooms dedicated to board and card games, anime and bad movie showings and various vendors.

This year’s “What The Hell?! Con” was organized by junior Laura Navey and sophomore Olivia La Ganza. Planning for the convention began back in spring 2016.

“It’s a big event, so it has been (stressful),” La Ganza said. “Laura and I work very well together, and everyone in the club has been pitching in to make it a great weekend.”

The convention’s theme was Heroes versus villains. Superhero-themed prizes were given away, and many guests arrived in hero- or villain-themed cosplay.

An anticipated event at the convention is the “Iron Chef” competition, in which contestants must create a dish with random food items. Fitting in with the convention’s theme, competitors were tasked with making a “super serum” drink.

“I always look forward to the ‘Iron Chef’ competition because I love the Food Network more than I love myself,” Navey said. “People get to make some weird food in order to win cool prizes.”

One of this year’s special guests was Pineapple-Shaped Lamps, an improv comedy troupe from Wilmington. They put on a sketch show and two audience-involving routines.

“(Pineapple-Shaped Lamps) are the funniest, nicest people,” Navey said. “Their act last year was a pretty big hit.”

The guest of honor was internet personality SungWon Cho, also known as ProZD. Cho, a voice actor who creates short comedic videos, hosted a panel and Q&A session in which he discussed voice acting, the creative process and internet and nerd cultures with convention-goers. Topics included anime, his cats and Mario fan fiction.

Cho also talked about the importance of sticking to artistic endeavors and the unorthodox way he attained internet fame.

“My first big thing was Goofy covers,” Cho said. “I would do covers of songs like ‘Bring Me to Life’ (in Goofy’s voice). I did those for fun in my car and thought, ‘Well, maybe someone will think this is funny.’”

Other events included video game tournaments, a Magic: The Gathering draft and the annual geek auction.

“The geek auction is always fun,” said junior Madison Stranahan. “It involves cosplayers who are over 18 standing on the Dana Auditorium stage and being bid on for a dance. It’s always entertaining, and the money goes to a good cause.”

According to senior Ward Sandberg, “What The Hell?! Con” is a venue to meet people in nerd communities.

“It’s great being around nerdy people,” Sandberg said. “The nerd culture community is kind of small. We gather in tight groups, so it’s very nice to have these large gatherings.”

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