UConn team wants to “get wings” in Red Bull Challenge

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UConn undergraduates are putting themselves one step closer to the craziest adventure of a lifetime, the “Red Bull Can You Make It?” challenge. Teams of university students from all over the world to reach the finish line in Berlin using Red Bull as their only form of currency.  Photo provided by Sanchi, MabrySmith and Stone

UConn undergraduates are putting themselves one step closer to the craziest adventure of a lifetime, the “Red Bull Can You Make It?” challenge. Teams of university students from all over the world to reach the finish line in Berlin using Red Bull as their only form of currency. Photo provided by Sanchi, MabrySmith and Stone

Three University of Connecticut undergraduates are in the final round of the international “Red Bull Can You Make It?” challenge, putting them one step closer to the craziest adventure of a lifetime.  

The team is comprised of Maura Sanchi, a fourth-semester environmental science major, Maizey MabrySmith, a fourth-semester environmental science major and Zachary Stone, a sixth-semester electrical engineering major. As of Feb. 24, they are ranked No. 35 in the United States, Sanchi said.  

The “Red Bull Can You Make It?” challenge is a seven-day challenge where teams of university students from all over the world travel through a series of checkpoints in Europe to the finish line in Berlin, Sanchi said. The catch is, the only form of currency team members can use is Red Bull. 

Sanchi, MabrySmith and Stone’s Red Bull Challenge audition video

“Teams have no phones and no currency and instead have to trade cans of Red Bull with the public for food, shelter and transportation,” Sanchi said.  “The team that makes it to Berlin with the most points wins.”  

The team learned about the competition during their participation in UConn Outing club, Sanchi said. Their shared love of adventure, and the fact that two of three just got passports, led them to become the only team to apply from UConn.  

“Being members of the Outing Club, we’re always trying to get out and challenge ourselves, and this is a lot of distance, thousands of kilometers, to cover without many real resources, or any kind of dependable plan,” Sanchi said. “We really appreciate the opportunity Red Bull is providing for college students to experience travel in a new way and are excited to possibly put our will to the test.”  

In order to apply, teams had to make a one minute video capturing what makes them fun and why those should be chosen for the challenge, according to Sanchi. The video — called Team Irrational Decisions — showed the team in togas trying to save a fictional kingdom by going on a quest with Red Bull and a map. The video appeared on the Red Bull website, and the public had to vote for the team for them to advance.

At the end of the public voting period, the 104 entries with the most votes from the United States become eligible for final team selection, according to the Red Bull website.  A panel of judges will then select 15 teams from the United States to compete. Worldwide, it has been narrowed down to 1,237 finalists.  

The 15 teams from the United States will be against 185 other teams that come from across the world. Sanchi said their team is hopeful that they will be one of the 15. They will learn if they are partaking in the challenge on March 9.  

“The plan is to dive in and enjoy the journey [if we make it to the final stage].” Sanchi said.  “Nothing about this challenge is predictable. We’re going to study up on some basic language skills, prepare the hitching thumbs and leave it all in the hands of the strangers we meet.” 


Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.philipson@uconn.edu.

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