On the afternoon of Saturday, May 4, excitement surrounded Colorado College’s Washburn and Stewart fields. Students and alumni, dressed in head-to-toe “flair,” played soccer and lawn games while eating burgers and hot dogs, making the fields feel like a community barbecue or picnic. However, those on Washburn and Stewart fields were not just there to have fun or hang out. Instead, they were playing to raise money for cancer research, while celebrating the lives of former CC lacrosse players Chris Quon ’09 and Evan Spirito ’10.
Colorado College’s Quony Cup is an annual soccer tournament open to all students, alumni, and community members. Started by Quon in 2008, the tournament was originally named “Answer to Cancer,” with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Quon created the tournament in honor of his grandfathers who struggled with cancer. The tournament took on a new meaning in 2009 when Quon’s teammate, Spirito, was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.
When Quon passed away in 2009, his CC friends decided to continue the tournament in honor of Quon. They renamed the event the Quony Cup, which is what Quon originally wanted to name it. The tournament partnered with the Christopher Quon Foundation, started by Quon’s family, and continued to donate all proceeds to the American Cancer Society. In 2011, Spirito lost his battle with cancer and passed away. Quon’s family decided that the tournament should honor both Quon and Spirito. Both their jerseys currently hang in the CC men’s lacrosse locker room and their jersey numbers, 21 for Quon and 19 for Spirito, are included on t-shirts sold at the tournament.
Though current CC students probably never met Quon or Spirito, the community continues to participate in the tournament. Hosted by Colorado College Intramurals, the tournament allows a max of 24 teams in a 7 v. 7 format. Current Colorado College soccer and lacrosse players act as referees during the games, while members of the Colorado College volleyball team work the grill and music. Other members Colorado College Athletics always find a way to participate in the tournament despite their busy schedules. Teams at the tournament included current members of the Colorado College Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Ice Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse. Current varsity soccer players also played in the tournament, though there was a limit to two current varsity players per team.
This limit did not apply to the alumni team and 2019 Quony Cup champions, Deuce, which featured former Colorado College Men’s and Women’s soccer players who flew back to play in the tournament. Every year, an alumni team is formed and typically consists of former Colorado College athletes who knew Quon and Spirito. Along with the Quon and Spirito families, who also come back every year for the cup, the alumni team brings a different dimension to the cup. For them, the tournament is not just a chance to play soccer in wacky costumes or hang out with friends while supporting a worthy cause, it’s for Chris and Evan.