Senior Assassin ends in tie, controversy


Cantrell (left) and Jackson shake hands to end Senior Assassin 2023.

Hank Fleetwood, Editor

NC’s annual Senior Assassin competition wrapped up last month, crowning two champions: Ethan Cantrell and Quintay Jackson. With the first tie since the pandemic-shortened 2020 competition, the agreement brought an end to a competition rife with controversy and troubles.

The uncommon conclusion was not as it seemed, though, as the prize money was split four ways, for a total of $697.85 per person. Kaden Edwards and Jack Herriman, the official runners-up, also received an equal payout.

“I was surprised. It was the Friday before spring break and Quintay and Ethan texted me and Kaden and said they were going to split it four ways,” Herriman said.

“[Jackson and I] wanted to make sure that the people that helped us get to where we were at that moment actually got something out of it,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell collected the most money of any competitor, with an additional $50 for eliminating the most targets (six).

The end of the competition brought some difficulties to both the competitors and the gamemakers.

“At first it was a fun game, and then it turned serious pretty quickly,” Edwards said.

“It did devolve a little bit. People got a lot less honest about it as they got closer to getting the money. People got offered more bribes, stuff like that. It wasn’t as much straight up just shooting somebody; it was a lot of behind the scenes deals,” Herriman said, recalling his struggles eliminating Jackson in the late stages of the game.

Herriman claims to have eliminated Jackson twice, but did not obtain sufficient evidence to satisfy the gamemakers, and Jackson was allowed to continue.

All four of the final competitors echoed Herriman’s sentiment.

“Then at the end, it went from being a game of assassinations to hitman deals, and it was all about the money at the end. And I feel like it kind of ruined the game a little bit,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell had similar struggles with Jackson in the final round, as he too was unable to present enough evidence of an assassination to end the game.

To remedy the issues of contested eliminations and to add a variation to the final rounds, the gamemakers implemented a bracket format, pitting Cantrell and Edwards and Herriman and Jackson against each other, respectively. The change received mixed reviews, including some who argued that it did not fix, but instead exacerbated the conflict between Herriman and Jackson.

“I feel like it was a cool idea because of how March Madness was going on and I liked that, but I feel like it did the opposite of what it was trying to do because the issue was between [Herriman and Jackson]…I feel like it might’ve been more effective to actually just rotate everyone’s targets so that that way, it wasn’t just about deals anymore, or it wasn’t just about the same people fighting over the same thing,” Cantrell said.

The deal to end the game was just one of many made in the competition. Herriman offered free pizza from Bazbeaux Pizza, where he works, to some of his targets, and Jackson agreed to be eliminated by senior Lucia Caluseriu in exchange for a buyback into the next round. Edwards and Cantrell made a deal to send Cantrell into the final round after neither were able to secure an elimination.

Not all of the competition was backroom deals and agreements, but all four final competitors agreed that the game was fun and they had a positive experience.

Edwards felt that his best assassination was senior Vasi Sendelweck.

“I set her up by making her go to private tennis lessons with some of my friends. She bit the bait pretty much and then I eliminated her after her private lessons,” Edwards said.

Cantrell was most proud of his assassination of senior Gianna Alazar.

“…I did camp out outside of the Chick-fil-A I thought she probably worked at but wasn’t totally sure…I had figured out what her car looked like based off of another Senior Assassin post…and I was pretty sure that was her car and I stuck by it and waited her out for four hours and got her when she was done with a closing shift at Chick-fil-A which made it even more of a rewarding experience because I was there until like 11:30 at night on a school night,” Cantrell said.

The final four assassins also had similar thoughts on the skills one needs to succeed in the game. “If you’ve got a good friend group or friends that’ll help you out, that’s nice,” said Jackson.

“I mean you really just have to, I don’t want to use the word ‘be intelligent,’ but you have to have some sort of plan, you can’t just expect that it’s just going to happen,” Cantrell said.

“I just feel like you have to be smart and witty. You have to be on your toes at all times, be alert. But also, it’s a great deal of communicating. It really brings a lot of people at North Central together, just by communicating with each other. People you might’ve never ever talked to, because now you’re trying to find information about somebody you don’t know,” Edwards said.

Luck was also considered a major factor in succeeding in the game.

“I feel like a lot of it has to do with luck of the draw. If you are somebody who’s very popular, a lot of people will know where you live, which will immediately make it harder,” Herriman said.

Some competitors also opted to change their daily routines in order to avoid being eliminated themselves. Herriman and Cantrell parked in their garages, while Jackson made good use of the underwear rule, when it was in effect.

Most of the final four said that their winnings would go to college expenses, and both Cantrell and Jackson said that they planned to give some money to those who helped them along the way.

Gamemakers Grady Hadar and Nate Killeen declined to comment.