Kevin Kordalski í11 has a lion of an appetite

There are probably a lot of people at The College of Wooster that think they could eat, say, 50 macaroni and cheese balls in six minutes. But only one has actually done it.

Kevin Kordalski í11, has recently discovered that he has a knack for competitive eating. And heís good. Really good.

It started last year, when a friend of Kordalskiís, an amateur chef, began cooking delicious food that he could magically make disappear. His vanishing act encouraged the two to prove to everyone that Kordalski really had a skill.

They began to Google local eating competitions for Kordalski to enter. His first competition was in May of 2008 and he even surprised himself by his impressive performance, devouring two pounds of fudge brownies in just over six minutes. This was only the beginning of what now has become the career of ìThe Lion,” member of the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters and now recent runner up of the second Annual College Eating Championship.

Browsing through the Web site of other Independent Competitive Eaters there are names like Mark ìThe Human Vacuum” Lyle, Paul ìMore Please” Eden and Elizabeth ìRubber Gut” Canady.

So where did Kordalski get his nickname? It was his Discovery Channel-watching brother who coined the nickname, having noticed first the resemblance in facial hair, and then their similarities in aggressive and shameless eating habits.

The Wooster Sophomore now holds the rank of 13th among the national league of over 200 ìFood Warriors.”

Even though he has always been a big eater, the competitive world isnít easy. Kordalski is unable to choose what he will be eating for each competition, as the food selection is usually made in accordance with a festival at which the competition is being held. The food varies at each competition from steaks, hot dogs, ice cream and pizza to oysters, ramen noodles, pancakes, chicken wings and burritos.

Moreover, the unappetizing way in which these mass amounts of food are prepared makes it surprising that none of these foods have been ruined for The Lion.

With seven competitions under his belt at this point, Kordalski realizes that eventually his days of shoveling 10 pulled pork sandwiches into his mouth in eight minutes, or 15 pierogies in three minutes, will be gone.

But he hasnít quite finished eating yet, and with his accumulating prizes, why should he be? Thus far he has mostly won cash prizes, but sometimes he is awarded trophies or an occasional unexpected limo ride. Most recently, his all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego, Calif. for the National College Eating Championships and second place ranking for macaroni and cheese ball consumption landed him with a prize of $500.

As a now experienced chow-downer, Kordalski has picked up a few tricks of the trade. His strategy is to stay constant throughout each competition, being sure not to eat too much too early.

To prepare, Kordalski usually runs and is careful not to eat too much directly before participating. His pre-competition strategy seems to work well, because he doesnít vomit after competitions. In fact, after eating 154 grams of hamburger, the equivalent of 13 regular-sized hamburgers in eight minutes, as he did last July in Akron, he likes to go out and have an ice cream as dessert.