September 18, 2020

Classic Signals: Student sets food record

By Elise Schoening
Features Editor

Every week, Features Editor Elise Schoening hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

With The Lion’s Den now closed for renovations, students will be turning to other dining alternatives on campus. Most will likely grab lunch at Eickhoff Dining Hall or the Library Café. But in 2005, one student drove all the way to Clearfield, Pa., for a burger. This was not your average hamburger, however, and the College freshman ended up on “Good Morning America” and all over Internet blogs soon after for finishing the six-pound meal in a record amount of time.

Who knew downing a six-pound hamburger in just under three hours could be someone’s claim to fame? Kate Stelnick, freshman early education major, certainly never dreamed it would be hers.

Weighing in at only 115 pounds, Stelnick showed just how deceiving appearances can be when she was the first person to ever win a Pennsylvania pub’s long-standing challenge to eat a six-pound burger topped with five pounds of fixings. If that’s too much food for thought, imagine 24 Burger King Whoppers.

After seeing the colossal burger advertised on the Food Network, Stelnick, a Princeton native, was so convinced she could eat it that she urged three of her friends from the College to join her for the five-hour drive to Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pa.

“I told my friends to not let me give up,” she said. True to their word, fellow freshmen Catherine Flannery and Randy Reali, along with junior Erik Cheng, cheered her on through the end, which was just six minutes before time was up. “They joke that there’s a fat kid living inside me,” she said.

Stelnick’s feat earned her guest spots on “Good Morning America,” “The Tony Danza Show” and radio shows across the country, not to mention a slew of other enticing offers, and made her the subject of many Internet blog postings. A Google search of her name turns up over 10,000 Websites touting her achievement a few even have marriage proposals.

“It’s unbelievable,” Stelnick said. “I like all the attention, but honestly, enough is enough. All I did was eat a hamburger.”

Kate Stelnick is the kind of 18-year-old not afraid to take on a challenge as daring as skydiving or as crazy as burger-eating competition. And once she sets her mind to it, there’s no turning back. That’s why she wouldn’t let hundreds of miles, her parents’ disapproval (she didn’t tell them about the trip) or doubtful onlookers in the pub stand between her and her goal.

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