Winners Announced at Russ Berrie Institute’s 11th Annual National Sales Challenge at William Paterson University’s Cotsakos College Of Business

The Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales (RBI) at William Paterson University’s Cotsakos College of Business hosted the 11th Annual National Sales Challenge, an intense series of selling competitions and workshops held at the University’s campus in Wayne from November 15 to 17, 2017.

More than 100 college students representing 34 universities from across the country, as well as from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, participated in the competition.

The competition is designed by the University’s Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales to strengthen students’ sales skills and offer them an opportunity to network with business executives from companies around the country who will judge the events and serve as sponsors.

“Our sponsors continue to pick William Paterson’s National Sales Challenge as the premier national sales competition because of our campus setting, top-quality sales talent and student engagement,” says Prabakar Kothandaraman, executive director and professor in the Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales. “We’re also proud this year to have William Paterson senior Conor Labita win the Speed Sell Championship, which is the University’s first victory in this category since the competition began 11 years ago.”

Competitions included the sales role-play event, which used a selling situation from sponsor Complete Document Solution-Xerox, and a speed-selling competition, which requires students to rotate through tables seated with company executives to pitch themselves for two minutes for a generic job.

Winners are as follows:


1st Place – Illinois State University; team members are Mackenzie Riechers and Olivia Parker

2nd Place – University of Central Florida; team members are Jacob Samoranski and Elizabeth Drivas

3rd Place – Purdue University; team members are Morgan Vastag and Heather Fils

4th Place – University of Texas at Dallas; team members are Ashley Varela and Ali Kassam


1st Place – Olivia Parker of Illinois State University

2nd Place – Morgan Vastag of Purdue University

3rd Place – Christopher Aday of the University of North Alabama

4th Place – Mackenzie Riechers of Illinois State University


1st Place – Conor Labita of William Paterson University

2nd Place – Morgan Vastag of Purdue University

3rd Place – Canyon Mueller of Western State Colorado University

4th Place – Olivia Parker of Illinois State University

Speed Selling Alternate Champion – Mandy Engelman of High Point University


1st Place – Jacob Samoranski of the University of Central Florida

2nd Place – Brandon Doering of North Dakota State University

3rd Place – Emi Facer of Utah State University

4th Place – Mackenzie Riechers of Illinois State University

Participating schools for 2017 are:

  • Baylor University
  • Bloomsburg University
  • Clarkson University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Farmingdale State College
  • Georgia Southern University
  • High Point University
  • Illinois State University
  • James Madison University
  • Metropolitan University of Denver
  • Morehouse College
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Penn State Harrisburg
  • Plymouth State University
  • Purdue University
  • Salisbury University
  • Siena College
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • St. Catherine University
  • Temple University
  • University of Arkansas – Little Rock
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Central Oklahoma
  • University of Louisiana-Lafayette
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of North Alabama
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Texas-Arlington
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Utah State University
  • Western State Colorado University
  • William Paterson University

The National Sales Challenge was held in the Russ Berrie Professional Sales Laboratory, a unique computerized multimedia facility that simulates business office environments in the University’s 1600 Valley Road building. William Paterson offers a bachelor of science degree in professional sales through the Department of Professional Sales, and provides training programs for sales professionals in the Laboratory.

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