A Kansas-based CiCi’s Pizza employee has won the company’s inaugural Pizza Throwdown, held last week in Frisco, Texas.

Elizabeth Cruz, of Roeland Park, Kan., earned the grand prize of $2,500, a 47-inch Samsung LED TV and the Crystal Pizza Cutter for her efforts that yielded 17 pizzas, two desserts and CiCi’s entire buffet rotation in 25 minutes and 29 seconds.

Martin Caballero from Lynchburg, Va., was the first runner-up and was awarded “Best Quality.” He earned $1,500 and a Play Station 3 with Motion.

The second runner-up, Martin Gallegos of Terrell, Texas, won $1,000 and an Xbox 360; and the third runner-up, Alvaro Patino of Shreveport, La., won $500 and an iPod Touch with speakers.

The contest, which began in November with more than 300 contestants, judged the contestants’ mastery in multiple areas: quality pizza assembly (including dough stretching, seasoning coverage and cutting), speed, accuracy and the ability to keep CiCi’s famous pizza, pasta, soup, salad and dessert buffet stocked while providing a welcoming atmosphere for guests.

The top four contestants in the preliminary rounds, named in December, competed in the Pizza Throwdown Finals.

“Watching the skill and precision these four team members brought to the CiCi’s Pizza Throwdown competition energized the entire company,” said Mike Shumsky, CiCi’s Pizza CEO. “Team members like these finalists are why CiCi’s can consistently give guests a positive experience, and the Throwdown gave us an opportunity to give our team members the appreciation they deserve.”

The full competition results are as follows:

Overall competition

  • Elizabeth Cruz: 25 minutes and 29 seconds
  • Martin Caballero: 26 minutes and 14 seconds
  • Martin Gallegos: 26 minutes and 43 seconds
  • Alvaro Patino: 28 minutes and 28 seconds
  • Fastest dough stretching – Elizabeth Cruz, 3 minutes and 37 seconds
  • Fastest sauce and cheese time – Martin Gallegos, 4 minutes and 38 seconds
  • Fastest cook time – Martin Caballero, 4 minutes and 50 seconds
  • Best quality – Martin Caballero

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