By Jill Miller
Excitement fills the room. Crowds cheer. Music plays. Competitors take their places across the floor. “Union’s Most Fit” competition has begun.
On Nov. 1, Wellness Services introduced “Union’s Most Fit” in the small gym in the Penick Academic Complex. The competition was open to men and women.
Top winners were Heath Thompson and Whitney Kramer.
Jake Ryan took second place for the men, and Jessica Gray and Sara Weir tied for second place for the women.
Adam Reinhard took third place for the men, and Kyli Hoskins took fourth place for the women, because second place was a tie.
All qualifiers received a T-shirt.
First place winners received a $50 gift card, second place winners earned $25 gift cards, and third place winners won a $10 gift card.
In the past, “Strong Man” competitions have taken place but have not been open to women.
With the exception of the farmer’s walk, the events included in the “Most Fit” and “Strong Man” competitions were different.
The “Strong Man” competition focused on strength, testing bench press and leg press strength. The “Most Fit” competition, however, tested a person’s endurance as well as physical strength.
“I wanted to create an event that created interest among both men and women,” said Blake Pennington, director of Wellness Services. “High intensity interval training is on the rise in the fitness world, so I wanted to see if I could create an event that matched well with that type of training.”
Before they could compete, participants had to participate in qualifying rounds held Oct. 29-31 in the Wellness Center.
Pennington said the two tests during qualifying rounds included pushups and timed jump rope. He took the total number of pushups done and added that to the number of jumps done in 60 seconds. The top six men and the top six women qualified to compete in the “Most Fit” competition.
Males were Jake Ryan, Heath Thompson, Josh Cox, Adam Reinhard, Gentry Hampton and Brandon Churchill. Females were Whitney Kramer, Jessica Gray, Kyli Hoskins, Sara Weir, Eliza Clark and Chesney Monroe.
Four events tested the strength and endurance of the participants.
First, they had to do as many consecutive pushups as possible. Next, they had two minutes to jump rope as many times as they could.
The third competition was the farmer’s walk, in which contestants had to carry weights as far as they could. The men carried 80 pounds in each hand, while the women carried 45 pounds in each hand.
Finally, participants competed in the wall sit, where they had to hold their positions as long as they could without moving.
Pennington said one of the goals of the event was to promote healthy competition among Union’s community, a sentiment echoed by participants.
“I played a lot of high school sports, and I miss the competition,” said Heath Thompson, senior sports medicine major. “You just want to see what you can do, get out there and mix it up a little bit.”
Jessica Gray, senior nursing major, said she knew all of the women she was participating with and just wanted to compete with them.