Jan. 15, 2013
The Commodores entered the final day of the Omaha Challenge last Thursday with a grueling day in front of them. Facing the Dores on the third day of the challenge were the Baseball Hang, Dumbbell Bench Press and The Obstacle Course.
First up for the squad was the Baseball Hang. The competition is designed to work on the players' upper body strength and grip. Each player could grip the baseballs (which had a cord running between them in order to hang from a squat rack) any way they saw fit and had to hang in the air for as long as possible.
John Norwood edged Zander Wiel by one second to claim the position players' competition with Kevin Ziomek and Luke Stephenson tying for the pitchers' crown. Norwood held himself up for 1 minute, 44 seconds and Ziomek and Stephenson were up in the air for 1 minute, 27 seconds.
The Dumbbell Bench Press followed with the pitchers lifting a pair of 60-pound dumbbells and the position players benching a pair of 80-pound weights. The test was simple, most reps wins. To put the challenge in some perspective, Tony Kemp weighs in at 160 pounds and was essentially bench pressing his weight - which he did 20 times.
The big guns came out to play on the position players side with Conrad Gregor edging D.J. Luna and Spencer Navin by just one rep. Gregor pushed 160 pounds up 28 times for the win. Jared Miller took advantage of his size in the pitchers' competition crushing the field with an amazing 43 reps. Keenan Kolinsky and Philip Pfeifer checked in with 35 reps apiece to tie for second.
Finally, awaiting the Dores after a long three days was what Strength & Conditioning Coach Gabe Teeple calls 'The Granddaddy of Them All' - The Obstacle Course. Coach Teeple cooked up a diabolical course this year with an absolute leg crushing course.
Players started with 10 jabs, 10 body blows and 10 hooks to a tackling dummy moved onto flipping a tractor tire over and back, jumped three hurdles, pushed a 150-pound prowler 20 yards up field using the high bars and 20 yards back using the low bars. The 100-pound med balls made their second appearance of the Challenge with players toting the balls 20 yards down and back before moving on to dragging a 100-pound chain 20 yards and back. The final event in the first 100 yards was perhaps the toughest with 10 box jumps following 100 yards of hard leg work. The final mental and physical test of the entire challenge was 75 yards back down the field and all the way to the top of Vanderbilt Stadium for the finish.
Just reading the list of events in the obstacle course might take some people two minutes or more. Connor Harrell completed the entire course in an unbelievable 1 minute, 59 seconds to earn the event victory. Not far behind though was Gregor checking in at 2 minutes, 3 seconds. Jared Miller, again, dominated the pitchers' event running the course in 2 minutes, 4 seconds. Ziomek finished nine seconds back for second place.
Harrell entered the final day with a slim three-point lead over defending champ Gregor and the champ would not be denied claiming his second straight Omaha Challenge Championship with an 11-point victory over Zander Wiel and Harrell. Jared Miller ran away with the pitchers' competition, winning by 23 points over second place Ziomek and freshman Luke Stephenson.
The team competition featured another comeback with Team Lupo rising to the top to take the title.