Fitness Center seeks fittest student

By Nader Ihmoud

Strong, athletic and in-shape Columbia and Roosevelt University students flocked to the Fitness Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court, March 13–18 to prove who was the fittest of them all.

The week long Fitness Challenge entailed five straight days of various competitions. The first- through third-place finishers in these matches received points—first place acquired 3 points, second place got 2 and third place acquired 1—and the competitor with the most points at the end of the tournament will be awarded a prize on March 19.

“[The Fitness Challenge] is something that we’ve held every year,” said Mark Brticevich, coordinator of Fitness and Recreation. “It’s a good opportunity for kids to come up and show what they got.”

Although Roosevelt students were invited, the university was on Spring Break so there was a lack of participation on its part, according to event coordinator

Shawn Donoghue.

Women and men had separate brackets and prizes. According to Brticevich, the men’s winner won a Schwinn bicycle provided by American Collegiate Intramural Sports Fitness, while the women’s winner received an iPod Nano donated by the Apple Store. The winners of individual challenges were awarded gift cards.

According to Donoghue, the winners of each event were announced when the Fitness Center closed each night, and the overall champions will be announced March 19.

The event began with the strength competition. Competitors had to bench press a certain weight as many times as possible during one set. Women were tested with 90 pounds and men with 180 pounds. The individual winners were sophomore film major Leo Milano and freshman photo major Mackenzie Hutchins. Milano finished with 20 reps and Hutchins finished with three. She was the only female competitor that day.

On March 14, Donoghue gave a 15-question fitness and health quiz. Junior fine arts major Samsoche Sampson took first place for the men and graduate student Danielle Hoitz for the women. Both answered 13 questions correctly.

“The turnout for the quizzes was great,” said Elize Ramos, fitness leader and junior arts, entertainment and media management major. “We at least had over 20 [competitors]. A lot of people did better than expected, especially after being burned out by midterms.”

The cardio challenge was held the following day. A treadmill was set to 10 mph for the men and 8 mph for the women to see which student had the best stamina.

Cyrille Dossa, junior audio arts and acoustics major, won the challenge for the men with a time of 4 minutes and 17 seconds, while freshman AEMM major Jaclyn Newman beat out her female counterparts with a time of 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

On the fourth day of the challenge, Donoghue designed a training circuit. The students who went through it the most consecutive times won. Senior Music major Joseph LaRocca won the challenge for the men with a time of 7 minutes and 17 seconds, and Hutchins won her second challenge with a time of 9 minutes and 47 seconds.

The final day was the flexibility challange. According to Donoghue, the “sit and reach test” was used to find the most flexible student. The students were given three attempts. Freshman Audio Arts and Acoustics major Corey Wagner and sophomore theater major Scarlet Sheppard.

Donoghue said the challenges were purposefully made to be demanding.

“The prizes are so good,we don’t want any average person to win,” she said. “We want them to work for it.”