Fitness hopefuls strive to run, jump, swim to gold

By Molly Dunn

With their eyes on the prize, leaders of the American Collegiate Intramural Sports (ACIS) National Fitness Challenge team at Baylor are determined to win first place at this year’s competition.

Van Davis, assistant director for fitness and nutrition education at the McLane Student Life Center, has coached the team for the last three years and wants to bring Baylor the gold this year.

“For the last two years, Baylor University has come out second place in the ACIS National Fitness Challenge,” Davis said. “This year our goal is to go and bring home the trophy. With all of that hype and a big goal set, we want to make sure the students know about it and come be a part of the fitness challenge.”

Throughout this week, students of all fitness levels are invited to participate in the preliminary section of the fitness challenge. The tests include sit-ups, pushups, standing broad jump and the sit-and-reach flexibility test.

“These prelims events are just to qualify Baylor to nationals and how we qualify is by the number of students that participate in it on our campus,” Davis said.

Students who do not wish to advance to the national competition team of two men and two women will only do each test for 30 seconds. If students want to compete at the national level, their tests will be at one minute intervals.

“What we will do is look at the numbers, look at the results from the prelims for the people that say they would like to compete nationally. We will choose the best of the best and ask them to come back to the fitness challenge finals,” Davis said.

The next set of events occur Wednesday and includes swimming one length of a pool, a one mile run and a 2.5 mile bike ride in the cycling room. Men will then do regular chin pull-ups while women do a chin hang. After these individual tests, everyone will compete in an obstacle course.

If they are fit and they want to go and have a chance to represent Baylor University, we want to take those individuals and test them out because of the events that they will be doing, they are doing them nationally,” Davis said.

Silsbee senior Kyle McGallion has competed nationally for Baylor the past two years and said he believes Baylor can win first place this year.

“It is possible. It all comes down to your team composition,” McGallion said. “You have to have a balanced team to get first, kind of strong, kind of fast. Once you have that, then it is possible.”

Davis decided to hold the preliminary events earlier this year to allow those who will be on the national team to have more practice time together.

“The reason it is early is because a lot of people are working out before spring break and they are in pretty good shape,” Davis said. “Once we pick our team, then after spring break, the group will almost have a month and a half to work out together and to go and be prepared.”

The National Fitness Challenge will be held April 30 in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the United States Air Force Academy.

One of the female participants from last year’s national team, Houston sophomore Caroline Cobb, said she loved being able to go to nationals in Colorado.

“I was a freshman at the time and so that was real intimidating being the youngest person,” Cobb said. “It was just a really exciting experience going to a different state, meeting people from all different schools and really just seeing and coming up against a lot of athletic ability.”

Cobb may have been one of few freshmen competing at nationals, but she was named the female most valuable player last year and encourages students to participate in the preliminary challenges.

“It’s a lot of fun even if you don’t win. There’s nothing to lose going out for it,” Cobb said.

In order to help Baylor qualify for nationals, the first step is to have as many students as possible participate in the preliminary challenges. Davis wants the student body to help Baylor qualify by participating in the challenges.

Interested students should talk to the fitness staff in the McLane Student Life Center if they would like to participate in the preliminary fitness challenge activities.