STATESBORO, Ga. - As members of the Georgia Southern Football team reconvene to start 2011 preseason camp this week, there will be a few who stand out after the distinction of winning the "Iron Man" contest held by the Strength & Conditioning staff. Right before final exams this past spring, 78 Eagles took part in this test as they competed in the annual "Iron Man" Competition. The "Eagle Creek Survival Course" featured nine events to challenge these student-athletes to put it all on the line, crowning a team champion as well as individual champions in the linemen, linebacker/B-back and skill categories.
The Falcons took the Iron Man title in the spring of 2011 with 2,355.41 points to rank ahead of the Ravens (2,393.57). Junior Terico Agnew (Stockbridge, Ga.), a member of the Falcons, also claimed an individual title with a 3:38.64 for the best time among the offensive and defensive linemen. Kyle Oehlbeck (Gaineville, Ga.) was nearly 16 seconds better than the next individual in the "big skill" category with a time of 3:36.33. Posting the best time for 2011, Boyd Sasser (Millen, Ga.) finished the course in record time with a 3:08.44.
Six teams drafted from the 78 available players who then competed in the Iron Man competition with the players divided into three categories. Staff members set up the course in the morning and then went through it themselves before subjecting the Eagles to it in the afternoon. As they encouraged the Eagles in the weight room and in their workouts, they were there to offer support through their trial, stopwatches in hand.
The Wheelbarrow Carry was the first event in the competition, with chains were placed inside, 270 lbs or 225 lbs, depending on the player category. Individuals had to push the wheelbarrow 30 yards around a cone and then push it back to the starting line. The next item was the "Tire Flip" as a tractor tire needed to be flipped to one side and then the other. Following the "Tire Flip," three "Atlas Stones" were at the next station. The stones had to be picked up off the ground and placed on a platform, each heavier than the last.
After a "Bear Crawl" through a cone obstacle course, medicine balls had to be thrown up and over the individuals head and through the goal post. One of the most difficult parts of the course, the Sled Drag required players to walk backward while pulling the weighted sled. With the leg muscles taxed by the previous event, players advanced to the "Bag Run" where they had to run over blocking bags, lifting their knees to avoid tripping.
With the end of the course in site, players had to carry a 45-lb or 55-lb dumbbell in each hand, with their hands at their sides, in the "Farmers Walk." Walking quickly 40-yards and back, the Eagles ran to build up momentum to the final event, the "Cart Push." Players approached the back of the cart and leveraged their strength to get a golf cart from a standstill to move it 15 yards across the finish line.
"It's fun when it was over and you could watch everyone else go, while you are doing it, it's not a whole lot of fun," said Tom Melton, Assistant Athletics Director for Performance, "We want to see who is going to compete and who is going to lay it all on the line when it comes down to it. There were a couple of guys who really impressed us. It was a tough course. We set it up and we did it ourselves so we know what they are going through, and it is hard."
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