Challenge Accepted: SSHS linemen head to Austin for state competition

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 10, 2008 - Do you feel like pushing a truck, flipping a tractor tire or dragging a sled? SSHS linemen do.

The guys in the football trenches for the Wildcats will be doing the dirty work on Saturday when they participate in the Texas Lineman Challenge State Championship at Austin Lake Travis High School.

About a dozen Wildcat offensive and defensive linemen will be competing against five other Class 4A teams for the state title. About 30 teams from all five classifications will be competing in separate divisions.

The athletes will take part in a modified strong man competition that tests their strength, agility and speed with eight events: the team truck push, the team tire flip, bench press for reps, sled drag, hand-over-hand sled pull, medicine ball throw, farmers walk and sand-bag load.

The competition will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, with all five divisions going at the same time.

The Wildcats won the 4A division at Garland Lakeview Centennial's state qualifying tournament in May.

Below are the events and how they are conducted:

SLED DRAG - Two lines are drawn 25 yards apart for this event. A sled is used with 100 pounds of weight on it. The front edge of the sled is even with the start of the course. The athlete wears a belt or harness connected to the sled. At the whistle, the athlete pulls the sled as fast as he can for the 25 yards. Five team members participate.

HAND-OVER-HAND SLED PULL - Three lines are drawn for this event. The first two are 15 yards apart. This represents the course for the sled. The third line is drawn five feet behind the second line. The athlete will stay between the second and third lines while pulling the sled, which is loaded with 50 pounds of weight and is connected to 55 feet of rope. At the whistle, the athlete pulls the sled toward him by using the rope. A two-second penalty is assessed if the athlete steps on the line or out of the five-foot area. Each team uses five athletes for this event.

FARMERS WALK - Two long bars with handles are loaded with 135 pounds each. Two lines are drawn 25 yards apart for this event. The athlete picks up a bar in each hand, and at the whistle, walks with them as fast he can to the finish line. Each team uses five athletes for this event.

SAND BAG LOAD - Two lines are drawn 10 feet apart for this event. Ten bags are filled with sand and weigh 50 pounds each. The bags are placed in a row along the first line. A pick-up truck is backed up to the point that the edge of the tailgate, when open, is even with the second line. The athletestands with at least one hand touching the tailgate. At the whistle, the athlete carries the sand bags one at a time and puts them in the back of the truck. A bag must be completely on the tailgate before the athlete can move on to the next bag. Each team uses five athletes for this event.

BENCH PRESS FOR REPS - A bench is set up and the bar loaded to 205 pounds. The bar must touch the athlete’s chest and be completely locked out to count as a rep. The athlete’s buttocks must remain on the bench during the lift. If the press isn’t locked out or the buttocks come off the bench, that particular repetition does not count.Each team uses five athletes for this event.

MEDICINE BALL THROW - One line, measuring five feet long is drawn for this event. The athlete throws a 16-pound medicine ball with any method he chooses as long as he don't cross the line. Each athlete will take two throws. Each team uses five athletes for this event.

TEAM TRUCK PUSH - Two lines are drawn 50 yards apart for this event. The

front end of the truck is even with the front of the course. Five athletesposition themselves at the back of the truck. The driver of the truck puts the truck in neutral with his foot on the brake. At the start, the driver takes his foot off the brake and the athletes push the truck down the course as fast as they can.

TEAM TIRE FLIP - Two lines are drawn 20 yards apart for this event. The front edge of the tire is even with the start of the course. The athletepositions himself with both hands on top of the tire. At the whistle, he flips the tire down the course until it has crossed the line and is on the ground. At this time, the next athlete will take the tire back down the course. This will continue until all six athletes have made a trip down the course. Rolling or carrying the tire is not permitted.

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