MARQUETTE, MI – The highlight of day three for the U.P. All-Star football players Wednesday was the Skills Challenge. Events included the Fastest Man (40 yard dash), the Strongest Man (Bench Press), Quarterback Challenge, Receiver Challenge, Punting and Field Goal Kicking. Two players made it into the Top Three All-Time in their events, with one of them tied for an All-Time Record. The South won six of the competitions while the North won three. Aeron Forsberg, from Menominee, was the only multiple-event winner, taking the Overall Fastest Man and the Receive Challenge.
For some of the challenges, the players were split into two divisions, lineman and non-lineman. Having two divisions gives those challenges a unique atmosphere, as there are several competitions taking place within each event. The three events that are split are: Fastest Man, Strongest Man and Receiver Challenge.
Results for the Players Challenge are as follows:
- Fastest Man: Aeron Forsberg, Menominee, 40 yard dash = 4.584 seconds (electronic timed)
- Fastest Man (Lineman): Ben Larsen, Escanaba, 40 yard dash=4.861 seconds (electronic timed)
- Strongest Man (Lineman): Nathan LaJoie, Sault Ste Marie, Bench Press = 225 pounds, 8 repetitions
- Strongest Man (Non-Lineman): James Cryderman, St. Ignace, Bench Press = 225 lbs, 19 reps: Tied 1st All-Time
- Quarterback Challenge: Justin Jurek, Gladstone, Distance Thrown = 55 yards
- Receiver Challenge (Non-Lineman): Justin Jurek-Gladstone won the Receive Challenge. That makes Jurek the only winner of 2 events (Longest throw and receive challenge).
- Receiver Challenge (Lineman): Hunter Ridley, Negaunee
- Punting: Andy Cooper, Munising, 61 yards: 3rd All-Time
Field Goal Kicking: Danny Willman, Iron Mountain, 45 yards
The Skills Challenge gave the players a much-needed rest from the grind of two practices per day. Each event which was performed had a gallery of players watching. . Everyone was gathered around the competitors, cheering them on while they competed. There were some friendly rivalries within each competition, but the atmosphere was casual and all the players enjoyed the events. In addition to some local television and radio media in attendance, there were also some parents and fans that came by to watch the skills challenges. They were able to get on the field and take some pictures up close of their favorite players while they competed. Both squads have the rest of the afternoon off to relax and let their bodies recover from the physical stress of practice.
The players will next travel to Bay Cliff Health Camp Thursday afternoon, and the All-Star Banquet is set for Friday at the University Center, 6PM. Lastly, there will be one youth football games on Saturday morning before the All-Star Game. Kickoff for the youth game is noon.