MARQUETTE, MI – The highlight of day 3 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.
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: Garrett Pentecost, Marquette, 40 yard dash = 4.490 seconds (electronic timed): 2nd All-Time
Fastest Man (Lineman): Jacob Finegan, Ishpeming, 40 yard dash=5.123 seconds (elec. timed)
Strongest Man: Joe Varney, West Iron County, Bench Press = 225 pounds, 20 repetitions: 3rd All-Time
Strongest Man (Non-Lineman): Jacob Wells, Gwinn, Bench Press = 225 pounds, 16 repetitions: 2nd All-Time
Quarterback Challenge: Tanner Maccoux, Menominee, Distance Thrown = 57 yards: Tied 1st All-Time
Receiver Challenge: Jeff Gregory, Kingsford
Receiver Challenge (Lineman): Dan Lipponen, Sault Ste Marie
Punting: Kasaim Koonala, Marquette, 53 yards
Field Goal Kicking: Mitch Crothers, Marquette, 30 yards
The Skills Challenge gave the players a much-needed rest from the grind of two practices per day. Each event that was performed had a gallery of players watching. Everyone was gathered around the competitors, cheering them on while they competed. Both squads came back in the evening for another practice, which was shorter and focused on special teams assignments and some of the other often overlooked parts of the game.
The West team finished with a fun game that pitted their offense vs defense, with the losing squad having to jump in Lake Superior. Following the contest, the whole team marched down to the beach, and the offense “took their medicine” by all taking a dip in the chilly waters. It was quite the spectacle to see that many bodies splashing around in the shallows at the same time! Overall, it was another example of one of the teams forging stronger bonds that can only help them in the game Saturday.
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, the Underclassmen Combine will take place on Saturday morning at 9AM, before the All-Star Game.