UP All-Star Soccer Players shine in Skills Competition

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – The highlight of Day 3 for the UP All-Star Football Players on Wednesday was the Skills Challenge. Events included Fastest Man (40-yard dash), Strongest Man (bench press – 225 lbs), Quarterback Challenge, Receiver Challenge, Punting and Field Goal Kicking. Two players made the all-time record list for their efforts. Chance Bridgers, Hancock, managed 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press, which earned him second place all-time in that category. Hunter Potier, Gladstone threw the ball 58 yards, which was good enough to take second all-time.

For some of the challenges, players were split into two divisions, lineman and non-lineman. The fact that there are two divisions gives these challenges a unique atmosphere as multiple competitions take place within each event. The three split events are: Fastest Man, Strongest Man and Receiver Challenge.

The Players Challenge results are as follows:

Fastest Man (Lineman): Alex Schlemm (Black Team), Marquette, 40-yard dash = 5.49 seconds (electronically timed)

Fastest Man (Non-Lineman): Dryden Nelson (Black Team), Calumet, 40-yard dash = 4.56 seconds (elec-timed)

Strongest Man (Lineman): Chance Bridgers (Black Team), Hancock, bench press = 225 lbs, 25 reps (2nd of all time)

Strongest Man (Non-Lineman): Ryan LaPlaunt (Red Team), Sault, Bench Press = 225 lbs, 11 reps

Quarterback Challenge: Hunter Potier (Black Team), Gladstone, Distance Thrown = 58 yards (2nd of all time)

Receiver Challenge (Non-Lineman): Jestin Matusewic (Red Team), Ironwood

Receiver Challenge (Lineman): George Edington (Red Team), Pickford

Poke: Brenten Belanger (Black team), Negaunee, 46 yards

Field Goal Kicking: Toby Wilcox (Red Team), Kingsford, 40 yards

The Skills Challenge gave the players a much-needed respite from the two training sessions per day. Each event that was run had a gallery of players watching. Everyone gathered around the competitors and cheered them on as they competed. There was some friendly rivalry at each competition, but the atmosphere was informal and all players enjoyed the events. In addition to some local TV and radio media, some parents and fans also came to watch the skills challenges. They could go onto the pitch and take some photos of their favorite players while they were competing. Both teams have the rest of the afternoon free to relax and recover their bodies from the physical strains of training.

Next, the players are hosting a youth camp at the Dome on Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. All children over the age of 6 are invited. The All-Star Banquet is scheduled for Friday at 6:00 p.m. at the University Center.

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