Originally published June 9, 2019 in The County Press.
By Nicholas Pugliese
Imlay City Middle School physical education teacher Greg Prendergast heard four years ago about the positive effects the “Iron Man/Iron Maiden” contest had for students at Bellville Schools and knew Imlay City kids had what it takes.
Imlay City Middle School’s version of the event featured six individual fitness tests — leg lifts, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, shuttle run and sprint, each scored to top four for male and female students. “In health class we discuss the F.I.T.T. Model — the acronym stands to frequency, intensity, time and type,” said Prendergast. “The benefits are truly up to the individual, but we saw increased confidence and team comradery that came as a result of the Iron Man/Iron Maiden program.”
Each student athlete was able to learn about themselves in different areas of strength, agility and speed and work hard to improve each week. “We heard many times about kids in the contest who were practicing the events at home in order to help improve,” said Prendergast. “We were able to teach the students that it is important to challenge yourself and test your personal limitations. We wanted to open up their eyes to show that anyone can be successful if you dedicate yourself and work hard.”
This year’s contest is the fourth for Prendergast and Imlay City Middle School. A total of 60 eighth-grade competitors took on the challenge in the first year, and that number rose to 68 in the second and 72 total competitors last year. “This year we had another increase with 84 competitors throughout the three weeks,” said Prendergast. “We felt the program was highly successful and cre- ated a buzz in the school and community and has become an annual event as a part of PE and Sport month in May each year.”
This year was extremely competitive, with 17 total individual category winners, said Prendergast. The top three in points for the Iron Maiden were Monique Hoblet, Sidney Livingston and overall winner Delaney Andrez. Andrez won the sprint (3.99 sec), pull-ups (23) and push-ups (42).
For the boys, the Iron Man competition was equally as hard-fought as the Iron Maiden. Evan Shirling and Julian Rojas were runners-up, with Aden Guerrero as the overall winner. Guerrero set a record 58 pull-ups along the way to his Iron Man victory.
“We are proud to work with people who are always willing to step up and give of themselves in order to help our students succeed,” said Prendergast. “We look forward to continuing this event in the upcoming years.”
Prendergast said the school has plans to create a “Records Wall of Fame” and continue to bring in past competitors to be guest judges in the future.