By Emily Sorensen
After a grueling competition and 150 participants, four Del Norte High School students were named the fittest students in the school Friday, June 7.
The Fittest on Campus contest had the students competing against each other in CrossFit, a popular strength and conditioning workout program, often used by police academies, the military and professional athletes. After a series of competitions, the 150 original students who signed up were whittled down to a final 12, who had their final competition during their lunch period. There were four categories of students, freshman boys, freshman girls, upper class boys and upper class girls, with three students in each category. The finalists were selected that morning in another workout competition.
“They’re all sore, they’re all tired,” said physical education instructor Dale Hanover, who came up with the competition. Hanover is a licensed CrossFit instructor. “[Hanover] is unique to the Poway Unified School District, and to most PE programs in the state, in that he is certified in teaching CrossFit,” said Del Norte High School principal Greg Mizel. Hanover teaches a CrossFit class at school, which has proved to be popular with students. Hanover said next year, the school would offer three classes of CrossFit due to its popularity.
Upper class boy Dan Hardiman, upper class girl Kourtney Jakubowski, freshman boy Reo Yoo and freshman girl Lindsey Kang proved to be the fittest students at Del Norte, after a final, fast-paced nine-minute workout, where they performed six different exercises at a breakneck pace, attempting to get the most repetitions of their exercises in order to win.
The competition was sponsored by CrossFit Barracks, a CrossFit gym in 4S Ranch. Owner Jared San Nichols and his team were at the final competition to judge, and work out alongside the students. The winners were awarded a free month to CrossFit Barracks’s teen program.
The final competition featured three three-minute workouts, with a one-minute break in between each one. Two exercises were performed in each segment, with the goal to be to do 10 repetitions of each workout as many times as possible. The students with the highest total number of repetitions were the winners.
The first set of exercises were “burpee box” jumps, where students had to either jump up on or climb up on a platform and then jump or climb down, and sit-ups. The second was overhead squats, using weights (for the boys) or weighted bars (for the girls), and kettle bell swings. The final set of exercises were push-press and hand-release pushups.
The overall winner was Hardiman, who performed 258 repetitions, the most of anyone. Freshman boy winner Yoo was next, with 248, followed by freshman girl winner Kang with 229, and Jakubowski with 212.
All four winners are athletes, though their reasons for joining the competition varied. “My teacher said we could get out of our [PE] final for this,” said Jakubowski. “It was way harder than I thought, but I stuck with it.”
“I thought that I might as well try it,” said Yoo, a swimmer. “Oh my goodness, you can’t believe how hard it was.”
Kang, a gymnast, agreed with Yoo, saying, “it was a lot harder than I thought. It was the real deal, but it felt good to do it. I didn’t expect to win.”
For Hardiman, the competition was a chance to gain attention for his sport, rugby. “I did it because, as rugby players, we don’t get enough attention as top-tier athletes. I’ve been training on my own [for the competition].”
The student interest in the competition was unexpected, said Mizel. “That there was as much interest in it as there was is great,” said Mizel. “It’s all about health and fitness.”