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Winners prove they are fit to be named ‘Most Fit Buckeye’ in physical contest

Ripping winds and a crude obstacle course pushed 65 competitors to their physical apexes Sunday, with each competing to claim the title of Ohio State’s “most fit” student.

The university’s inaugural “Most Fit Buckeye” competition, held from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Tower Park, was the result of a tandem effort between faculty from the health and exercise department and the students’ Exercise Science Club (ESC) to create an event that would determine the most fit male and female at the university.

Tony Ward, a fourth-year in pre-physical activity, and Allee Ianni, a fourth-year in exercise science, completed the course with runtimes of 10:35 and 12:40, respectively, and claimed the titles of OSU’s most fit male and female.

“The goal was not to be a really fast marathon runner or a really strong person, but to be the most well-rounded and the most healthy,” said Elan Lieber, ESC president and a third-year in exercise science education. “Our event consisted of strength, flexibility, aerobic fitness and even mental toughness.”

Four athletes in different lanes competed in waves, with each individual striving for the top time. The four men and four women with the best times during the preliminaries competed against each other during the last race of the day for a chance to win an iPad.

While most participants spent time preparing for the event’s obstacle course, 30 mph winds played a surprise factor most had not accounted for in their training.

“The wind was hard because it was almost taking my breath away as I was running,” said Ward, who won an iPad for finishing first. “I could feel my lungs just filling up as I went in (the course).”

The “Most Fit Buckeye Course” challenged participants with a spectrum of obstacles that included a weight sled pull, seated rope and plate pull, flexibility test with a limbo bar, cone drills, lateral jumps, truck tire flips, army crawls, balance drills by walking backwards on a beam, box jumps onto a plyometric shaped box, cerebral testing with a color-match game, two 0.5-mile run sprints and a 100 yard sprint finale.


While the competition cost the ESC around $3,500, Galen said, the group raised $1,250 that will be donated to Pelotonia for the fight against cancer.


“All our money was raised through club funds,” Lieber said. “The student union and the Undergraduate Student Government also helped fund us, so all the equipment we bought we can use for years to come to make this event bigger and better each year.”

Steven Devor, a professor in health and exercise science and faculty adviser for the ESC, also emphasized that the event was OSU-based with no major outside sponsors.

“One of his (President E. Gordon Gee’s) objectives is to make OSU one of the healthiest campuses in the nation, and as an exercise science club, we feel compelled to participate in that,” Devor said. “This is our way of doing that, promoting fitness and activity.”

Though the initial competition has been in development since last spring, the ESC and health and exercise department have already begun engaging talks with other university programs to expand the event into what they hope will become a new university tradition.

“What we’re hoping for in the future, is that we can set up a permanent course on west campus, working with the Recreation Department and actually having this be a year-round event,” said Rick Petosa, a professor in health and exercise science who helped organize and administrate the event. “Also, the school of health and physical activity wants to actually setup a course [class], where you can take the course and train for this event every quarter.”

News of increased competition in the future did not seem to deter Sunday’s champions, however, who are already looking to next year’s event to defend their titles.

“I’m coming back for grad school; I’ll be here next year,” Ianni said. “Train hard, train strong, see you next year.”

Lauren Mruk contributed to this story. 


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 18, 2011

An earlier version of this story stated that OSU’s Exercise Science Club raised $12,050 at the “Most Fit Buckeye” competition. In fact, they raised $1,250.

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