Morning class trains for Backyard Beast

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Army Specialist Zachary Wright, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jody Gardner, Army Pfc. Jaysen Keadle and Army Staff Sgt. Darrell Applewhite Jr. compete in the truck pull event as team AR South during the Back Yard Beast Nov. 2 in the parking garage. AR South was required to pull the truck 30 yards and finished in second place overall in the men’s division of the Back Yard Beast with a final time of 24:33. File

Endurance competition is 10 percent of students’ final grade.

By Alberto Ramirez

Students in KINE 1114, Cardio Boot Camp 1, taught by Instructor Dawn Brooks are training for the Backyard Beast competition April 5.

Completion of the competition will count for 10 percent of the final grade.

“It’s like a final exam in advance,” Brooks said.

The class has existed at least as long as the Backyard Beast event, Brooks said Feb. 26.

The first Backyard Beast was in 2001 on the tennis courts, nicknamed the “backyard,” from which the competition got its name, Coach Linda Casas said.

Because so many students from the boot camp class competed in the first Backyard Beasts and told her how much they learned from them, Brooks made it mandatory to push students who would not otherwise have competed.

Many of them said, “’Thank you for making us do this,’” Brooks said.

Drama sophomore Nikky Sanseeha had no idea about the Backyard Beast when he registered for the class.

“My friend told me to come do boot camp, and I said, ‘All right let’s do this,’” Sanseeha said.

Most students taking the class had some idea of what it entailed.

Nursing sophomore Ariel Sepulveda knew of the instructor and the intensity of the class.

“I had a friend who took Coach Brooks before. He warned me,” Sepulveda said.

The class on Feb. 26 began with a jog from the western edge of campus, between Candler Physical Education Center and Gonzales Hall, to the steps of Moody Learning Center in the mall and back.

When the students completed their warm-up, they broke off into assigned teams and began working at stations preset by Brooks and Casas outside Candler.

“She does a lot of stuff that mimics the Beast,” Chrystal Gutierrez, administrative assistant in student fitness, said.

Some of the challenges in common with the actual competition were tire flips, rope slams, medicine ball tosses and box jumps.

The box jumps were modified to step-ups to avoid students slipping on the boxes because of light rain and mist that morning.

The instructors and students with experience with the competition emphasized the teamwork aspect of each challenge, calling out encouragement and exchanging high-fives when Brooks or Casas blew a whistle to signal time to rotate to the next station.

Fire science sophomore Juzzine Valverde had taken the boot camp class twice.

She felt most prepared when she was registered for the boot camp class and a jogging class in tandem, she said.

“If I had to choose between cardio and strength, I would choose cardio,” Valverde said.

In the past, Valverde said she had seen physically strong competitors fall short because of a lack of conditioning.

For people who could not register for the class, she recommended building up to at least four 30-minute sessions of cardio a week.

“It doesn’t matter what fitness level you’re at. Just come out and give it a shot,” Valverde said.

For more information on the Backyard Beast, contact Gutierrez at 210-486-1010 or kinesiology Professor Martha Stephenson at 210-486-1022.


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