Students gathered at the Dahlonega campus’ Promenade on April 11 to show off their strength and endurance while participating in the Gladiator Gauntlet, which takes place every April. People came to watch students pump their muscles and sweat off some steam — and for more peculiar reasons.
“It’s interesting to watch people suffer,” said Madison Vargas, a sophomore general studies major who was volunteering at the event, run by the University of North Georgia Rec Center.
The students participated in five separate events in which their combined scores determined the winner.
There were five groups divided by weight class: lightweight women, women, lightweight men, middleweight men and heavyweight men. Total, there were 22 men and five women.
The five events were the Tank Pull, Farmer’s Carry, Stone Carry, Log Press and Tire Flip.
Photos by Kirby Kendall
“A golf cart is way easier to pull than an actual tank, I’ll tell you that much,” said Ben Bruce, a sophomore engineering major who participated as a lightweight male.
Participants were timed while pulling a golf cart in neutral down the sidewalk while a volunteer steered the golf cart to ensure it remained straight. If they were unable to pull the golf cart back to their starting position within a minute, the distance of the golf cart would be measured, rather than the time it took them to pull the cart.
Each participant carried dumbbells using only their grip strength. The male participants had one 100-pound dumbbell in each hand while the female participants had 50-pound dumbbells to carry. The participants then walked around a square during a one-minute period. After the minute was up, their total distance traveled was calculated.
“My grip strength isn’t great, but I have to do well on this to win,” said Olivia Manning, a senior kinesiology major who participated in the lightweight women category.
On the sand volleyball court, participants carried a round, concrete stone from one side of the court to the other, and then sprinted back to the other side without the stone. Then, the participant would sprint back, pick the stone back up and carry the stone back to its original position. Female participants carried 50-pound stones, the lightweight and middleweight males carried 115-pound stones and the heavyweight males carried 160-pound stones. The students were scored based on how quickly they completed the challenge.
Participants had one minute to lift a weighted bar with weights on the sides from their chest to above their head repeatedly. The women lifted 65 pounds of weight, the lightweight men carried 115 pounds, the middleweight men carried 135 pounds and the heavyweight men carried 165 pounds. The judge based the student’s score off of the amount of times the participant was able to complete the motion from their chest to over the head.
The 490-pound tire the male participants flipped stumped participants all night. The men had one minute to flip the tire as many times as they could within 90 feet. If they traveled the 90 feet with their tire before the minute was up, it was their time that would be recorded. The women had 60 feet to travel with the tire being half the size of the men.
“I have a lot of things I’d like to say about the tire flip,” said Austin Cleveland, a junior kinesiology major that participated as a middleweight.
Each individual weight class crowned a winner. Rachel Zettler, a senior general studies major, won unopposed in the women’s group. Manning won for the lightweight females. Matt Connor, a senior physical therapy major won for the lightweights and Isaac Searcy took the honors away from all the other middleweights. Nikita Koba, a junior computer science major, was the ultimate heavyweight champion.
“Make every second count,” said Koba, exhausted and out of breath.