Strength club flexes muscle in Saginaw

Mark Washburn

In April 2014, the National College Fitness League named Grand Valley State the “Fittest Campus in America.” How did that come to be? 

Thank the GVSU strength club.

On Nov. 23, the club won its first Collegiate CrossFit Competition of the year, continuing its success from last season. The Lakers then traveled to take on host Saginaw Valley State, Central Michigan and Ferris State.

GVSU topped the standings with 101 points, followed by rival FSU (88 points), SVSU (71 points), and CMU (60 points). The scoring is time/place based, with partners from schools attempting to complete CrossFit workouts as quickly and effectively as possible.

Sophomore player/coach Adam Marthaler was happy with the Lakers’ first competition of the year.

“Everyone really stepped up and performed well,” Marthaler said. “It was a great weekend overall, and it showed how hard we have been training.”

For freshman Elizabeth Martin, the CrossFit competition was an event she had never experienced before.

“(The Collegiate CrossFit Competition) was my first competition ever,” said Martin. “I was not sure what to expect.”

Martin adapted well, as did the rest of the Lakers in Saginaw.

“I was proud of everyone,” said Marthaler. “It was some people’s first competition ever, and they did well.”

The first competition also proved to be a bonding experience for the team, and senior president Jack Klingbiel took note.

Klingbiel said the competition brought the team together, and that there are a number of positives GVSU can take away from the win.

“The win at Saginaw has given many members a sense of direction that will definitely carry over to the NCFL season this spring,” he said. “I think it gives us a better perspective as to why we train the way we do on a daily basis.”

Training for the team varies from day to day, as CrossFit covers many levels of fitness.

“During practices, we do various workouts, such as walking on our hands,” said Martin. “Then, we save the hard workouts for the end.”

The club was founded in 2013, and has an emphasis on CrossFit. CrossFit focuses on overall fitness, which includes, but is not limited to, gymnastics, powerlifting, Olympic lifting and cardio.

The team hosts four practices a week where they lift and train together in the ICA weight room. On off days, club members normally train individually.

Going forward, GVSU is attempting to arrange more CrossFit competitions with their in-state rivals. Additionally, the Lakers will be heading down to Ohio Northern for an NCFL event next semester.