“That massage was awesome,” was the consensus from the athletes.
Now in its third year, the Spartan Challenge once more returns to Rocori High School. About 225 male and female athletes from schools in the surrounding area were on hand to test their mettle in events for lifting, jumping and sprinting.
“The event has had very positive responses each year, and we are trying to increase our attendance numbers each summer,” said Coach Jake Zauhar. Attendance has more than doubled since 2012.
Also returning once again is Michelle Willenbring, massage therapy program chair at the Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud, along with five of her students. This year they are offering quick pre-, inter-, and post-sport massages for the athletes in between events. Even before they started setting up, the athletes were already lining up for massages. Once they started, there was little downtime for the massage students. The massages lasted four to five minutes and allowed athletes to return multiple times throughout the competition.
“This is good hands-on experience for the students. They get to travel and engage clients in a fast-paced event,” said Michelle. The line was never ending, and the massages became a necessity for some athletes. In all, they were averaging 20-25 athletes per hour and administered slightly under 500 massages!
The Spartan Challenge itself was once again an astounding success. Coach Zauhar said that early on, records from last year were already being broken and they would be handing out more medals than the previous years. In each of the events there were strong showings from both male and female athletes.
Coleen Weber, massage therapy student, returned for her second time and recognized athletes from the previous year. She enjoys the experience and hopes to return again, even after she graduates.