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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football program concluded its winter conditioning program by holding its 29th annual Bulldog Challenge "Lift-A Thon" fundraising event Friday (March 25) evening at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
The event included all current team members and it marked the second-straight year in which the "Bulldog Challenge" format took place.
The "Bulldog Challenge" consisted of a competition between team position groups. The events included the bench press, pro shuttle run, 20-yard sprint, tug of war along with a talent and entertainment show. A points system determined the winning group.
"Overall, we had a lot of competition," said FSU head coach Jeff Pierce. "Tonight gave our guys an opportunity to show what they did in the off-season and it also let them grow a little closer together as a football team.
"It was another successful event and a nice lead in to spring football," he added.
The entire team competed in the bench press with selected individuals taking part and representing various position groups in the other events. The representatives for the pro shuttle and sprint events were determined based on winter testing results this past week.
This year's overall winning position group consisted of the tight ends, quarterbacks and fullbacks for the second consecutive year. Senior offensive lineman Jake Hancock and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Garrett Woods both turned out a team-high tying 35 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press.
In the overall points race, the offensive unit defeated the defensive unit 74 points to 73 points on the night. The talent contest was claimed by the llinebackers while redshirt freshman linebacker Josh Batkins was the individual winner in terms of dollars raised during the lift-a-thon portion of the event.
Winners were also determined by groups in the bench press, pro shuttle and 20-yard sprint events.
Group pairings included the wide receivers/kickers/H-Backs, the defensive backs, the TE/QB/FB, the linebackers along with the offensive line and the defensive line.
A nice crowd of fans, alumni, parents and friends turned out for the event with this year's lift-a-thon being sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings.
The FSU Football Lift-A-Thon, which serves as a primary fundraiser for the Bulldog Football program, is operated in conjunction with the FSU Gridiron Club and the Bulldog Athletic Association. It was developed in 1982 and contributions to the Lift-A-Thon directly benefit the Bulldog football program
Ferris State is now tentatively slated to begin spring drills on Thursday (March 31) if weather permits.