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Linemen take their turn in the spotlight

Tigers, Wolves battle other squads at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge
by: Dan Brood SUPER STRONG — Jarrad Schulte, a Tigard High School senior-to-be, powers the weight up during the tire flip competition at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge.

TUALATIN - Most of the time, they're in the trenches.

They battle one another. They're either trying to open up a hole or to bring down a ball carrier.

They often are mired in obscurity.

But, on July 23 at Tualatin High School, it definitely was time to shine for the linemen.

It was a day of competition, camaraderie, respect and brute strength as high school offensive and defensive linemen took the field at the second-annual Metro Area Linemen Challenge.

The event featured teams of linemen from eight high schools, including both Tigard and Tualatin.

'It's cool to see all of these linemen out here,' Tualatin High School junior-to-be Konner Cook said during the competition. 'It's cool for the linemen to get recognition.'

'We're here to make a statement,' Tualatin senior-to-be Michael Butz said. 'We want to prove that we're still a family of linemen at Tualatin.'

'This is fun and it's a bonding experience,' Tigard senior-to-be Isaac Schimmels said. 'We get to compete with linemen from other schools and also bond as a team. If we do well in the linemen challenge, it says a lot about how good we could be this season.'

The challenge consisted of 10 events - 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, tire flip, farmer walk, tug of war, sled relay and obstacle course.

Team point totals and individual point totals were kept during the events.

'It's better to get the chance to compete like this,' Tualatin senior-to-be Raul Bautista said. 'We get to see who has more heart.'

Lake Oswego finished in first place in the final team standings of the competition with 78 points. Tigard finished a strong second with a score of 70.

'We've got good numbers. We're solid as a team,' Schimmels said. 'We're not the biggest team in size, but we've got agility.'

'It's nice to have someone of our own caliber to compete against,' Tigard junior-to-be Blake Chamberlain said.

Tualatin finished in sixth place in the team standings with 41 points.

Both the Tigers and the Timberwolves had plenty of highlights during the event.

For the Timberwolves, junior-to-be Will Chapman had a pair of victorious, record-breaking performances. Chapman placed first in the 40-yard dash in a time of 4.75 seconds and he tied for first place in the shuttle run with a mark of 4.27. Both of those times set new event records.

Kenny Walther, a Tualatin junior-to-be, placed first in the bench press with 25 repetitions with the bar set at 185 pounds. That broke the old event record of 23 repetitions, set by three different Clackamas linemen last year.

Tualatin junior-to-be Cody Summers tied for first place with Kyle Hadeed of Clackamas in the tire flip competition with 16 flips in one minute. Summers and Hadeed now share the new record in that event.

Chapman ended up placing second in the individual competition with 29 points. Reynolds' Blake Erickson placed first in the individual competition with 37 points and was named the event's MVP.

Summers tied for sixth place in the individual standings.

Nolan Friesen helped lead the way for the Tigers at the competition. He placed third in the individual standings with 26 points. He finished in first place in the obstacle course event with a time of 29.45. He had third-place finishes in both the vertical jump and the tire flip event.

Tigard senior-to-be Jarrad Schulte tied Friesen for third place in the tire flip event with 13 flips. Schulte also placed in the shuttle run, the vertical jump and the bench press.

The Tigers also finished in third place in the tug of war event.

For all the linemen, despite the results, the best part seemed to be the chance to compete.

'There are so many competitions for the skill position players,' Friesen said. 'This is the one competition that we have. There's usually no recognition.'

'We're the unsung heroes,' Schimmels said.

'We're all working together out here as one unit,' Tualatin junior-to-be Paul Sheffield said.

And then, there's the mutual respect.

'There is a lot of pride and respect between all the teams,' Tigard senior-to-be Sam Crawford said.

Competing for Tualatin at the Metro Area Linemen Challenge were Jackson Biehn, Bautista, Butz, Summers, Sheffield, Chapman, Walther, Travis Campbell, Dakota Billington and Cook.

Competing for Tigard at the event were Jeremy Moore, Schulte, Matt Franz, Schimmels, Chamberlain, Crawford, Friesen and Andrew Jones.