UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Friday evening's 10th Annual Uplifting Athletes "Lift For Life" was a huge success with the offense battling past the the defense in a seven-event competition while raising money for the Kidney Cancer Association.
Early indications are that the funds raised in 2012 will top the $100,000 mark for the second-straight year, bringing the 10-year total to more than $700,000 raised for kidney cancer treatment and research. Fans can still make a "Lift For Life" donation by visiting the Penn State Uplifting Athletes donation page at: http://liftforlife.upliftingathletes.org/lfl2/.
On the field, the Nittany Lions engaged in a fierce battle pitting the
offense (blue) against the defense (white) during a new team-oriented format that was a big hit with the more than 2,500 fans in attendance. The offense and
defense were each broken into three groups - "jets" (QB, RB, WR vs. DB), "bombers"
(TE, FB vs. LB) and "tanks" (OL vs. DL).
Those three groups battled head-to-head in six grueling stations before
capping things off with three games of tug-of-war.
The six stations included two players from each team pushing 6,400-pound conversion vans, a medicine ball toss through the uprights of a goal post, a giant truck tire flip team relay, a shuttle run while carrying 100-pound bags, a sled pull and push and a farmer's carry.
Boosted by big performances from the offensive line and skill players, the offense took a 90-66 lead on the scoreboard heading into the five-minute halftime break after the teams finished their third rotation. The defense closed the margin to within 10 points (146-136) following the sixth rotation, thanks to a big finish from the defensive line on the farmer's carry.
The narrow margin set up a dramatic finish with three tug-of-war contests, each worth 10 points towards the final team scoring, deciding the outcome. The offense claimed all three pulls to score a 176-136 victory, and the unit will take some friendly bragging rights into the start of training camp, which begins on Aug. 6.
The Nittany Lions met with the fans and signed autographs after the test of physical and mental strength before participating in a team barbecue.
The players were in unanimous agreement following the 100-minute workout that the conversion van push was the toughest station in the competition. Senior running back Michael Zordich described the van push as the ultimate leg workout.
Fitzgerald said afterwards that he felt like Friday's strenuous workout helped the team take a step forward in its quest to be in the best physical condition it can be in heading into the Sept. 1 season-opener against Ohio. Fitzgerald jumped in and participated on a couple different events during the night, including the tire flip relay.
The 10th Lift For Life was again a tremendous success and fundraiser for kidney cancer, largely thanks to countless hours of preparation from the Uplifting Athletes group led by senior tackle Mike Farrell.
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