VIDEO: Lift for Life Player Interviews | Photo Gallery: 2014 Lift for Life
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saturday's 12th annual Lift For Life was a resounding success with the offense topping the defense by a score of 30-24 in a six-event, head-to-head strength and conditioning competition to benefit the Kidney Cancer Association through Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes.
For the fourth-straight year, the funds raised at Lift For Life were on pace to reach record heights. With donation figures still to be finalized, the 2014 Uplifting Athletes fundraising efforts have the 12-year total nearing the $1 million mark. Fans can still make a Lift For Life donation by visiting the Penn State Uplifting Athletes donation page HERE.
Sunny skies and a crowd of approximately 2,500 fans greeted the Nittany Lions at the Penn State Lacrosse Field on Saturday. The upperclassmen participated in the head-to-head competition pitting the offense against the defense. Simultaneously, the true freshmen ran in a mini Lift for Life kids clinic with more than 100 participants on the turf at the lacrosse field.
The Nittany Lions put on a show for the fans in attendance with an exhibition in six strenuous events. The competition featured five rotations of one-on-one battles in the "dominator" shuttle run, deadlift, sled push, tire flip, tug run (water-filled plastic tug device) and 225-pound max bench press.
The final tally (30-24, Offense) was based on head-to-head victories in each individual rep. Some of the notable performances of the day on the bench press included senior linebacker Mike Hull's 30-rep effort at 225 pounds. Sophomore Brian Gaia and junior Tarow Barney each finished with 29 reps on the bench.
Tight end Jesse James turned in a pair of outstanding performances on Saturday, including 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench and 12 reps at 500 pounds on the deadlift.
"Our tight end crew could be a special group," Director of Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt said. "Jesse is a freak (athlete). He's putting up national elite numbers.
When the six-event rotation wrapped up, the Nittany Lions moved the center of the field for the tug of war finale. The offense claimed the first tug of war battle, but the defense notched three-straight victories to grab the upper hand in the final battle of strength.
Despite the 3-1 edge in tug of war, the offense will take some friendly bragging rights into the rest of the summer as the overall winners at the 2014 Lift for Life.
Following the workout, the Nittany Lions met with the loyal Nittany Lion fans and signed autographs.
"It's really fun to be able to work out in front of the fans to show them all of the hard work he have been putting in for the last eight or nine weeks," tight end Brent Wilkerson said. "They support us so much, so it's fun to be able to show them all of the progress we have made since they last saw us."
Galt and his staff had a blast at their first Lift for Life event. He applauded the player-run Uplifting Athletes organization for its countless hours of prep work to put on another successful event.
"This was a great event to be a part of," Galt said. "We thoroughly enjoyed it, and we are thrilled to have been able to work out in front of the fans.
The 12th 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 junior Ben Kline.
Penn State begins preseason practice on Aug. 4.
Much more to follow, including video highlights from the 12th Annual Lift For Life
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