Fort Polk Guardian 03-29-2019

12/ Guardian March 29, 2019 Please see Strongest, page 13 FORT POLK, La. — Youth affiliated with the Directorate of Family Morale, Welfare and Recre- ation’s Child and Youth Services Sports Program gathered on Fort Polk’s Perez Field March 23 for the installation’s strongest youth competition. Participants ranging in age from 7 to 15 battled in five events: The tire flip, sand bag stack, weighted sled pull, timber toss and hanging pull up. First- and second-place trophies were awarded to winners in each age group: 8-9, 10-11, 12-14 and 15 and older. Boys and girls competed against each other except for the age 15 and older group, which separated the sexes. DFMWR CYS Sports Director John Stromberg had one of his staff members lead the kids in cal- isthenics before the competition kicked off to avoid issues such as pulled muscles. The move paid off as all of the youth made it through the morning’s activities unscathed. While the day’s events were primarily head- to-head contests, one group of family members and friends showed their unity by wearing their own created uniform. The Woods, Thomas, Kate and Mae, and the Smiths, Christian and Bethany, each sported black shirts and multicolored tie-dyed bandanas. “We thought it would be fun to have matching uniforms,” Mae Wood said. “Mom chose the ban- danas for us.” Most of the Wood-Smith team said they were all about having fun and enjoying what turned out to be a beautiful spring Louisiana day. How- ever, the senior member of the group, Thomas, said he had an ulterior motive. “I want to show everyone how strong I am,” he said. “I’m pretty stout. The tire flip will proba- bly be my best event.” Mae was the oldest female competing and said she liked measuring herself against the male competitors her age. “I wanted to have fun, so I just kept going,” she said. “It makes me feel good to know I can compete with the guys. I’ll probably be talking trash at school this week.” Stromberg said 35 youngsters participated in the activities. “It was a great day for our kids to come out, exercise and have fun doing some unorthodox events,” Stromberg said. Winners included: • Ages 8-9 — First place, Dallas Fowles; sec- ond place, Aubrey Bazan • Ages 10-11 — First place, Jacob Pajinag; sec- ond place, Kate Wood • Ages 12-14 — First place, Nate Pommer; sec- ond place, Christian Smith • Ages 15 and up boys — First place, Christo- pher Pajinag, second place, Thomas Wood • Ages 15 and up girls — First place, Mae Wood Coach Tammy Wood, also known as mom and neighbor to the Wood and Smith youth, said it took a lot of work prepping her team for the event, and that she gladly took credit for her role in helping some of team members to victory. “I spent years training them mentally, physi- cally and spiritually,” she said, jokingly. “Today, I think it came down to the bandanas and the face paint. My plan is to keep them off the couch and TV this summer, and to keep them outside. I know that’s hard to do nowadays, so I might have to create our own competitions.” Fort Polk youngsters vie for ‘StrongestYouth’ title By CHUCK CANNON Guardian editor Nate Pommer participates in the arm hang during the strongest youth contest. Mae Wood tackles the sled pull during the strongest youth contest. Bethany Smith tosses a timber during the Fort Polk strongest youth contest on Perez Field March 23. CHUCK CANNON / GUARDIAN