Nick Hobby and Richard Boyd have been the flame and fuse in the CrossFit explosion in South San Joaquin County.
Together, the Sierra High P.E. teachers have helped develop a breed of competitors, coaches and box owners that spans Stockton, Lathrop, Manteca and Ripon.
On Saturday, the past, present and future of this Sierra High CrossFit community collide for the second annual Fittest on Campus competition.
Twenty-four current student-athletes have signed up to compete in four workouts, each designed to test the body and mind’s strength, endurance and limitation.
Hobby and Boyd will oversee the competition, while several alumni have agreed to return to campus as judges. Among them will be: Regional Games qualifier Johnny Medina III, who credits CrossFit for saving his life; Savage Fitness owners Ray and Armando Gonzalez; Sierra High assistant football coach Andrew Panigada; inaugural Fittest on Campus champion Natalie Griffin; and former Sierra High and Modesto Junior College volleyball coach Tevani Liotard.
Fittest on Campus will begin inside Daniel Teicheira Stadium at 9 a.m. Participants will begin by establishing a one-rep maximum in the clean, an Olympic movement used often in the Sierra High body conditioning classes.
All of Saturday’s exercises have been implemented in Hobby and Boyd’s body conditioning classes. When the competition’s four WODs (workout of the day) were posted in the weight room, many of the athletes snickered and glared at their instructors.
If elements of each workout seemed all too familiar, well, it’s because they were. For weeks now, Hobby and Boyd had treated the kids in their classes like lab rats, testing some of the WODs in a controlled setting.
“Nick and I have been working on them for a couple of weeks now,” Hobby said. “The kids didn’t know this at the time, but they’ve done a couple of them as an experimental run. We just wanted to see how they’d work out.”
The second WOD will require the athletes to carry a 20-inch wooden box and weight plates (185 pounds for boys, 95 pounds for girls) across the football field, where a bar will be waiting. After loading the bar, athletes will complete rounds of deadlifts at 21, 15 and 9 reps.
They’ll also perform burpees over the box before sprinting back across the field toward the finish line.
Burpees-over-box was inspired by the National Pro Grid League, the strategic athletic racing league of which Sierra High alum Buddy Hitchcock is a member. Hitchcock, a former CrossFit Games competitor, helped guide the San Francisco Fire to the inaugural NPGL final.
The third WOD is the “Fran Ladder,” a weighted seven-minute pull-up/thruster challenge that grows in intensity.
For a finishing WOD, Hobby and Boyd pulled no punches: The CrossFit Triathlon, which will be scored in four areas.
Athletes will begin with a 1,500-meter row and then set off on a roughly 1.5-mile run around the school, including one lap around the track. The final leg will be a 125-meter swim in the pool, or five laps.
Each leg will be scored. Overall time will also be kept; each athlete has 28 minutes to complete the triathlon.
“We’re trying to hit the different energy systems we use when we exercise,” Boyd said. “The clean is your strength. The triathlon isn’t so much raw strength as it is endurance. So it all balances out. Kids that are strong might not do so well in the pool and kids that do good in the pool might not be so good in terms of raw strength.
“This should be a true indicator of fitness.”