The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

Morton East’s 2024 Fitness Challenge

It’s a repeat win for one of our fittest students.
Jeanette Villegas
The medals for the 2024 Crossfit Challenge.

The 2024 Fitness Challenge has once again run its course.

Mr. Romero hosts the yearly Joseph M. Reitmeier (JMR) fitness challenge, with students ranging from 10th to 12th grade participating in this great event that tests their stamina and endurance from cardio to full-body exercises. On April 18th, 2024, over 50 students raced to determine who had the best time and stamina in each of their graduating classes. Students were seated by the bleachers to watch the event; others volunteered to help count and motivate the runners, with gym teachers assisting students both physically and emotionally.

“It’s exciting. I don’t know how many years we’ve started this, but I think it’s a wonderful experience. I believe some of these students have never pushed themselves physically this hard, and given the situation, they have an audience, people counting on them. The fact that it’s this major event makes them push themselves even harder than they do in a regular class, and I think it’s a wonderful experience for that. The layout is they’re running around a track, then meeting up with their partner, depending on what year in school they’re in. The Senior boys, for example, they do 30 reps of everything, run a lap, do 30 hand release push-ups, run a lap, 30 squats, run a lap, 30 sit-ups, run a lap, do 30 burpees. After they’ve done all that, they run around the track and get through a jumpy house (a military-style jumpy house), and slide down across the finish line,” said gym teacher Mr. Romero.

Students who are either running or helping feel the good vibes all around.

Madelyn Ruiz poses with two thumbs up to show her support. (Jeanette Villegas)

“I’ve been doing (this challenge) since sophomore year and junior year I volunteered because I really liked the vibes, and this year I have some of my senior friends that are participating, and I want to cheer for them,” said senior Madelyn Ruiz.

All students participating had been aiming for this event and have made their plans to get ready.

“I think that with this challenge, it’s not something that you can do in a little amount of time. I specifically work out every day, so I’ve been constantly working out for, I’d say, around 6 months. So, it takes time, consistency, and stamina for this, for sure,” said senior Andrea Aguilar.

First period, sophomore girls competed against each other. Sophomore Maribel Contreras was victorious.

“I feel tired; my legs are shaking,” said Maribel Contreras.

With a time of 4:47, Contreras needed time to catch her breath after winning her race.

Sophomore girls who got top three get their medal. (Jeanette Villegas)

Second hour, sophomore boys went head-to-head.

“I’m very proud of myself. I was just trying my best. I saw everyone in the beginning taking off really fast, but I obviously thought that wasn’t going to be the way to win because you have to pace yourself, and I just tried the best I could,” said Ruben Sanchez.

Sanchez got a time of 5:13, but that doesn’t mean he, or other people, weren’t nervous.

Sophomore boys get ready to start their race. (Jeanette Villegas)

“I’m really, really nervous, and I have no idea how I should warm up, but I’m really excited. This is my second year doing it; last year I almost got 1st, but didn’t, and this year I’m more competitive than last year, and I’ll just figure it out as I go. I definitely feel more prepared than last year,” said junior Paloma Salgado.

After the race, Paloma won the junior girls’ race, with a time of 6:10!

“I feel really good. Last year I got second, which made me really, really mad. This year, I got first, so it was a really good comeback, but I’m dying and I can’t feel my legs,” said Paloma after the junior girls’ race.

The top three winners for junior girls pose together for a photo. (Jeanette Villegas)

Every runner who had raced before aimed to do better than their previous year.

“I feel like last year it was just a bad experience; I wasn’t in the gym as hard as I am this year, and I was working towards this, this whole year,” said junior Andrew Gutierrez.

The 5th and 6th hours had Morton East Seniors competing for 1st place.

“I feel exhausted. I want to sit down and take a break, but I feel really good and accomplished. This is my first year participating; the other years I wasn’t able to qualify, so I’m really proud of myself for getting first and having the experience to do the challenge,” said Evelyn Miranda after winning for the senior girls.

The senior boys had last year’s winner win again – Aaron Ramirez.

Aaron Ramirez happily celebrates after winning the senior boys race. (Jeanette Villegas)

“I feel amazing. Really nervous from the start; I thought I wasn’t going to make it first again, but I did it, and it feels great. I don’t know, I was expecting something a lot more different, like lately I thought I lost touch because I was really scared that I wasn’t going to win this year. (But I did, so everything was ok),” said senior Aaron Ramirez.

The 2024 Fitness Challenge hosted by Mr. Romero and Mr. Scarletta was a hit.

The bouncy house all runners had to go through before finishing the race. (Jeanette Villegas)

Here are the times of all the top 3 fastest times:

Sophomore Girls:

  1. Maribel Contreras – 4:47
  2. Izela Bustos – 5:57
  3. Alondra Dominguez – 5:59

Sophomore Boys:

  1. Ruben Sanchez – 5:13
  2. Alejandro Terrazes – 5:22
  3. Francisco Saez – 5:36

Junior Girls:

  1. Paloma Salgado – 6:10
  2. Yuna Mireles – 6:37
  3. Fatima de los Santos – 6:51

Junior Boys:

  1. Andrew Gutierrez – 5:35

    Sophomore girls take off running. (Jeanette Villegas)
  2. Eric Gutierrez – 5:40
  3. Kevin Rivera – 5:41

Senior Girls:

  1. Evelyn Miranda – 6:10
  2. Lesly Roman – 6:22
  3. Yanelis Crespo – 6:40

Senior Boys:

  1. Aaron Ramirez – 5:50
  2. Orlando Montoya – 6:21
  3. Alan Olmos – 6:42

Here’s some advice our contestants left for future competitors.

“I think it really comes down to stamina, endurance, and strength. It’s a test of everything: cardio endurance, muscular endurance, and I’ll be honest, I’ve seen some of the fittest students, students I thought were going to win, and it comes down to the person with the most muscle, and maybe isn’t the fastest running around the track because those burpees will end up killing you. So in terms of preparation, and you’re doing this in front of an audience. So that even throws people off. I would say you got enough rest beforehand, make sure you’ve eaten properly, hydrated properly. Yeah, and consistently working out throughout the school year, if this is your goal to be the champ in your respective class,” said Mr. Romero.

Junior boys get ready to start their race for 4th hour. (Jeanette Villegas)

“I say don’t give up no matter what, keep going even if you feel tired. In the end, it’ll be all worth it,” said Andrea Aguilar.

“Try your best and just don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, just focus on yourself,” said Roberto Sanchez.

“Don’t be scared, like at all, it’s really intimidating. I remember my sophomore year, I was so scared and I was shaking, and now this year I feel the same way but it’s actually really fun. Like be proud of yourself that you did it and made it into the challenge,” said Paloma Salgado.

Senior girls line up together after finishing their race. (Jeanette Villegas)

“Never compare yourself to anyone else, no matter if they’re the greatest in the world, greatest in a sport or things like that. Always focus on yourself, and you can beat anybody,” said Aaron Ramirez.

“I say don’t give up no matter what, keep going even if you feel tired. In the end, it’ll be all worth it,” said Evelyn Miranda.

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