Nov. 29, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With three event wins and numerous top five finishes, junior outfielder Adam Engel won the individual title while leading the Black squad to the team title in the University of Louisville baseball program's 2012 Omaha Challenge.
Engel, who had wins in the medley, 20-yard sprint and bench press, completed the five-day competition with a 517 points to earn the victory, while junior left-handed pitcher Cody Ege was second with 480 points. Sophomore infielder Zach Lucas was third with 474 points and was followed by sophomore infielder Sutton Whiting (465 points) in fourth and sophomore right-handed pitcher Jared Ruxer (455 points) in fifth.
The Black squad finished with 6,337 points to clinch the team event as the Red squad scored 6,139 points overall after the final day of competition on Tuesday. Led by Engel, captain of his team, the Black squad was comprised of Jeff Thompson, Matt Helms, Joe Ceja, Dace Kime, Ruxer, Lucas, Chad Green, Whiting, Jordan Simons, Adam Schemenauer, Kyle Gibson, Michael Bollmer, Kyle Funkhouser, Mike White, Alex Chittenden, Anthony Kidston, Kyle McGrath and Joe Filomeno. The Red squad, led by captain Jeff Gardner, was comprised of Jakson Deyer, Ege, Cole Sturgeon, Zak Wasserman, Robert Strader, Nick Burdi, Shane Crain, Ty Young, Danny Rosenbaum, Jordan Striegel, Zack Soria, Coco Johnson, Jonah Philley, Nick Ratajczak, Aaron Gershenfeld, Brad Hedden and Brandon Alphin.
After opening the event with the paintball competition on Nov. 18, the Cardinals hosted the shuttle run event, the bench press, push-ups, pull-ups and tug-of-war events on Nov. 19 and the tire flip and bike race events on Nov. 20. Following the Thanksgiving break, the competition resumed with the squat competition on Nov. 26, before concluding with the swimming event and the medley on Nov. 27.
In the paintball event, the Black squad won two of three matches to clinch the first 50 points of the competition. On the morning of Nov. 19, Ceja led the way in the shuttle run at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium with an event record time of 7:48, while Deyer was second with a time of 7:51 and Ruxer finished third at 7:53.
The afternoon of Nov. 19 featured a busy competition schedule with four different events. In the hitters' bench press event, Engel and Gibson tied for the win by pressing 354 pounds each, while Johnson and Whiting was tied for third at 308 pounds. In the pitchers' push-ups event, which had the athletes compete with a 40-pound chain on their lower back, Ruxer earned first-place honors finishing with 32 push-ups. Ege was second with 31, while Deyer was third at 29. In the pull-ups challenge, Sturgeon earned the victory with 22, while Ruxer and Whiting tied for second with 20 pull-ups each. In the final event of Monday, the Black squad earned 75 additional team points by winning the best-of-five tug-of-war series three games to two.
The third day of competition on Nov. 20 started with the tire flip that morning where Lucas earned the individual win by flipping a 450-pound tire 20 yards and running 30 yards in a time of 27.21 seconds. Whiting was second with a time of 28.43, while Burdi was third at 30.78. In the final event of the day, the Red squad earned 100 team points by winning the bike race at the Marshall Center.
Following the Thanksgiving break from competition, action resumed this week with a busy Monday. The day started with White winning the vertical jump with a height of 39 inches, while Engel (38.8 inches) and Young (38.1) finished second and third respectively. In the 10-yard sprint, Whiting led the way with an event record time of 1.54 seconds and was followed by Engel in second at 1.55 seconds and Lucas in third at 1.58 seconds. In the 20-yard sprint, Engel earned the win with an event record time of 2.67 seconds, while Whiting and Johnson tied for second with matching times of 2.68 seconds.
In the 30-yard sprint, Whiting and Johnson led the way with event record times of 3.64 seconds, while Engel was third with a time of 3.65 seconds. The day continued with the squat event for the hitters with White earning the win after a squat of 495 pounds. Whiting was second at 465 pounds, while Johnson was third at 455 pounds. In the pitchers' hex bar deadlift, Thompson earned the win with a lift of 625 pounds, while Burdi was second at 560 pounds.
The final day of competition on Tuesday started with Ege winning the swimming event with a time of 1:02.80. Bollmer was second with a time of 1:07.70, while Philley was third at 1:08.94. The grueling medley event closed out the five days of competition with Ege earning the win with a time of 1:46.75. Helms was second at 1:47.65, while Ceja was third at 1:49.57.
About the Omaha Challenge
The Cardinals' off-season training reaches another level each November with the annual Omaha Challenge. Prior to the event, two captains are selected by the Louisville coaches to draft and lead the Red and Black squads for the five-day series of events. The events test the athleticism of the teams and individuals and conclude with the crowning of both team and individual champions at the end of the competition. Sports performance coach Eric Hammer oversees the Omaha Challenge, while also motivating the Cardinals to extend themselves to their limits.
About Louisville Baseball
Louisville, which won its third BIG EAST regular season title in the last four seasons in 2012, is led in 2013 by the return of seven of its school record 10 All-BIG EAST performers from last season, including second team outfielders Adam Engel and Cole Sturgeon. Most of the Cardinals' pitching staff returns for 2013, led by BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-American right-hander Jared Ruxer.
Overall, Louisville returns 21 letterwinners from the 2012 team, which finished 41-22 and advanced to an NCAA Regional for the fifth time in six seasons.
Head coach Dan McDonnell enters his seventh season leading the Louisville baseball program. In his six previous seasons, McDonnell is 258-122 with three BIG EAST regular-season titles, two BIG EAST Tournament titles, five NCAA Regional berths, two NCAA Super Regional appearances and one College World Series berth.