‘Guys in the trenches’ take part in annual Bolingbrook Linemen Challenge

Nick Perry participated Wednesday in his third Bolingbrook Linemen Challenge, a multi-event competition for the guys in the trenches, but the Raiders guard already answered the challenge as a lineman the past two seasons.

Perry started on the Raiders’ Class 8A state championship team in 2011 as a sophomore. The challenge, held in the school’s fieldhouse, is a competition to him, but it also has an element of plain and simple fun.

“I get to see all the competition and what I need to work on,’’ Perry said. “It’s pretty fun. I like it every year. Seeing how we stack up to other people, I think that’s key for us.

“I think the worst part is going to practice in the heat afterward. Me and my guys, we all have fun always. I love the obstacle course.’’

The 33rd annual event was started by former Bolingbrook football coach Phil Acton, who ran things again this year. Other Joliet-area schools among the 26 teams were Morris, Lockport, Minooka, Romeoville and Peotone.

The competition was composed of a bench press, 40-yard dash, an obstacle course, medicine ball toss and shuttle relay, with a tug-of-war to end the day.

“It’s a time for them to showcase their lack of athleticism,’’ Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said with a laugh. “It’s something fun and not as much football, a chance to compete in a different way.

“Usually, your bigger guys are stuck in a three-point stance, in a play for a couple of seconds. Now they get to show some endurance, run a little bit.’’

That included Morris guard T.J. Layne, who started as a sophomore last season on the Redskins’ Class 5A state runner-up team. Layne also competed in the linemen challenge in 2012.

“We get to see our competition and gauge how well we’re doing,’’ Layne said. “A competition like this is really fun … I did the best in the obstacle course.’’

“All the 7-on-7s in the summer, all the backs get to compete against other schools and your linemen stay home,’’ Morris coach Alan Thorson said. “This gives them an opportunity to see other schools, other linemen, and just compete.’’

The sled drive event that was supposed to take place outside was canceled Wednesday because of the heat.

“The kids are only going to be out there for a few minutes. Who’s going to work it for three hours?’’ Ivlow said with a smile.

Bolingbrook junior Micah Dew-Treadway, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end, was among the Raiders’ participants.

“It’s more fun than anything,’’ he said. “I just like to compete — and compete with my teammates. To get something like this is a great opportunity to show your skills.’’

Bolingbrook’s tug-of-war team of Perry, Dew-Treadway, C.J. Clark, Eli Carbajal and Max Pleasant took second to Lemont’s championship fivesome of Rob Gasienica, David Kucharski, Ryan Dunn, R.J. Wehn and Nathan Palermo.

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