Indians show their skills in lineman competition

The Hart linemen compete in a tug-of-war as part of a lineman competition at Simi Valley High School on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

SIMI VALLEY — Linemen are known for doing the grunt work in the trenches, day in and day out. They seldom get the opportunity to be in the spotlight, but in Saturday’s lineman competition at Simi Valley High School, the Hart linemen had the chance to show their skills.

“Today we did really well and we worked well as a team, we all cooperated,” said Indians right tackle Justin Curtis. “We came in second in a lot of our events so that was good compared to last year’s lineman competition at Saugus.”

Five Hart linemen — Curtis, Fredy Alvarez, Francisco Avendano, Tyler Thompson and Jacob Carlson — competed in tire flip, carrying bag, weightlifting maximum, truck push and tug-of-war competitions.

The Indians took second place in a handful of events, including the truck push, a competition in which the five linemen had to push a pickup truck with a driver inside around a 93-yard loop in a parking lot.

“We just had the biggest guy in the middle and the smaller guys on the side and we said ‘Let’s just go for it,” said Alvarenga, whose favorite event was the truck push.

Francisco Avendano (left) and his fellow Hart lineman push a truck in a lineman competition at Simi Valley High School on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Alvarenga also excelled in the weight room, bench pressing 185 pounds for 15 reps. Curtis nearly hit his max in the power clean, hoisting 245 pounds, which is five pounds less than his maximum weight.

“My favorite event was probably the power clean or bench press because I like lifting weights and it was fun,” Curtis said. “My goal with that one was try to hit as many reps as I can and I got three more than my normal best, so I was pretty happy about that and I hit about my max for my power clean, so that was a plus, too.”

A tug-of-war concluded the day’s competition. Hart had a strategy, arranging themselves in a zig-zag pattern before chopping their feet and pulling as soon as the signal was given.

However, the Indians were eliminated in the second round after beating Newbury Park in the first round. Grace Brethren was ultimately crowned the winner in the event.

Hart offensive lineman Justin Curtis cleans 245 pounds during a lineman challenge at Simi Valley High School on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Linemen competitions help break up summer training and offer teams the chance to build some chemistry. The added challenge of competing against other schools only adds to the motivation to improve.

“Competitions like these can really improve the team of their form,” Avendano said. “Going against different teams, learning what you can improve on, see your strength, see what you’re good at.”

After finishing third in the Foothill League last season, the Indians bring a plethora of returners into this season and all of them have the goal of winning a CIF ring. If they achieve their goal, they’ll be the 10th team in program history to win a CIF-Southern Section title.

“That’s always the goal,” Alvarenga said. “In the weight room to motivate each other, we just say, ‘CIF champs.’ That’s always the goal.”

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