Every off-season presents challenges and for the Charles Henderson Trojans those challenges may have been even greater.
The Trojans had to overcome losing a senior class to graduation that had led the team to the state championship series in 2008, but the 2009 seniors did not skip a beat. They led their team to a 2008 American Legion State Championship during the summer.
So far this year in fall practice first-year head coach Derek Irons has tried to keep the Trojans on track and practicing hard. But he has tried to lighten the atmosphere and get the team unity up near the end with the Trojan Challenge.
“I have done this everywhere I have been and this is how we finish up fall practice,” Irons said. “It gives the guys something to shoot towards. I got the idea from the coaches at the University of Alabama. They do a challenge like this and it is so great because it reveals so much competitiveness and teamwork.”
Irons said one of the best things he has seen in Troy is the leadership from the seniors. The way the Trojan Challenge works is Irons put the varsity and JV teams together and broke them into four teams with two seniors on each team.
They competed in events each day of the week and will compete throughout the week.
On Monday the teams had a 4×100 relay, a dizzy bat contest and an agility drill.
On Tuesday the teams opened with a bench contest where each member of the teams attempted to bench 150 pounds as many times as they could. They then went to an agility relay and finished with a one mile run.
The activities for Wednesday will include a general knowledge test, a test on the baseball playbook and a group of brainteasers. On Thursday they will do a squats competition similar to the bench competition, a 100-yard relay and a punt, pass and kick competition.
“Part of the challenge is that everyone contributes,” Irons said. “You may not be able to win the mile, but you may be able to do well in the bench press or something else. Everyone can contribute in one way. It helps everyone understand that just because you are not the best on the bench press, doesn’t mean you are not going to contribute in some way and that will carry over to the spring as well.”
The Trojan Challenge will finish up Friday with an obstacle course and a fastest lap competition.
“The seniors are really taking ownership of their individual teams,” Irons said. “And that has been good to see. The seniors have done a great job of keeping everybody involved. And all of our seniors have responded well, which is not always the case.”
Charles Henderson wraps up the fall season with the Trojan Challenge this week, heads out for Christmas break next Friday, will start throwing Jan. 7 when they get back from break, open practice around Jan. 28 and open the season in mid-February.