In an Oct. 23 press release William Jewell College announced the additions of its 21st and 22nd varsity teams on campus – the Powerlifting and Cardinal CrossFit™ Program beginning in 2020. The sport will be offered for both men and women and will include a combination of powerlifting, Olympic Lifting and CrossFit™ competition.
The college is currently seeking affiliation with CrossFit™, which would allow student-athletes to compete in local and national competitions. Students in the Powerlifting program will compete in competitions through the United States Powerlifting Association.
A job opening is currently being advertised for the position of Head Powerlifting and CrossFit™ Coach. When hired this person will also serve as an Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach, according to the job listing.
Beginning in 2020, Jewell will be one of only three institutions in the Kansas City region to offer powerlifting – the others being Missouri Valley and Ottawa University. Other GLVC colleges, Lindenwood and McKendree, offer similar programs.
There are three exercises involved in powerlifting: squat, bench press and deadlift. The sport has seen a large rise in popularity, with 648 official events being held nationwide between Jan. 2012 and June 2016 and close to 22,000 individual competitors attended meets during that time frame.
CrossFit™ is a unique sport because competitors do not know the exact challenges that will face them prior to events – they learn what will face them the day the event starts.
According to CrossFit™, the organization sees itself as being in a “war” against larger franchised gyms.
“We want to fuel a revolution in fitness that advocates the pursuit of function, not form — that measures performance, not anatomy,” said Greg Glassman, CrossFit™ founder.
“We want rings and bumper plates in our gyms, not machines. We believe that where you train is less important than how you train and that who you train with matters more than what gear you have. We know this can be done in little boxes and we’ve proven that the garage is as good an environment as any for Forging Elite Fitness®.”Greg Glassman, CrossFit™ founder.
CrossFit™ affiliation began as a grassroots movement started by CrossFitters who wanted to register gyms and trainers in their local communities. Today there are over 15,000 CrossFit™ affiliates worldwide.
The process of becoming a CrossFit™ affiliate involves submitting an application and essay, providing details on the location of the affiliate program, submitting proof of program insurance, paying the $3,000 USD annual fee, and signing a licensing agreement.
According to the official list of affiliates there are currently 12 registered CrossFit™ programs in Kansas City and Liberty. If Jewell’s affiliation is granted, it will become the only Midwest college to offer a CrossFit™ program.
While the high-intensity of CrossFit™ programs has led to widespread appeal from those who desire to get “in the best shape of their life,” the sport is not without its risks.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning research was designed to look at the frequency of injury in CrossFit™ athletes during routine training. Of the 132 people surveyed, nearly three-quarters, or 97 people, reported being injured during training, with most of those injuries involving the shoulders and/or spine. A total of 186 injuries were reported, with nine of those leading to surgeries.
Despite the high risk of injury, CrossFit™ has become a popular source of strength and fitness training for numerous different organizations, including police departments – like KCPD and Austin PD – and high schools – like Libertyville in Illinois and the Empower Charter School in California.
By adding a CrossFit™ program Jewell will be following in the footsteps of other institutions including Penn State, Delaware University, University of North Carolina and the University of Nevada.
“I am thrilled about the addition of powerlifting and CrossFit™ to our campus,” said Director of Athletics Tom Eisenhauer. “We believe this program will create new opportunities for students to make competing in intercollegiate athletics a part of their undergraduate experience.”
Updates on Jewell’s Powerlifting and CrossFit™ programs can be found here, as well as match statistics when they become available.