Challenge "2017"

This blog post is being written specifically for those in the inner circle of Advanced Training. I don't want to waste their time talking about what "The Challenge" is or how it works or how it is the best / worst thing that has ever happened to our program.

If you are the one person who randomly found this page while googling a similarly named show on MTV, please click HERE to find out more about the Advanced Training "Challenge".

Almost as popular as the Advanced Training "Challenge"

Challenge 2017

2017 was one of the most interesting "Challenge" years ever. 

Here are just some of the record breaking statistics.
  • 72 different "Challenge" events (the previous best was 50 in 2015)
  • 84 "Challenge" points by one person (the previous best was 49 in 2015, held by James Uske)
    • 2 Other People also beat the previously held 49 point record (collecting scores of 79 and 69 points)
  • 21 "Challenge" losses by one person (the previous worst was 7 in 2015, held by Nick Fugallo)
  • 21 "Challenge" wins by two different people (the previous best was James Uske in 2015)
Some haters will say that old records were broken simply because so many "Challenge" events were held. (See bullet #1)

Those haters would be right.

Those same haters would also say that we had less people in the program, so the competitors had more of chance to collect more "Challenge" points.

Once again, the haters would be right.

What the haters may not want to admit is that this is the first year we had a "Challenge" at almost every single session. There was never a time where someone was too tired, too unimaginative, or too craven to make or accept a "Challenge".

For the first time ever, the "Challenge" turned into a habit and simply became part of the workout.

Here are how our top 4 competitors fared.

Third Place: Joe Mreczko (17 Wins, 18 Losses,  69 Points)

Joe has been in and out of Advanced Training since 2008. 

In his first 8 years, he only competed in 7 challenges. 

In those 7 challenges, he only won 1 time.

Joe turned things around in 2017 by competing in 35 separate challenges and winning 17 times.

Due to surgery, Joe had to miss the first two months of training. Had he had more time and more opportunities, he would certainly have been a contender for first place.

Take note, many "Challenge" champions have had similar pasts (Smith, Uske, Kuyan, Mulligan). They have some tough years, some decent years, and then ... BANG!!! they become CHAMPS.

Second Place: Andrew Cortese (21 Wins, 16 Losses,  79 Points)

Cortese had the most impressive rookie "Challenge" season of any member of Advanced Training ever.

Never before (and possibly never again) will a first year guy collect so many points or have so many wins. (His 21 wins ties him for first all-time "Challenge" victories in a single season.)

In addition, he was the first person to truly ever master the "Versus" challenge, where two people compete in separate events and compare those results to determine the overall winner. 

For example, he would challenge another person to do more reps of pull-ups than he could do reps of his own body weight on bench press. Whoever does the most reps wins.

Cortese in 2020

To me, utilizing this "Versus" technique is what revolutionized the Advanced Training "Challenge" and enabled so many competitions.

Essentially, it removed the excuse for people to deny the challenge, especially if both competitors got to execute something they both thought they were good at.

Cortese was on pace to break 100 points until life happened ...

And by life, I mean the prom, graduation parties, vacation, and everything else your  opponent won't care about when step on the field.

You Couldn't Train on Vacation ... Good

These things got in the way of him competing and he lost precious points because of it.

Being the ultimate competitor and overachiever, I would bet Cortese doesn't let this happen again in 2018.

1st Place: Drew Olsen (21 Wins, 21 Losses,  84 Points)

Before I talk about Drew, I would first like to draw attention to how awesome our new "Challenge" belt is. While I loved the old school WWE children's toy we used to sling around, I think we can all admit that carrying around an 8 foot leather belt with a cloth interior is pretty legit.

And fortunately for Drew, he now gets to carry around this masterpiece for the rest of his life.

And speaking of Drew, let's finally start to talk about our 2017 Challenge Champ.

  • He set the record for the most "Challenge" points (84)  --> his previous best was 13
  • He set the record for the most "Challenge" wins (21) --> his previous best was 3
  • He set the record for the most "Challenge" losses (21) 
Unless you are a legit hater, there is something to be learned here.

Life is not about always winning. Its about learning from your losses, growing from the experience, and being persistent in your quest for greatness.

Like the previous "Challenge" Champs I referenced earlier, Drew never did well in challenges in previous years.

In addition, drew had many reasons to quit this year, one being that he is in a tortuous accelerated academic program. This program also requires him to work clinical sessions in the hospital for 12 hours shifts. He is essentially working, going to school with an enhanced curriculum, and training with us all at the same time.

It should also be noted that, like me, Drew's college football days are over. He is training for no greater goal other than competition, camaraderie, and greatest "Challenge" belt Staten Island has ever seen.

Despite all this (and even though he often wanted to), Drew never gave up.

And for the rest of his life, he will be remembered with the Advanced Training Challenge legends HERE.

Honorable Mention: The Alarm Clock (13 Wins, 0 Losses, 39 Points)

Like father time, the Alarm Clock was and will always remain undefeated.

By special request, the Alarm Clock was awarded points when the "belt holder" missed a training session because they overslept.

It doesn't take the World's Greatest Detective to see that this happened 13 times this year.

What makes this even more fitting was how the "Challenge" season ended.

On the last day of training, when we were planning a head-to-head battle for the belt, only Olsen showed up to the session.

Apparently the other competitors overslept because of their alarm clocks.

I saved their text messages for both your entertainment and mine.

Fortunately, the alarm clock only mustered up enough points to finish in 4th.

If you made it this far, you may want to check out the actual results of all competitors and a listing of their exact Challenges HERE.

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