Three athletes from the North Branch Special Olympics team were well-prepared for their poly hockey event last weekend thanks to some serious training in Cambridge.
In fact, Charles and Todd Champion and Amandla Osterreich helped their team earn the bronze medal in last weekend’s Minnesota Special Olympics state tournament at Breck School in Golden Valley.
For the Champion brothers, their journey in training for the poly hockey (floor hockey) event began last month at Total Wellness Coaching in Cambridge. They worked with certified personal trainer Tina Brown who, along with owner Julie Page, donated four one-hour sessions of training.
“It was a privilege to work with these gentlemen,” Brown said at one of the training sessions at Total Wellness Coaching. “They wanted to work on their arm bumps and develop good, strong thighs. They need to be quick with their feet. We worked on a strong upper body and focused on the core.”
One of their many workouts is the ropes, which weigh 50 pounds at the facility. By pulling the duo of ropes up and pushing them down, it takes rhythm and stamina in building cardiovascular and upper body strength.
Another is TRX suspension training, a stretching performance tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete various exercises. It develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability all at the same time.
“I keep it fun; I keep it busy. (The routine) is pretty fast-paced to keep their interest. I need to keep them challenged,” Brown noted.
Charles Champion, 20, competed with the Elk River team for a season, until a year ago when he joined North Branch and its poly hockey team. Win or lose, he enjoys playing the goalie position.
“I had two shutouts, and we won four of our games,” he said of the early success he experienced in last year’s state tournament. “I like that I can make friends and play with people of the same level. Even if I lose, a friend will congratulate me.”
Champion said of his training at Total Wellness Coaching: “Tina was awesome. She made us work hard, and we got to try new things like TRX. We even got to use the big ropes like they have on the Biggest Loser; they were heavy. I hate shoveling (snow), but now I go with the flow.”
Todd Champion, 19, said he has fun playing center or defense on the floor hockey team. He can lift the puck with his wrist shots, and he enjoys ice hockey and watching the Minnesota Wild.
His training went well, too.
“My favorite part was having my own trainer,” he said. “We got to use lots of really cool equipment, and Tina was nice.”
Added Brown, “These guys move the ropes like they’re 10 pounds, like it’s no big deal. They are so strong.”
Sue Hibbard is the head of the North Branch Special Olympic delegation, which is comprised of 120 registered athletes from the North Branch and surrounding community. Other area teams are based in Cambridge, Chisago Lakes and Forest Lake.
“Our delegation offers year-round sports, so we will have other delegations tap into North Branch,” said Hibbard, noting athletes may take advantage of offerings on other teams.
Along with poly hockey, basketball, swimming and powerlifting, the North Branch team also offers bowling, aquatics, track and field, tennis, softball and bocce ball. A few athletes compete with other teams in gymnastics and equestrian.
In addition, athletes recognize the Special Olympics oath before every game or event: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
For those with an athlete who would like to join the Special Olympics team or for those interested in volunteering time to help the athletes, send an email to [email protected] for information.
Total Wellness Coaching, 807 N. Main St., Cambridge, located just north of the District Office, is a fitness facility that offers personal training, small group training, fitness and yoga classes, boot camps, indoor cycling classes, TRX suspension training and other specialty programs. Owner Julie Page also is a certified fitness trainer and nutrition and lifestyle coach.
For more information, visit www.totalwellnesscoachingmn.com or call 763-237-3245.