Sept. 12, 2013
The University of Pittsburgh baseball team recently completed its 2013-14 Champions Challenge, a series of workouts designed to strengthen the team both physical and mentally.
"I think the Champions Challenge was outstanding this year," said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. "We really physically and mentally put our guys to the test. We did a few different things this year and I thought that each of them, in their own unique way, helped us learn some valuable lessons."
"We are hopeful that those lessons will translate into great characteristics of a team," Jordano continued. "Putting those elements together is important for us throughout the year, and I believe the Champions Challenge got us off to a great start."
Junior outfielder Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) also spoke to the value gained from the Champions Challenge.
"Champions Challenge is something special because each year it shows what type of team you have," Vazquez said. "Because the workouts are so physically tough and mentally taxing, the team has to come together and find a way to get it done. You are constantly, picking up your teammates, pushing them, challenging them and encouraging them. The Champions Challenge really acts as a catalyst for our team's chemistry."
The demanding workouts took the team all over campus as the student-athletes sought to increase their physical and mental stamina. Members of the Pitt baseball team ran up and down the aisles inside the Petersen Events Center, flipped tires and pushed sleds in the Charles L. Cost Sports Center, swam in the Trees Hall pool, climbed 36 floors of the Cathedral of Learning four times and finished by sprinting to the top of Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park.
Newcomer Jordan Frabasillo (JR/Chandler, Ariz.), a transfer from South Mountain CC, was impressed with the program as it gave him a chance to bond with fellow teammates while pushing himself to his limits.
"Coming in, I didn't know what to expect but the first day really showed me that this program is on a whole different level than junior college," Frabasillo said. "What I got from the Challenge was that once exhaustion kicks in you must fight through it. The mind will quit before your body does and you just have to find that mental toughness to grind through it. I feel it also brought the team closer as we all got to know each other and push each other to our extremes. The Champions Challenge was a great way to kick off my career at Pitt."
Pitt returns 16 letterwinners, including six of the nine bats in the lineup and two-thirds of the weekend rotation, from a team that won a school-record 42 games in 2013. The Panthers open fall practice on Tuesday, September 17.
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