HatterStrong Games make ongoing fitness challenge a team effort – Stetson Today

HatterStrong Games make ongoing fitness challenge a team effort – Stetson Today

Members of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity won the first HatterStrong Games (left to right): Guliano Black, Matt Weil, Adam DiMinno, Daniel Herman and Elijah Grisanti-Wake.

Since 2015, the Wellness and Recreation Center at Stetson has offered what is known to the Hatter community as “HatterStrong.” This spring, a new component to the fitness challenge was added: the HatterStrong Games.

Deana Lowry

“HatterStrong is different exercises you can complete and then you get a tank top that says ‘HatterStrong,’” said Director of Wellness and Recreation, Deana Lowry. “Students have a lot of fun with it. They get very competitive with it because we also have our leader board, so if you do the exercises and you lift the heaviest weight or do it in the fastest time, you name goes on the board.”

Senior Hatter Spencer Skittenhelm, 21, approached Lowry approximately a year ago in regard to implementing a new event where students could continue challenging each other but, instead of doing so individually, they could do so working together with friends and fellow Hatters as part of a team.

“We came up with the different events that we could do and created a very rough draft,” he said. “But, after talking about it we settled on squats, bench, rowing and two obstacle courses (one more challenging than the other). From then on, it took pretty much the whole year to set it up.”

Three teams participated in the first HatterStrong Games, which took place Saturday, March 23. Phi Sigma Kappa placed first with 16 points, Sigma Nu placed second with 14 points and Head Hunters took third place with six points.

Adam DiMinno, a member of the winning team, said the competition fostered camaraderie among his Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity brothers. (See photo at top.)

“The games were really fun. It was a way to bond with the guys over friendly competition. We laughed the whole way through, put a good workout in and, most importantly, had fun. I wouldn’t have wanted to participate with anyone else,” said DiMinno ’25, a well-respected pre-law student who recently was selected into Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. Also, he was a USRowing varsity rower at Don Bosco Preparatory High School in New Jersey, as was his brother, Matt DiMinno, a Stetson graduate last year. 

“It’s just a fun day, stress free, that offers the opportunity to get together with your friends and, who doesn’t love competition?” Lowry agreed about event. “We are always trying to promote physical and mental wellbeing. It was a workout. Everyone was breathing hard.”

Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Nu and Head Hunters were the three teams that participated in the first HatterStrong Games.

The Wellness and Recreation Center, and Skittenhelm, are hoping to make this event an annual event at Stetson, and are truly looking forward to seeing how many teams participate for the 2025 HatterStrong Games.

“I’d love to stay involved and work with different fitness businesses around DeLand, get sponsors,” Skittenhelm said.

Hatter Fact

The HatterStrong challenge got its name because of a number of reasons. According to Jimmy Kelly, Director of Student Development and Campus Vibrancy, in 2015, the Wellness and Recreation Center was “looking to build up community partnerships and fitness programming for the campus.”

Hence, the HatterStrong challenge was born.

Jimmy Kelly

The name is tied into the “Army Strong” motto, and therefore it offered hope to provide students with the motivation to exercise and include a regular fitness routine into their daily lives while feeling proud of their fitness achievements through testing their limits and pushing themselves on.

“We chose the name in hopes that it would serve as motivation for students, that they could identify with it, and aspire to achieve their fitness goals through participating in the program,” Kelly said. “We felt the name symbolized strength across the dimensions of wellness, particularly being of strong mind, body, and spirit.”

– Andrea Mujica

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