By Somer Breeze-Hanson, Northwest GuardianApril 27, 2012
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The 593rd Sustainment Brigade doesn't shy away from a chance to compete.
The brigade's trophy case speaks for itself as it boasts numerous intramural awards including the 2012 Commander's Cup. It even has its own brigade competitions, which include the Ultimate Sustainer Competition, the Turkey Bowl football game, and new this year, the Strongest Soldier Competition.
"Every time I go to the gym I see all my guys and gals there," 593rd Sust. Bde. Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Chavez said. "So I said let's have a strongest Soldier competition and they put it together."
On April 17 and 18, approximately 100 593rd Sust. Bde. troops competed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The competitors were narrowed down to the top 18 -- nine females and nine males -- for the finals Friday.
The men and women were divided into Lightweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight classes and competed in four events: bench press, pull ups, tire flips and a water can run. The competition measured strength, stamina and endurance while also fostering sportsmanship and camaraderie.
"It was a good event for everyone to participate in to see the overall strength of people," Heavyweight competitor Bryant Hollaway said.
Hollaway fought through an ailing back to win three of the four events and claim the Heavyweight Strongest Soldier male title. He used a weight lifting belt to get him through some of the events, but in the tire flip he relied on leg power and Icy Hot patches to get him to the finish line.
"I'm going to soak in an ice bath when I get home," he said.
Frank McGowan won all four events to take the male Lightweight title and Lyndol Cromartie won the Middleweight division.
Sheila Borromeo battled through a push up tiebreaker to claim the women's Middleweight title.
"There's a lot of people in my brigade and there's a lot of people in my battalion, and to be the No. 1 female, that's what I want," Borromeo said. "I want people to look at me and admire me for that."
Borromeo took first in just one event, but it is was an event she dominated. She coasted through the bench press, and while other competitors took their turn Borromeo was in the parking lot doing push ups. It was a good warm-up because little did she know push ups would give her the edge she needed in the end to win.
"I just thought of it as a (physical fitness) test," Borromeo said.
Brittany Brinker won the Lightweight title outright with three individual event wins, while Alecia Booker won the Heavyweight title after a push up tie breaker.
The push ups and pull ups tested the competitors' upper body strength while the tire flips required full-body strength. Some competitors wore cleats to help them gain traction on the muddy field, which also proved an advantage during the sprint across the field while carrying heavy water cans.
The overall battalion title was awarded to the 593rd Special Troops Battalion which finished with 96 points while the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion finished with 62.
Strongest Soldier champions:
• Lightweight, Brittany Brinker
• Middleweight, Sheila Borromeo
• Heavyweight, Alecia Booker
• Lightweight, Frank McGowan
• Middleweight, Lyndol Cromartie
• Heavyweight, Bryant Hollaway