The Ottumwa Courier

November 12, 2012

AREA SPORTS NOTEBOOK: Pekin Elementary wins Presidential Physical Fitness state title

SCOTT JACKSON
Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — Every year, the President’s Challenge presents three super-fit schools from each state with its exclusive State Champion Award.

This year, one southeast Iowa school stood out as the having the most physically fit students in the state.

Pekin Elementary School finished first in the state for the past school, finishing with the highest percentage of students qualifying for the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. Students qualify by earning scores in the 85th percentile or higher on the Physical Fitness Test.

Pekin finished with the highest statewide percentage for the Physical Fitness Test as 31.9 percent of elementary students qualified in the 85th percentile. Pekin won the state honor as a category two school, or a school with anywhere from 201 to 500 elementary students enrolled.

Only schools (including home schools) with 50 or more students are currently eligible for the State Champion Award. The other state champions were Heritage Christian School in DeWitt in Category I (50-200 students) with 13.7 percent of students qualified while South Tama had 10 percent of their students qualify for the presidential fitness award to win the Category III honor (500 students or more).

Overall, Pekin currently ranks 11th statewide in terms of total number of elementary students that have qualified for the Presidential fitness award. The criteria is for students to earn the honor is gained through the Physical Fitness Test given every school year and consists of various tests, including curl-ups (or partial curl-ups), a shuttle run, an endurance run/walk, pull-ups (or right angle push ups or flexed-arm hang) and a v-sit reach (or sit and reach).

“We are very proud of that accomplishment and will continue to strive to be the healthiest school in Iowa,” Pekin elementary physical education teacher LuAnn Swanson said.

According to Swanson, students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade were able to order state championship T-shirts. Students at Pekin also took part in a 30-minute walk for Fall Fitness Day and Iowa’s ‘Healthiest State Initiative.

“It was fun to see how the students reacted to the fitness walk and how much they really enjoyed the exercise,” Swanson said. “We had 633 students and 71 faculty and staff exercising at the same time.”

The fall portion of the school year has seen Pekin Elementary students continue to stay active from hop scotch, ladder and snail on the playground for K-2 students to the annual soccer tournament for fifth graders. Later this school year, Pekin will aim to defend their state title by taking the Physical Fitness Test for the 2012-13 school year, the final year the test will be available.



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Fuhs Earns MVC Leadership And Service Award

Drake University fifth-year senior Avery Fuhs has earned the Missouri Valley Conference Leadership and Service Award, the conference announced this week. The former Chariton Charger and current Bulldog offensive lineman is one of 10 MVC student-athletes to earn the award for the 2012 fall season.

In order to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be in good academic standing, demonstrate good citizenship through good sportsmanship and significant community service and must participate in a sport, during the season of recognition.

In addition to serving as a team captain and leading the Bulldogs’ offensive line, Fuhs has been tireless in his service to the Des Moines and Iowa community while maintaining a 3.46 grade point average in his pursuit a double major in biology and biochemistry, cell and a molecular biology.

The Chariton native has been instrumental in the team’s volunteer efforts at Blank Children’s Hospital as well as Meals From the Heartland each of his five seasons in the program. A regular volunteer at the Iowa Homeless Shelter and Veterans Affairs Hospital, he also helped remodel the Ronald McDonald House at Iowa Methodist Hospital and regularly participates in the Bulldogs’ elementary school reading program.



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State Volleyball Tournament jumping ahead a day next year

Those planning on making the trip to Cedar Rapids next fall for the Iowa Girls State Volleyball Tournament will need to mark their calendars a day ahead, and a week later.

The Board of Directors of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union approved to move the dates of the 2013 Iowa Girls State Volleyball Tournament. The tournament, which is normally held Wednesday through Saturday, will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and wrap up with the finals on Friday, Nov. 15.

This year’s tournament wraps on this Saturday with the five state title matches being played from 10 a.m. through the Class 1A title match starting at approximately 6 p.m. Next year’s tournament, which several area teams will be hoping to be a part of, will return to it’s normal home in Cedar Rapids of the U.S. Cellular Center. The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena is hosting this year’s tournament while the U.S. Cellular Center undergoes renovations.



Got an item for the Scott Jackson’s Area Sports Notebook? Contact Jackson at sjacksonsports@yahoo.com.