BOONE, N.C. — With the spring “Battle” complete, the Belt now belongs to captain Brad Absher and his Loose Juice squad.
The Battle for the Belt is an offseason, intrasquad competition in which points are awarded for achievements in the football team’s strength and conditioning program, performance in the classroom, service to the community and all-around character.
With spring semester grades reported, Absher’s Loose Juice team took first with 15,118 total points — or 1,044 more than the second-place total from captain Myquon Stout’s Heavy Chevy squad.
In addition to Absher, a senior receiver who joined the program in 2014 as a walk-on, the Loose Juice team included receiver Thomas Hennigan (co-captain), cornerback Clifton Duck, all-purpose threat Darrynton Evans, offensive lineman Chandler Greer, defensive end/outside linebacker Jermaine McDaniel, offensive lineman Nate Haskins, receiver A’Darius Purifoy, punter Clayton Howell, offensive lineman Luke Burnette and linebacker Matthew McQuinn.
Absher, Stout, Collin Reed, Josh Thomas, Victor Johnson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Jalin Moore and Anthony Flory were the eight team captains. Zac Thomas, Austin Exford, Okon Godwin, Corey Sutton, Noel Cook, Noah Hannon and Zeb Speir joined Hennigan in serving as co-captains.
“We started a thing this year with a leadership council called #10Strong,” App State director of strength and conditioning Mike Sirignano said. “We needed a leader at every position and met every Tuesday with that group. The energy that those leaders pushed throughout the team was phenomenal. Our offseason numbers are far as speed, lifting, have been phenomenal. The energy surrounding the team all the time on a day-to-day basis was the best I’ve seen in my five years.”
This spring’s Battle for the Belt began in mid-March, and Loose Juice took the lead for good three weeks later. That group held a 264-point advantage on the Week 8 leaderboard in early May.
Captains draft teams for a total of 11-12 players, and they competed for points via performance on Tuesday mornings. Weights, sprints, conditioning, community service, being an exemplary teammate and putting in extra training sessions were all ways to earn points.
Points could also be earned by being a “Juiceman” during training sessions. Juicemen are athletes who bring a positive attitude and relentless energy to training sessions. The tone they set is contagious and exemplifies the App State way. At the end of each session, strength coaches meet and select Juicemen or a Juiceman for the day.