Men’s Basketball: Wolverines take training to another level

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PROVO, Utah—The Utah Valley University men’s basketball team spent Saturday afternoon putting their strength and conditioning to the test at the UVU Emergency Services Building with the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) Course and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Maze. Each course is a basic test required for candidates to complete before entering firefighter training academy.

The CPAT is an eight-obstacle course that candidates must complete in under 10 minutes and 20 seconds. The SCBA Maze is a four-story wooden box-like structure where two candidates crawl through a maze to the top in full protective gear carrying an oxygen tank on their back while blindfolded as they have a hood over their eyes. Participants must rely on their instincts and their partner to make their way through the maze.

Head coach Mark Pope saw the opportunity to bring his players to the ES Building as a chance for growth and maturation that will pay dividends during the upcoming basketball season.

“We’re trying to find opportunities where we can get guys into uncomfortable positions where they can just feel what that feels like and feel how you get through it and that you just kind of push through it,” said Pope. “That there’s no alternative than kind of ‘put your head down and go forward.’”

Some of Pope’s players were definitely uncomfortable with the situations into which they were thrown. The tight spaces in the courses were not conducive to that of six-foot-six-plus basketball players, but they pushed through the confined spaces despite a feelings of anxiety.

The eight obstacles on the CPAT course included a stair climb with 75 pounds of weight, hose drag, equipment carry with two power saws, ladders raise and extension, forcible entry with a sledgehammer, search (a crawl through obstacles in a U-shaped maze), rescue (drag a 165-pound mannequin around a designated barrel) and ceiling breach and pull.

The first one to tackle the CPAT course was Telly Davenport, who set the tone for the rest of the team despite not really having a feel for technique.

“It was different because I hadn’t seen anybody do it yet,” said Davenport. “I only saw it in the presentation that they showed us. I couldn’t remember every step when I was supposed to go from step to step.”

The obstacle in the CPAT that seemed to give the Wolverines the most trouble was the maze. Jordan Poydras said it was difficult getting through the maze and not knowing what was going on around him. Hayden Schenck agreed.

“You can’t see anything, there’s obstacles and what not, so that was pretty tough,” said Schenck

However, Schenck finished the afternoon in the CPAT with the best time of the group with 7:35. After completion, Schenck fell exhausted to the floor and lay on his back for several minutes to recover from the grueling course. His teammates gathered to congratulate him, but also playfully mocked his exhaustion.

“If you’re competitive you want to win anyways, so you just focus on getting to the next stage as fast as you can,” said Schenck. “So just kind of lay it out on the line, you’re burning, so once you’re burning to a certain extent it’s definitely mental. It’s just push myself to the next step, then once you’re there then you’re one step closer.”