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Student-athletes took turns testing their vertical jump while coaches and physical trainers watched at the COMBINE Contest Thursday afternoon at Spine & Sport.

The first annual Combine Contest started Thursday afternoon at Spine & Sport.

The contest is free and open to junior high and high school athletes. As part of the competition, the athletes test speed, agility, strength and power. Athletes could try any of the challenges, and after they completed them, after physical trainers worked with them on how to better their form so they could prevent injuries and make their performance better.

Fred Shonkwiler, the owner of Spine & Sport, said he’s been waiting years to host this event, and he thinks now is the perfect time to introduce it to the community.

“The combine at the start of the summer is a great way to start off the summer sports performance camps, and at Spine and Sport we’re offering some summer sport performance camps that take a different slant, a medical approach to sports science,” Shonkwiler said.

Athletes had the chance to run, jump, lift and more. At the end of the contest, those with the best results will be rewarded with plaques in recognition of their work.

Shonkwiler said that although he likes rewarding the athletes, the best reward is teaching them how to be safer during their seasons.

“Behind the scenes, we really can gain a lot of valuable information about injury prevention and sports performance to help athletes perform better,” Shonkwiler said. “So it’s really a great event for not only athletes but for coaches and parents to come learn about how sports science can make you a better athlete.”

Brooklyn Holtman is a senior at Maryville High School who competed in the event. She said it was a great chance to get out and see her results.

“Well it’s not only like a competition ... but it’s fun like you meet a lot of people,” Holtman said. “(It’s) not only a way to see where you sit in St. Joe competition-wise but also to make new friends.”

The contest ends around 6 p.m. Friday. Those who are interested in competing can walk in or can call the business at 816-279-7778 to sign up.

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