Holy Cross Athletics
Holy Cross Athletics

Crusaders To Bench For A Cure On December 11

Holy Cross Athletics   11-23-2015

By Emily Iannaconi
Special to GoHolyCross.com

It’s that time of year again - benching time! On Friday, Dec.11, 2015, the last day of classes for the fall semester, do not be alarmed if you walk by the Hart Center varsity weight room and hear music, see tables of food and encounter people who you may not recognize because they are dressed up in costumes. The goal of the night is the same as it always is in the weight room - to lift as much as you can. Except there is an added twist on this Friday evening as Holy Cross students aim to raise money for breast cancer awareness in the eighth annual Benching for Breast Cancer event.

Registration for Benching for Breast Cancer begins at 5:00 p.m. and the event will start at 5:30 p.m. Each Holy Cross student will pay $10 to sign up and receive a t-shirt upon registration. Students form teams of four in order to compete in the Benching for Breast Cancer weight lifting contest. The goal is for each team member to bench as much as they can. Then, their totals are mathematically compared with their body weights in order to determine a winner. There will be prizes for most benched male and female teams.

In addition, there is also a costume competition between the teams. Awards will be given to the best dressed team, the most enthusiastic team and the team that fundraises the most amount of money. 

The tradition of having a candle light ceremony about halfway through the event to reflect and remember those who lost their battle to breast cancer, those who continue to fight and to celebrate the survivors will take place again this year. A commemorative wall entitled “Who Do You Bench For?” will also be present at this year’s event to honor those who have been affected by breast cancer. Students can write names or quotes and add pictures or articles to honor survivors and remember those whom they have lost.

The co-chairs for HC for a Cure, and the two in charge of the event, are junior track and field runner Matthew Liguori (Norwood, N.J.) and sophomore Emma O’Brien. Both are excited for what the event can be this year, particularly after last year’s all-time high participation of 610 students. 

“I got involved in HC for a Cure last year as a freshman because I believe that when people are battling cancer, money should not be a concern,” O’Brien said. “I also believe that funding research is the most productive way to combat cancer if you cannot be orchestrating the research yourself. Benching is the largest event that we host every year and I think that it has become an incredible way to involve a large portion of the student body in both a fundraising effort and remembrance ceremony. The atmosphere is electric in the room and the way the event has grown over the last seven years is great.”

Liguori echoed O’Brien’s enthusiasm and passion for Benching for Breast Cancer. “The atmosphere in the varsity weight room last year was incredible,” Liguori said. “To see such a large number of our student body gathered together for one cause was amazing. My favorite part of the night was the candlelight ceremony. We all gathered in the dark, lit candles and said a prayer for those who have passed on and those still fighting Breast Cancer. I cannot wait for the event this year.”

Head coach of the women’s track and field team, Egetta Alfonso noted how former co-chair of HC for a Cure and member of the track team, Michelle McGahan ’15 increased the track team’s involvement in the Benching for Breast Cancer event. “It was important to the team to support a friend and fellow athlete whose life had been touched by this disease,” Alfonso said. “Breast cancer affects us all in some way. It’s our responsibility to do whatever we can to raise awareness and funds to stamp it out.”

A member of the women’s track and field team, senior captain Caroline Carley (Barrington, Ill.) expressed her enthusiasm for the event. “Having attended Benching for Breast Cancer since my freshman year, something that sticks out to me is the way the student body comes together to support this cause,” Carley said. “It’s an exciting event with a real sense of unity.”

Head strength and conditioning coach Jeff Oliver further believes that the Benching for Breast Cancer event is symbolic of the Holy Cross community itself. “We started with a very simple concept and thought our biggest challenge would be to motivate our already overburdened student athletes to attend,” Oliver said. “Not only did they attend, they came in droves and with an enthusiasm unparalleled on any college campus. I think this is unique to Holy Cross and the type of student it attracts. The  students here are loyal, committed, generous and always the first in line when people ask for help. It has become not only a celebration of the last day of classes and a launching point for final exams, but more importantly a show of support for those affected by breast cancer."

All of the money raised from the Benching for Breast Cancer event will benefit Pink Revolution, a Worcester-based breast cancer alliance of dedicated individuals with a unified commitment to those who have been touched by breast cancer. 

The energy, passion and enthusiasm in the varsity weight room promises to be something to remember as the Holy Cross community comes together to support and celebrate those who have been affected by breast cancer. Find three friends and become a part of the Benching for Breast Cancer experience. 

To register online for the event go to the Benching for Breast Cancer page here.

Check out the video recap from last year's Benching for Breast Cancer:

Video Recap

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