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Community Hospital Fitness Pointe Members Row, Row, Row Their Way Into First Place in World Challenge, 10th Consecutive Win

For a 10th consecutive year, members of the Community Hospital Fitness Pointe team have been named champions of the World Rowing competition. Overall the team placed first, this time rowing a whopping 23,102,423 meters, beating out 79 other international teams entered in the Health/Fitness division.

Sponsored by Concept2, a manufacturer of indoor rowing equipment, the challenge took place March 15 to April 15 at the medically-based fitness center, 9950 Calumet Avenue. Some 190 rowers, comprised of healthcare system employees and facility staff and members, participated, keeping the title in Munster.

“We are proud to call our team ‘champions’ and appreciate their personal efforts to strive to be their very best,” said Nikki Sarkisian, exercise program manager Fitness Pointe. “It takes commitment, endurance, strength and stamina to earn this title even one time. Our team has done that 10 times over.”

Seven team members of the rowing team achieved more than 1 million meters: Gary DeYoung (Munster), 1,442,000 meters; Michele Beigle (Griffith) 1,222,222 meters; Ken Morton (Lansing), 1,135,442 meters; Billie Jo Spence (Highland), 1,056,817 meters; Shailash Bhatt (Munster), 1,025,555 meters; Jim Oster (St. John) 1,015,000 meters and Judy Abbott (Munster), 1,010,010.

Six members of the Fitness Pointe team rowed more than 500,000 meters: John Neighbors (Griffith), 903,000; William Russell (Dyer), 808,016; Ed Lebryk (Munster), 637,900; Joyce Winchester (Highland), 600,423; Rich White (Munster), 575,757 and Dale Winchester (Highland), 554,844.

In order to attain this level of recognition, teammates put their lives on hold for the four-week period of the competition and focus on rowing and one goal, according to Deb Bergren of St. John who was a first-time rower this year. She contributed to the team win by racking up 363,637 meters.

“I’ve been a member at Fitness Pointe for 10 years, but this was my first time on the indoor rowing team,” explained Bergren. “My friends talked me into it although I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it would be hard and my knees would hurt as I have had knee surgery. But it wasn’t hard and my knees didn’t hurt. I now understand that it’s the camaraderie that keeps team members coming back year after year. Everyone is very supportive and offers encouragement.”

Community Hospital Fitness Pointe helps individuals achieve life-long health and fitness through innovative, quality programs, state of the art equipment and highly credentialed staff. For more information about the programs and services available, visit our web site at

For more information about Concept2 programs and challenges, visit online at

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