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Hammer Strength Announces All-American Athlete of the Year Award Winners

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May 29, 2014

Rosemont, Ill., May 29, 2014 – Hammer Strength, a Life Fitness-owned performance brand of strength equipment, in partnership with the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa), announces the winners of the second annual Hammer Strength All-American Athlete Award: Rafaelle Souza of the University of Mississippi and Zach Zenner of South Dakota State University. These inaugural winners of the award exemplify the best of what it takes, on and off the field, to become an elite athlete. 

Exceptional Work Ethic and Passion Drives Winners 

“Collegiate athletics is a very competitive landscape,” said Chris Clawson, Life Fitness president. “This award was created to recognize and celebrate superior male and female collegiate athletes who stand out from the crowd in terms of work ethic, consistency and academic performance.”

Female winner Rafaelle Souza of the University of Mississippi has established herself as one of the top forwards in the SEC. Souza, originally from Brazil and knowing only a few words of English was able to become a two-time SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year. Her dedication to improving was not limited to the classroom as she is the all-time Rebel leader in goals and points after just three seasons at Mississippi. Souza’s coaches nominated her for her leadership and hard-working attitude. She currently holds a 3.77 GPA.

Male winner Zach Zenner of South Dakota State University has been exceptional student-athlete on and off the field. His dedication to training and superior work ethic earned him a starting role his sophomore year. Zenner became the only the second FCS running back to rush for over 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons, which resulted in him making six different All-America teams following the 2013 season. He maintains a 3.85 GPA as pre-medicine major.

Annual Award Honors Leadership and Performance

To be considered for the Hammer Strength All-American Athlete Award, athletes were judged on their personal qualities and achievements in terms of work ethic, leadership, consistency and academic performance.

Winners were announced at the CSCCa annual national conference at the Master Strength and Conditioning Coaches Dinner and Ceremony on Thursday, May 8th, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Hammer Strength brand is renowned in the athletic community and embodies all of the reputational weight and influence of notable figures in college and professional sports. 

“We’ve worked closely with colleges across the country to build training facilities that empower collegiate athletes to realize their true athletic potential,” said Clawson. “With this award, we’re honoring the students who extend their passion for self-improvement outside of the weight room and into their sport, their academics and their community.”

For more information on the award, please visit or contact Lauren Platt at to interview the winners.

About Hammer Strength Clinics

Hammer Strength Clinics feature ground-breaking training tips and techniques presented by top strength and conditioning coaches from professional, collegiate and high school programs. Leading coaches from the National Football League (NFL), Division II Football (DII), and Conferences including the Atlantic Coast (ACC), Big East, Big Ten, Gateway, Ivy League, Mountain West, and Southeastern Conference (SEC) will break down their proven methods, answer questions and share ideas on building a successful program.

About Life Fitness

Life Fitness is the global leader in commercial fitness equipment, as well as game tables and furnishings. The company manufactures and sells its well-known strength and cardiovascular equipment under its Life Fitness and Hammer Strength brands. It also offers billiards tables, accessories and game room furniture under the iconic Brunswick Billiards brand. Life Fitness, Hammer Strength and Brunswick Billiards equipment is distributed to more than 120 countries. Headquartered outside Chicago, in Rosemont, Ill., the company is a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC).



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