Summer weight rooms increase student strength

by Colin Stravers

Physical fitness and staying healthy are a central part of life for many students, whether they are involved in a sport, PE, or opt-out PE. Over the summer PE isn’t in session, and most sports are out of season, but that doesn’t mean all the PC students “let themselves go.” Many students use their summer free time by taking advantage of the PC weight room hours or finding other ways to stay fit.

Strength coach Corey Westra was heavily involved in the PC weight room during the school year as well as through the summer. Coach Westra monitored the weight room at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, with an additional 6:30 p.m. session on Friday.

A variety of students attended regularly, “We had the regular core of athletes, athletes we had not seen in awhile, and we had groups that were completely new to the weight room,” Westra said.

As the supervisor of the weight room, Westra’s job included monitoring whether the students were using the equipment responsibly, helping previous lifters improve, and helping new lifters learn the way of the weight room.

With attendance high, improvement, and sweat, was in the air. Westra was impressed with the goals that were reached this summer. “Four males squatted over 400 lbs, twelve hang-cleaned over 225, and six benched over 225,” he said. For those unfamiliar with the weight versus difficulty system, those weights are quite significant and quite challenging. But lifting more wasn’t the program’s sole success.

Existing lifters returned, and new lifters from all grade levels started to trickle in as well. “Jacque Lensing, Jocelyn Gritters, Cailey Terpstra, Lindsay Breon, Kaley Wilson, Brooke Mitrisin, and Natalie Vos are a cross section of females that have been coming in and showing great results,” Westra stated.

Weightlifting is often thought of as a man’s game, but that stereotype has begun to change. These PC girls showed solid improvement over the summer and their respective sports will testify to their hard work.

With students being able to lift more in their “off season,” improvement flourished. Westra tasked himself with helping the students “improve all aspects of the body,” while also “prepar(ing) all athletes for the demands of their sport.” But not all students were involved with the PC strength program; some chose different options.

Junior Kade Vander Molen decided to lift with some of his fellow baseball players at a friend’s weight room. “I geared to improve my overall athleticism,” Vander Molen said.

And improve he did. Over the course of this summer, he met all his pre-summer goals, ending the season with a 15 inch improvement on his vertical and a significant drop in his 40-yard-dash time. Large improvements such as these are fueled by motivation. A motivation to get better.

The motivation behind it all can vary from person to person. Westra stated that a big plus of lifting is that students build self-confidence. With improvement comes satisfaction and confidence, which can help throughout all aspects of life. “I feel I should do my best to maximize the gifts given me. One of them being my athletic talents,” Vander Molen said. God has given each person gifts and if that happens to be athletic ability, there is often motivation to improve in order to give back to God.

Staying fit isn’t always easy, so motivation to keep going goes a long ways. Programs like PC’s, along with coaches such as Corey Westra, offer the outside motivation that some students need. Despite school being out of session, the summer of 2016 was a season of improvement for many students.

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