- Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 00:30
- Published on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 00:30
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For most teenagers they spend their summers sleeping in, playing video games, going to the pool, going outside when it’s convenient and just “kick-it.” A number of athletes at Washington & Lee high school have taken a different approach to their vacation time. Most of the athletes are familiar faces; the faces that coaches, teachers, and peers see every day working hard and sacrificing their time for their school, county, and more importantly, their selves. They know winning starts in the off-season and there is no off-season for an Elite Eagle. Games are won and lost in the weight room.
Greater strength, obviously, reduces the chance of injury during preseason practice and competition, improves fatigue resistance and will lead to more explosive and powerful movements. Improved coordination also decreases the risk of injury, expands efficiency of movement and augments skill in sports like football, where exact movements are vital. It’s not often you will find one teenager, let alone the amount that have captivated their summer mornings to the W&L off season conditioning program. The following lifters have perfect attendance so far: Wade Bibbens, Grady Boswell, Jerome Saunders, Gregory Bankhead, Jerry Robinson, Josh Fones and Matt Chatam.
Three days a week the weight room is open to the athletes; they have the choice to come in the morning or in evening. The work ethic they are displaying is inspiring and self motivating. Most of the lifters will be suiting up in pads in the early August heat. Others are the members of the cross country team that you may have already seen running this summer. They know that the hard work and sweat are the price they must pay today for their accomplishments tomorrow.
A lot of these Eagles are looking forward to their Fall Friday nights on the gridiron. Quite a few members of the football team have consistently been working and consistently getting stronger. The workouts are demanding, physical and mentally. Each day it’s a full-body workout, working on explosion, agility, power, coordination and mental toughness.
“The kids have really bought into it; so much that they get me here early and make me stay so late that I eventually have to kick them out,” Athletic Director Malcolm Lewis said. The entire body is tested, with many of the exercises straining all parts concurrently. Use of the exercises will make them strong from the tips of their toes to the top of their heads.
The cross country runners have stepped forward this year and have made an individual challenge. They each want to be in better shape coming into August than they did last year.
“In the 2009 season, myself and most of the other runners came out the first day of practice out of shape, you can’t do that” Senior captain Cullen Oliver said. “Cross country is summer sport you play in the fall, if you come in winded, you will never reach your full potential.” It’s clear that most of the runners understand that with the time they are putting into their running regime already this summer.
“Our goal is to be the fastest team in the district; we want guys and girls that can run, if you can run, we will find you,” head coach Cole Vanover said.
These Eagles challenge all of their teammates and classmates to get outside of the air conditioning and prepare for the season. Come to weight lifting; and if you can’t, go for a run, do push-ups, sit ups, body squats, anything requiring effort to break a sweat. They know they have to earn it. They can’t count on other people to do their job for them.