In the Moffat County High School weight room shouts of “Hoo-rah!” echoed through the room as middle school aged athletes closed in on completing their workout.
This is the way it’s been all summer on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, as incoming seventh through ninth-graders have woken up early to prepare for the next football season.
The next generation of Bulldogs football has been doing circuit training geared towards strength and speed to get a leg up on the competition. They have consistently had large groups show up to the conditioning sessions, an encouraging sign for the coaches.
“We’ve had about 60 kids all summer,” said Lance Scranton, assistant football coach at the high school. “That’s what you need, is to get them out here and working.”
For many of the younger players, it is their first time doing a full, intense workout. But the circuit training is challenging all the same for the stronger and more experienced lifters.
The aspiring players said that having so many people come out and put the time in is a motivating factor in sticking with the program.
“Definitely, if you miss a day you’ll probably hear about it from some of the other guys,” said Eddie Smercina, an incoming freshman in high school.
Smercina is unable to do some of the exercises because he is recovering from a knee surgery recently, but he still is showing up daily to prepare for his first season of high school sports.
“I’m here to build up strength and get ready for the season,” Smercina said. “Plus you’re not sitting around, this gives you something to do.”
Coaches hope the summer conditioning will instill a work ethic in the athletes that will last throughout their high school years and maybe even beyond. Scranton knows putting the time in over the summer and alone is what it takes to be successful in sports at the high school level.
“Think about four years from now,” he said, addressing the athletes Thursday. “Imagine if we had this group as seniors, juniors and sophomores in four years, what kind of athletes you could be if you keep this up.”
Smercina also understands the importance of putting time into the sport in between seasons, not just when practice rolls around during the school year.
“I think you need to be here,” he said. “You’ve got to do it to make sure you’re not getting behind the ball.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org