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Athletes, coaches seeing benefits of new equipment

Chandler Nelson, who will be a junior this fall, does an exercise Wednesday morning at the Mitchell High School weight room. (Brooke Cersosimo/Republic)

Mitchell High School football coach Kent VanOverschelde is seeing the benefits of the new weight room equipment in volumes.

Monday through Thursday, members of the Kernel football team are working out to improve their strength in the newly renovated space.

New equipment -- which includes weight racks, weights, medicine balls, bars and weight machines -- was purchased and moved in nearly two months ago. The total amount of the equipment cost $114,286 -- a sum that was raised by the weight room committee.

"The goal from the beginning was to increase our efficiency and productivity in the weight room," VanOverschelde said. "The setup is easier and being able to get the kids through in a very efficient manner is important."

VanOverschelde said about 75 kids use the space each of those days during three or four sessions. High schoolers, middle schoolers and several college athletes use the weight room.

"Even our low numbers because of activities, trips and vacations were our high numbers in the past," VanOverschelde said.

Last year before the new equipment, an average of 22 high school kids lifted every day. After the improvements were made this summer, an average of 38 high schoolers lift every day, said VanOverschelde.

"We built the past programs based on the equipment that we had and some kids were turned away because they had to wait to get through workouts," VanOverschelde said, adding as many as 60 kids lifted during a single session this summer. "Now, everybody can come in and get better without waiting in line."

Andrew Getty, who will be a senior this fall, said the renovations make lifting worthwhile.

"We get a lot more lifts done a lot quicker," said Getty, who plays for the Kernel football team. "We can get the whole team in here and get everybody preparing together for the season in one session. That's the nicest part about this whole thing."

Not only does the weight room benefit the football team but it will meet needs from other MHS programs, along with the physical education program.

"In no way was it the committee's intent to just improve the football program," VanOverschelde said. "We've got a great start and as more people get on board we'll see that increase of use and sharing knowledge of these programs."

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.