The North Bend Eagle


NBC strength program moves into new home

by Nathan Arneal
Published 12/3/146

They say it’s a good idea to stretch when you lift.

Well, the North Bend Central strength training classes will finally have room to stretch their legs a little bit.

After several months of sharing space with shop classes, the NBC weight room officially moved into its newly expanded facility on Thursday.

And it’s not just the weight room that got a make over. The entire Tiger strength program is getting a boost with twice as many classes being offered, a new full-time weight lifting teacher and new equipment.

Tony Allgood, the NBC activities director and head football coach, said the school has made a conscious decision to improve its strength training.

“Athletics have changed,” Allgood said. “If we’re going to make a commitment to keep our student-athletes healthy, then we have to have them in the weight room. The game has changed to where that has to be part of their day.”

In previous years, only two periods of weight lifting were offered per day. This year four classes are offered, and for the first time freshman are allowed to take weight lifting. The new, larger weight room will also allow more students per period to take the class. Currently, 77 students are taking a weight lifting class. Last year, that number was about 40.

This year only two high school football players were not in a weight lifting class. The majority of winter athletes are also in a strength training class during the day.

“Now we don’t have kids coming in the morning to lift weights before practice,” Allgood said. “If we’re going to keep them healthy, they have to be in the weight room. They have to be able to handle the demands of playing against bigger, stronger athletes.”

Craig Schmeckpeper was hired this year to be the main weight lifting teacher. He leads three periods of strength training while Allgood teaches one.

Schmeckpeper is in his 19th year of teaching weight lifting, with previous stops in Shelton, Norfolk and Valentine. This is the third time he has been involved in a strength training program that is moving into a new weight room.

“I’ve been a part of it twice and in both places it’s paid off immensely,” Schmeckpeper said. “There’s new toys and the kids want to be a part of it.”

While some of the equipment was held over from the old weight room, most of it is new. The old weight room had three bench press benches and two squat racks. The new facility has six racks that can be used either for bench or squat.

“A lot of time kids couldn’t get both those lifts in,” Schmeckpeper said. “Now there’s enough space and equipment for everybody to make sure they get everything in.”

There are also four platforms for hang or power clean lifts. Each station has a customized “Tigers Strength” logo with pair of Tiger eyes glaring from the darkenss. The program also got a new VertiMax machine, which uses bungees attached to a jumper’s waist to improve vertical leap and explosion, giving the room a total of two VertiMaxes. There are also four pieces of cardio equipment: a treadmill, a stationary bike, a rowing machine and an elliptical. Schmeckpeper said the cardio equipment will come in handy for injured athletes.

“Before when someone was injured, we’d send them to the library and they’d write a paper,” he said. “Now we can utilize this equipment for them to at least be doing something physical, and that’s why they took the class.”

The new weight lifting room is in the same place as the old one, but it has been expanded by about 50 percent. Also new is a wall of windows on the south side of the room that allows a view into the room from the commons area outside the new gym.

When construction started last spring, he weight room moved into a temporary space in the industrial arts shop. First period weight lifting class shared the space with a small engines class.

“That was different,” Schmeckpeper said. “Toward the end of the process the kids were like, ‘Man, we got to get out of here.’”

Periodically, Schmeckpeper would take his classes down to the construction zone and take a peek at the new weight room just to give them a glimpse of what was coming.

Now students are seeing that patience pay off.

“Our kids are very excited to be in here,” Scmeckpeper said. “You can see a little renewed energy in them. When you build something you want to do it right, and we did that here. We got everything we needed and kids are going to benefit from that.”

The plan is to eventually have the weight room open before and after school to be used by students not in a weight lifting class.

“The more they can get in here, the more they’re going to get addicted to the lifting part of it,” Schmekpeper said. “Once that happens, that’s when you start seeing the improvements. We’re on our way.”

The plan all along has been to provide access to the weight room to the public. NBC principal Brenda Petersen said that access will likely begin around February, after the students fully settle into the new facility and all the bugs are worked out.

Allgood said credit needs to go to those members of the public for approving the changes and improvements at the school.

“It’s going to be a big benefit to our weight lifting program,” Allgood said. “And it wasn’t just the hiring of a new teacher. If you look at the commitment the school board and our community made to improving our weight room, and now the school itself in offering more weight lifting classes, that’s a big thing for our kids.

“We’re still focused on our academics, but if you’re going to offer activities, you have to commit to those, too.”

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