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With the 2014-2015 school year coming to a close, sports are wrapping up. But with teams hoping to make a run towards a state title next year, summer conditioning is right around the corner. Whether it’s lifting weights, running or just practicing, multiple fall sports take part in it.
As the girls tennis team comes off a successful season, with all six of their varsity athletes qualifying to play in the state tournament and a subsequent state championship win, the team is looking to repeat last season’s success.
The girls’ tennis season kicks off right when school starts this fall, which will be the beginning of what freshman Larkin McLiney says is the quest for their fifth straight state championship.
According to McLiney, one of the top six players on varsity, they will all attend clinics in the summer, Monday through Friday, that last four hours long. At these clinics, players do a fifteen minute warm-up, which is basically a light jog and some stretching, followed by feeding drills. Feeding drills are when the coach will hand toss the player a ball, and the player will try to knock a cone over on the other end of the court. Whoever knocks down the most cones is exempt from some type of running consequence.
After feeding drills, the team will do match play or live ball games. To top it all off, the last fifteen minutes of the clinic go towards conditioning. This isn’t just running, but also abdominal exercises and pushups.
“It may be a lot of work,” McLiney said. “But I think it’s really valuable to the team to be able to practice so much in the summer, and I think it helps us all around.”
The boys’ cross country team ran better than they have in over a decade. according to junior Lance Meng It was the first time that the boys’ team had brought a full team to state in the last twelve years. They got second in their region, and then placed sixth at state. Hoping to build off the success of last year, the team will begin summer running about two weeks after the conclusion of track season. They will run every day at 7 a.m. At the beginning of summer, the team will start out small, only running a few miles. Throughout the summer, the goal is to pick up the pace, and by the end, the goal is to run around seven miles each day.
“Summer running is huge,” Meng said. “Without it, we would be nowhere near as good as we should be. In fact, we would be horrible.”
The season officially begins the second week of school. Meng says that he believes the team has a real chance to place in the top five at state this year. With the team returning multiple varsity runners, the squad has the talent to get there, but it will all come down to putting work in over the summer, practice and effort.
Capping off an undefeated and state title winning season, it’s going to be hard for a repeat. The team will be losing multiple key seniors, including Gunnar Englund, Jackson Gossick and Sam Huffman. But if they want a chance at a repeat, it starts with summer conditioning. The team will begin conditioning on June 1. According to junior Jack Tyler, weight lifting starts at 6:30 a.m. and lasts for about 45 minutes. They do this every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. After they lift, the team goes outside to the track for conditioning. They run, push sleds and do other types of cardio workouts. When they aren’t lifting or conditioning, they play scrimmages against other schools.
“It’s good to play other schools,” Tyler said. “It lets us run our plays and see what we are doing well on defense.”
Another part of summer conditioning for football is individual training for specific positions. For example, quarterback training for sophomore Luke Kaiser. This will be his first year as the starting quarterback.
“Every day I just practice all the basics,” Kaiser said. “Throwing motion, throwing on the run, and quick feet. Basic stuff like that.”
According to Kaiser, summer conditioning helps the team immensely, and without it, the team would be unprepared when the season rolls around next fall.
Other position based training includes defensive backs, where coach Hobson comes every Monday to work with the cornerbacks.
“It’s really helpful when Hobson comes and gives us some help,” Tyler said. “He’s really good at what he does and I think that makes us better.”