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Weight room undergoes renovations during winter break

During the winter break, the weight room underwent renovations to improve safety and increase space.

The+platforms+inside+of+the+weight+room+have+been+removed+in+an+effort+to+create+space+and+make+the+environment+safer+for+athletes.+
The platforms inside of the weight room have been removed in an effort to create space and make the environment safer for athletes.

The platforms inside of the weight room have been removed in an effort to create space and make the environment safer for athletes.

Kanishka Mehra

Kanishka Mehra

The platforms inside of the weight room have been removed in an effort to create space and make the environment safer for athletes.

Gabe Swartz and Ben Brown

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The “Church of Iron”– as Strength & Conditioning Coach Clint Rider and the rest of Blue Valley Northwest athletics call the weight room at Northwest– underwent renovations throughout the winter break. During the renovations to the weight room, the platforms located at each station were removed.

“Number one it creates a little more space,” Rider said. “We gained about seven to eight feet on each of the long ends, and then on the wider ends we gained about three feet on each side.”

The platforms also raised safety concerns for Rider and the rest of Northwest athletes.

“Whether students or myself, whoever it may be, could trip over the platforms. When students perform lifts, if a student were to fall back and to be able to land on a raised surface that might cause some sort of injury, and we just want to avoid all of that.”

Those are high goals, those are high aspirations, but, I think when people think of Blue Valley they think of dream big.”

— Clint Rider

Earlier in December of 2017, the administration announced that the class caps for Weights classes would be increased from 28 to 42 beginning in the spring semester of 2018, something Athletic Director Kevin Gerke said influenced the decision to look for ways to get more space in the weight room.

“As Coach Rider expands the capacity of our weights classes,” Gerke said, “that extra space will be something that he can utilize and will be pretty important for him.”

Prior to the removal of the platforms, Rider purchased a church bell in early December for students to ring when they set their personal records. Gerke said there are preliminary discussions into putting Fathead wraps or painting the walls in the hallway and interior of the weight room.

“I know they’re wanting to do some painting down there,” Gerke said. “We’re also looking at the possibility of doing some wraps kind of those like Fathead type things on the wall doing some stuff, some Husky stuff, maybe both, kind of in the weight room and just down in that area outside the weight room, again just to make it a little more inviting a little more colorful.”

After his first semester at Northwest, after being hired in April to be the head football coach as well as strength and conditioning coach, Rider said he has been impressed with the growth of the strength and conditioning program.

“It’s been awesome,” Rider said. “I think just the energy from our athletes has created an environment where you know people want to be a part of it. When I got here, that was the hope and that was the goal for students and athletes to enjoy the weight room and enjoy the process of bettering themselves and see the benefits that can translate onto the field or the court or wherever someone might be competing.”

“So, for that to grow and for us to have to remove those cap limits, is pretty neat to see, but we hope that’s just the beginning and we hope that our program can grow to a point someday where, you know we’re not necessarily removing platforms but we’re creating more space in other ways.”

Along with making visual changes to the weight room itself, Rider and the administration announced Thursday that an all-girls weights class will be offered beginning in the fall semester of the 2018-19 school year.

To me the need is not necessarily right now we have a bunch of girls busting down the door. The need is the fact that we have so few,” Rider said. “Trying to create an all-female class is to try to jump-start that side of the program, to provide a place that they can step into where they’re surrounded by peers where they might be more comfortable with, rather than being in here with all boys to begin with.”

Rider said the curriculum for the all-girls class will be the same as for the normal weights class.

It’ll be exactly the same because my philosophy is that we’re going to train the general athlete,” Rider said. “We don’t do football-specific things. We don’t do boys-specific things, and female athletes need the same general strength capabilities, mobility, jumping and landing and probably do that more so than boy athletes do. So we will spend a bunch of time on that. There may be some minor considerations, but as far as what we do will look very similar from one class to the next.”

With smaller-scale improvements being made now, Rider said he hopes that in the future the need for more resources and space could prompt a large-scale remodeling of the weight room.

“Right now there’s not a need,” Rider said, “so the program has to get to a point where there becomes a need. Where students are not getting opportunities to get in the weight room.”

“We want to create an environment that is such that we have to break out of the restrictions, and so, whether that means at some point where it becomes a safety issue having so many kids in here and kids are not getting enough opportunities that we have to try to expand the weight room in some way… those are high goals, those are high aspirations, but, I think when people think of Blue Valley they think of dream big.”

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Weight room undergoes renovations during winter break