IHS lift-a-thon builds more than strength

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Building strength and size has been on the mind of Isabella head football coach Tate Leonard since he took over the reigns of the program three years ago.

One of the examples of that is the Mustangs’ annual lift-a-thon, which was held on July 23.

The event puts a cap on the summer workouts, as the attention begins to shift to the fall and the upcoming season.

According to Leonard, the goal was for players to improve their personal best by at least 10 pounds.

“The key is confidence,” Leonard said. “Everybody starts at a certain level, and hopefully you see yourself building gains.”

Some players took it even farther than that and saw improvement of 20 pounds or more.

“I was impressed,” Leonard said. “We’ve been working hard since January, and the last time we maxed was May. The kids are feeling good about themselves, and it lets us know that everything we’re doing is working.”

Anthony Fjeldstad rings a bell after reaching a personal best. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

One of the players that made a leap of improvement was junior Branden Evans. He saw an increase of 45 pounds on squat, 20 pounds on bench and 30 pounds on power clean.

According to Evans, he can see the difference that the weight program has had just by looking around at the physical appearance of his teammates.

“Everybody has gotten a lot bigger and faster,” Evans said. “We’re in better shape than we were.”

Family and friends were allowed to watch the players’ lift from roped off areas, which gave it a different feel compared to a typical weight training session.

“Parents want to see what their kids are doing,” Leonard said. “It’s a good way for them to see how hard their kids have been working.”

The event is much more than just about how much weight can be lifted. It also serves as a team-building exercise.

At times throughout the night players gathered around to cheer on their teammates as they strived to hit a new top mark.

“We try and get fired up for everybody,” Leonard said. “We talk all the time about doing the right things to deserve victory, and then you should expect victory. That’s what we’re all about.”