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St. Croix Central athletes want more speed, more success

Brett Mousel is shown working on the lat machine last week with Jacob Spaeth and Blake Colman waiting their turn to lift. 1 / 3
Jessie Kinney is shown completing a set of her lifts as Moqui Huberty, Ariana Carrasco and Brianna Rolling look on. 2 / 3
Talk about old-fashioned muscle building. One of the stations in the St. Croix Central weight room has the athletes swinging a sledgehammer. Here, Sam McCrane takes his turn. 3 / 3

Hard work breeds success. Success brings a winning attitude.

That is the philosophy the St. Croix Central coaches are trying to pass on to their athletes.

From the work that was done in the Panther weight room this summer, Central’s athletes have embraced the philosophy and are working with a renewed vigor. The Panther athletes completed their summer lifting program last week.

The philosophy change began last March, when the Central coaches brought in Bigger Faster Stronger clinician Dennis Moon in to speak to the Panther athletes. Moon is the former Wautoma coach who won a state championship with Jared Abbrederis as his star player. Abbrederis went on to a stellar career with the University of Wisconsin football team and is now a rookie receiver with the Green Bay Packers.

“We’ve strictly been using the BFS program because it’s proven it works,” said St. Croix Central athletic director Jeremy Kerg.

Kerg said physical education teacher Matt Langman has become the district’s strength and conditioning coach and he’s taken the lead on developing lifting programs for the Panther athletes within the BFS structure.

The response? Kerg said he’s heard nothing but positive comments from the athletes and their approval is showing in their effort level. That effort starts early. A large group of the older athletes show up at the weight room at 6 a.m. each weekday and they work with an intent to improve. And it is athletes from every sport who are getting involved.

“We’ll be a lot better this year because our kids are stronger,” Kerg stated.

Kerg said there are more than 100 athletes who are lifting regularly. He said the kids like the program because it gives them the chance to break personal records each week.

“The most impressive piece is the amount of gains the kids are making,” Kerg said.

The coaches are also seeking out more opportunities for the Central athletes to get specialized training. Recently, former University of Wisconsin standout offensive lineman Al Johnson held a clinic for the Central football linemen. Johnson was a center for the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins from 2004-08, making 41 NFL starts.

The members of the Panther football backfield got some specialized coaching last week, from former UW-River Falls head coach John O’Grady.

The work hasn’t just been coming from football players. It’s been from athletes from every sport. Kerg said he expects a nice upturn in success from the Panther volleyball team, based on the work they’ve been putting in. He said the cross country runners have also been working in lifting with their regimen of running.

There has also been a healthy number of middle school athletes who’ve been lifting regularly.

Every inch of the weight room area gets used, with several barbell sets placed in the hallway. Kerg and high school principal Glenn Webb spent a Saturday knocking out a wall in the weight room recently. The space had previously been used for football storage, but it was added to the weight room to accommodate the increased demand.

The coaches have been promoting the extra weight room work because they want to see their athletes perform up to their full potential. It’s also being done with an eye toward the future. Because of Central’s increasing enrollment, a change in conferences could happen in the future.

“We have to be ready, so when we get the call to join the Middle Border (Conference), we’ll be ready,” Kerg said.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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