A training place of their own

The stench of new rubber doesn’t seem to knock the athlete’s rhythmic breathing out of sync as he lifts the weights up and down. The bright lights glare against the shiny new metal as a few determined athletes pump iron. The room is congested with weight machines and strength training gear.But this bulky equipment can’t be found in the Fitness Center.

The new varsity weight room, located in the bottom of the Spartan Athletic Complex, is a place where only members of a Castleton State College varsity sports team can go and strength train. Although the weight room is new this year, it is used on a daily basis.

“It gives us a leeway to train the athletes without interruptions and control the intensity of their workouts,” said Al Jean, director of fitness facilities and strength and conditioning coach. “They are trained accordingly in off-season, pre-season and in-season.”

The weight room isn’t what you’d expect. While the walls are plain, free of distracting body building posters and nutrition charts, the room itself is a tiny 1,400 square feet compared to the 3,500 square-foot Fitness Center. The equipment sits tightly in careful lines. But, it wasn’t supposed to be this size.

“Part of the reason I took this job was, I was informed at the time of my interview, that in the near future there would be a strength training facility equivalent to the size of the Fitness Center,” Jean said.

Despite its size, Jean said that the majority of the teams like the weight room because they don’t have to work around the Fitness Center schedule. The weight room “gives them their own home,” he said.

Women’s basketball player Kristie Dunchus agrees.

“I like it because like last year we would have to wait, so this year we can get in and out with just one team at a time,” Dunchus said. “It can be more relaxing because it’s just our team.”

Bethany Torrice, women’s volleyball coach, said she thinks her team has “really enjoyed having their own separate facility” for team workouts.

“It’s nice that it’s just a facility for varsity sports,” she added.

But, not everyone is impressed with the weight room available only for varsity use.

“The fact that it’s smaller than the regular gym is kinda pathetic; but, at the same time I think all the equipment should be able to be used by everybody,” said Kyle Turner, club ice hockey member.

One unique feature in this weight room is the new dumbbell selection. They are called “Poles-Apart” made by the company Black Iron. Jean explained that they look the same as regular dumbbells, but they work by adding circular discs in increments such as a quarter pound or half pound. He said that the range of the smaller increments allows him to train the athletes more efficiently.

“It also saves about 40 feet of wall space,” Jean said.

But when it comes to using this weight room, there are rules to follow. Jean explained that if a quarter of a team does not come at their assigned time, then the entire team loses their privilege to use it for the semester.

“We have ground rules and it’s their privilege to use this, it’s not their right,” Jean said.

But what will a new weight room do for the future of varsity sports at CSC?

Men’s soccer and women’s softball coach, John Werner, said he believes his teams might be better conditioned as a result.

“I think eventually they will be, I’m not sure it’s been in place long enough to see. I’m confident that it will,” Werner said.

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