Getting pumped for fall
LHS athletes pack weight room as high school season looms
Bill Pekarek has been excited about the 2005 football season since the day the 2004 season ended.
Pekarek, Lansing High's football coach, knew he would return almost every impact player from an 8-3 squad that went further in postseason play than any team in school history, but he was more excited for 2005 because he sensed a greater amount of commitment from his players after their trip to the regional playoffs.
Pekarek saw that commitment every day when he and assistant coach Kevin Riemann opened the LHS weight room twice a day, four days a week, all summer long and players piled in to work out.
"We really just believe that the stronger you are, the tougher you are. That's the bottom-line goal," Pekarek said. "We want our teams to be as physical as possible, as tough as possible and as quick as possible. All of that starts right here in the weight room."
"The majority of our players are getting in here and they're working hard," Pekarek added. "That's helping us be more successful."
The weight room has been open from 7 a.m.-9 a.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays all summer. About 70 athletes have taken advantage of it on a regular basis.
Four Lansing athletes - seniors Lance Fink, Logan Ryan and Matt Warner, and sophomore Stephen Didde - haven't missed a day all summer.
Pekarek said attendance wasn't limited to just football players, though. He said athletes from all LHS sports teams were working hard to make gains in the weight room and noted that volleyball players, boys and girls basketball players, baseball players and cross country runners all had been in to work out.
"No matter what sport you play, the stronger you'll get your body, the easier it is for you to do some things," Pekarek said. "It might help you jump higher. It might help you run faster. It might help you be able to handle your opponent one-on-one. It just makes you more athletic."
The Lions are hoping the summer effort will lead to big things in the fall. The 2004 season was a strong one for the Lansing football, volleyball and girls cross country teams. With a lot of hard work this summer, all of those squads are looking for repeat performances.
"Everybody has been coming in and trying to do everything they can to get ready," said junior football player Daniel Eyerly, a new school-record holder with a squat of 435 pounds. "Everybody wants to do a lot better this year."
Pekarek cited numerous athletes who have become more athletic during the course of summer weights. Fink, Lansing's starting fullback, has gotten stronger and faster. Warner, the starting quarterback, bulked up as he improved his bench press to 240 pounds and his squat to 395 pounds. Ryan, a starter on the offensive and defensive lines, also improved his all-around strength by making daily trips to the weight room.
"Logan Ryan has made some huge improvements from what he did a year ago," Pekarek said. "He benched 295, cleaned 240 and he squatted 350. That's far better than what he's ever done."
Pekarek also praised the hard work put in by senior Ryan Robbins and newcomer Jason Bowman, another senior. He said those efforts should pay off big for the football team in the fall.
"We're just real pleased with the athletes that we have right now, and we're hoping that maybe there's a couple of new faces that we don't know about yet," he said.