The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Jeremy Burnham

Inaugural LRS summer fitness program draws 36 athletes


Last updated 8/28/2019 at 9:24pm

The Lind-Ritzville/Sprague athletic combine’s 2019 summer fitness program, run by PTA Performance of Spokane, has come to an end. In all, 21 high school athletes and 15 middle school athletes took part in the program.

Of the 21 high schoolers, 12 were football players. LRS athletic director Greg Whitmore says the program was a big success.

“It was great,” Whitmore said. “It was great seeing everyone working so hard … I was hoping for around 20 kids and we got 36.”

Whitmore, who is also the head football coach, said he was initially worried about low attendance among football players, but ended up pleasantly surprised.

“It wasn’t as bad as I initially thought,” Whitmore said. “We had football players out there. There were a few who were harvesting. So that was hard. But there were a few who could have been here but didn’t get here.”

Whitmore hopes word of mouth will improve numbers in the future.

“I just hope to build on it,” Whitmore said. “As the kids who did participate spread the news that, ‘Hey, I improved my vertical three inches and improved my speed,’ or whatever, as that word gets to the athletes who weren’t out there, and the word that it was actually pretty fun, hopefully we’ll get more and more.”

Junior basketball player Julia Klein is one such athlete wanting to spread the word.

“It was really cool to see such a large age group,” Klein said. “We had 7th grade to 12th grade, so my little brother was there. It was really cool seeing everyone working together and the older kids helping the younger kids. It was also cool seeing everyone give up parts of their summer and work hard three mornings a week.”

Whitmore said he was pleased with the younger athletes who showed up.

“My whole goal was to get junior high players in,” Whitmore said. “And there were football and volleyball players in that group. It’s one of those evolving things and this was a good start.”

Klein and Whitmore were both impressed with the energy that PTA’s Tommy “B-K” Boyer-Kendrick brought to the workouts.

“He’s very intense,” Klein said. “He pushes you but it’s more inspiring pushing than angry pushing.”

“He’s a high-energy guy,” Whitmore said. “He actually requested to be the one to come out here. He had worked with [senior football player] Austin Thompson in Spokane. It was fun. The experience he has, the stories he has to tell, it was great. And he models what he teaches. He’s a fitness nut who has worked with some professional teams.”

Boyer-Kendrick told The Journal in July that he enjoys working with rural area students.

“I’m from rural Nebraska,” Boyer-Kendrick said in July. “Rural kids are hard working kids. Farm kids, ranch kids, kids who are used to doing chores, maybe more so than city kids.”

Whitmore said while he was impressed with all the students who came out for the program, he wanted to give recognition to an athlete from Washtucna who gave up some harvesting time to take part in the program.

“Josh Crouse didn’t miss a session,” Whitmore said. “There’s a kid who drove from Washtucna. They farm, so he probably gave up some time in the field. That’s pretty awesome. We know that kids and parents are making some sacrifices.”

The program included pre- and post-program testing. Whitmore says he’s waiting on the results to be sent to him, but that a lot of athletes saw some big gains.

Lacey Miller, a graduating softball, baseball and basketball player who will be playing softball for Knox College in Illinois, took part in the program and says she is very pleased with the results she saw, including a 50% increase in her vertical jump.

“My vertical improved 5 inches from 10 inches to 15 inches,” Miller said. “My broad leap improved 7 inches. I have a little more speed to me now. My technique [in running, lifting and other drills] was the biggest thing that I’ve noticed.”

Miller said the program was also very motivating.

“It’s hard to want to work out during the summer,” Miller said. “It’s hard as a young athlete to be like, ‘Ok, I’m going to push myself,’ while summer blazes by.”

Athletes worked out three days a week for six weeks. Whitmore says he plans on bringing the program back next year and hopes to see an even larger turnout.


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