Weight room gets bench pressed up a notch


Photo by Austin Vinner.

Squat racks (pictured left), free weights (pictured right) and treadmills (pictured above) are just a few of the many workout machines that are already available in the school weight room.

By Austin Vinner, News Editor

It’s no secret that the 2021-2022 school year has been great for WCHS athletics. From the varsity football team making playoffs to the wrestling team qualifying for states, both student-athletes and coaches have something to be proud of. This recent success leaves one wondering how WCHS athletes have gotten so good in a year right out of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Many factors influence how a team will do during games, but everyone can agree that preparation is key. One way that athletes prepare is through weight lifting in the school’s weight room and recently, exciting news regarding this often overlooked part of the school has been announced.

“Right now it’s a pretty old school gym with squat racks and just a couple of machines upstairs,” WCHS junior and offensive linebacker and defensive end for the football team, Cisco Ren said. “All the main things we need are in it but more machines would allow for more focus on specific muscle groups.”

Much to the pleasure of many athletes, a $30,000 renovation has been approved by the Churchill Booster Club to update the weight room. This may seem like a lot at first glance but according to Athletic Business, the equipment in many school weight rooms can cost upwards of $100,000.

“The Winston Churchill High School Booster Club is a volunteer organization established to promote school spirit and work to improve our sports teams,” WCHS Athletic Director Jesse Smith said. “Our primary purpose is to get students, parents, staff and the community involved in our programs so we can promote safe and competitive athletics for all of Churchill High School’s athletes.”

The WCHS Booster Club is involved in almost every aspect of school athletics so it’s no surprise that they want to improve one of the only rooms in the school that impacts all athletes. The only question left is what will be upgraded, and how does the school plan to use this $30,000 effectively?

“We will be incorporating 2 possibly 3 new weight racks very soon,” Smith said. “These racks can provide space for 6 athletes to train at once. The racks are able to accommodate exercises such as bench press, squats, pull-ups and so much more. They provide many different exercise options for our student-athletes. We’ll also be adding a few other pieces of equipment upstairs that will replace outdated and unsafe options that are currently in the weight room. Finally, we will be adding additional dumbbells that are safer and more durable than current ones.”

With the anticipation of these upgrades, preparations have already begun to make the weight room a more welcoming space. Students are being reminded to take care of the equipment so that it can be enjoyed by everyone and the room was recently repainted.

“Our athletic director has put a lot of effort into the weight room and he came to talk to us,” Ren said. “With football, I’m lifting every Tuesday and Thursday so he reminded us to take care of the weight room.”

Why is it so important for the weight room to look nice? Well, the environment that students train in is important. People need to feel safe and supported in order to generate healthy exercise habits. This is so important that Smith wants to expand non-athlete weight training classes to reach more students.

“Over the last year, I have worked extremely hard to add new equipment to the weight room while also improving the look and atmosphere inside of the weight room so that student-athletes can get the workout they need to be successful,” Smith said. “I want all of our student-athletes, boys and girls, to make full use of our weight room to improve themselves regardless of the team they are on so that they can continue to bring success to our athletics program. I also want these improvements for our P.E. classes with the hope that we can continue to expand the weight training class and have sections offered every period of the day.”

While coaches and parents in the Booster Club feel that new equipment will improve athletic performance, it’s important to get perspective from those who actually use the weight room: students.

“I think it’s a little excessive,” Ren said. “I rarely feel like equipment is an issue when we’re lifting and I’m sure I can speak for other kids that use [the weight room] in that machinery is not what’s holding the weight room back.”

Despite mixed opinions on how this money should be used, it’s exciting to see interest in renovations. For a school built in 1964 and last renovated in 2001 (over 20 years ago) it’s about time.

“I want to always make sure our student-athletes have the best equipment for their sport and for training,” Smith said. “Upgrading the weight room gives us much-needed upgrades in equipment while also allowing for us to have more athletes in the weight room working out at the same time.”