While other students enjoyed a time off for Spring Break, a handful of athletes at Windermere Prep got in extra reps.
It’s 9 a.m. Friday, March 22 — Spring Break — and at first glance, the campus of Windermere Prep appears empty. The walkways are clear, and the parking lots have plenty of available spaces.
But tucked away, toward the back to the campus, the faint sound of music breaks the silence. The sound grows louder as you draw closer to the weight room, where a handful student-athletes have traded some well-deserved R&R for a few extra reps.
“The weight room over the past year, with having coach (Micah) Kurtz here, it’s really just been my place that I come to and I just love coming in here,” said senior Lyndsey Huizenga, 17. “I’m also a very athletic person — I don’t like to just sit around, I like to move — and the weight room is one of those places where I can do that. Not only do I lift weights in here, but I also box with Coach Kurtz, and I also run with him.”
Huizenga enjoyed some beach time to start her break, but the future University of Tennessee swimmer came back to campus Wednesday, March 20, to spend the next few days getting her workouts in — both in the weight room and in the pool.
Although it may not seem like it, this workout for Huizenga is actually a walk in the park when you consider her usual workout routine during a school day. It’s a routine she has built since she first started swimming in sixth grade.
“On Monday, I’m up at four o’clock in the morning for swim practice — which starts at 4:45 a.m. — and I’ll swim until 6:30 a.m.,” Huizenga said. “I’ll go to school until one-ish, and then I’ll come and lift here for an hour for class and I’ll also come lift during the day — during my study hall. Then on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll run, and Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll box.”
As Huizenga worked on some stretches toward the back of the weight room, junior Jonah Best powered through some weight work, as “California Love” by Tupac and Dr. Dre pumps in the background.
The junior is an offensive lineman on the football team and a member of the weightlifting and lacrosse teams.
“It’s just to better prepare myself for the future,” Best said. “We have a big football season coming up, and I got to get all the work in that I can. Spring football starts in the middle of April, and then actual football starts at the end of summer.”
Of course, there’s the inherent drive to get bigger and stronger, but Best said a television monitor sitting high above him provides motivation, as well. That monitor, in its glowing glory, shows a list of numbers and names — it’s the official keeper of records and accomplishments that happen in the weight room.
“I just kind of want to get my name all over that record board,” Best said with a grin. “Because I know a lot of kids that have graduated who are still on there, and so every day, I text them, and I’m like, ‘I’m getting close, I’m going to take your name off that thing.’ That’s my goal, because they can’t come back and do anything about it.”
As the athletes work through their routines, Kurtz, the school’s strength and conditioning coach, keeps a watchful eye. If an athlete has a question or needs tips on bettering their technique, Kurtz is there to offer an answer and inspiration.
His presence is a welcome one, and he said there is not a thing he would rather be doing than helping these young athletes.
“I just started in June, and I’ve been extremely pleased with the buy-in that we’ve gotten immediately,” he said.” It’s a testament to these kids. When people have asked me how it’s been going, it’s gone better than expected. Now my challenge is to keep them continually being motivated throughout the whole year, throughout the summer, because strength training and working out is a grind.”
While Best works with the heavy weights, Zavien Williams is in and out of the weight room as he works with a mixture of weights and running drills.
Although he is a member of the Lakers basketball team, Williams is currently in track season, which changes his workout a little bit.
In the weight room, Williams works a bit on upper-body strengthening, while during track practice, it’s a lot of endurance and leg work as he and the Lakers prepare for the upcoming district meet.
At the moment, the track team has gone through a little bit of a lull, as track season is a grueling one — right now, it’s a lot of rehabbing, Williams said. Despite the hardships, however, there Williams is in the weight room — pushing himself to get better.
“There is a saying in my house if we’re just sitting there, ‘What are you doing to get better?’” Williams said. “Because you can always get 1% better every day.”