- December 5, 2019
When Lyndsey Huizenga took to the stage during Windermere Prep’s annual WSPYS athletic banquet, she thought she was just getting an award for her weightlifting.
Instead, Micah Kurtz — director of sports performance at the school — had a surprise for the then-senior who was only days away from graduating.
During Kurtz’s speech that he gave during the segment, he announced that Huizenga had been named an All-American by the National Strength and Conditioning Association for weightlifting.
“He surprised me with that award,” Huizenga said. “I was already an All-American through swimming … when he said it on stage it shocked me, because I weight lift to do better in the pool and because I love it so much. I didn’t even think that I could become a weightlifter All-American.
“I was really happy with it, but I was shocked that I had gotten it, because I don’t compete in big meets,” she said. “I’m over the moon that I have it.”
While there was a shock factor for Huizenga, to Kurtz, picking her and Jackson was a fairly easy choice to make.
“We’ve had some unbelievably hard working athletes here this entire year, but for sure they stand out,” Kurtz said. “Not only are they two of our most accomplished athletes — going on to play collegiate sports in the ACC and the SEC — but they are the most humble.”
While most don’t think of swimmers as being big into hitting the weight room to lift, for Huizenga it has been a big part of her training and has helped push her abilities in the pool.
A lot has changed since Huizenga first started swimming in the sixth grade, and that includes the workouts that she has utilized under Kurtz.
Although she didn’t start weightlifting until her sophomore year, it was this past year in the weight room when Huizenga really shined. And it’s all thanks to the culture change by Kurtz.
“When coach Kurtz came he developed the program even more, and he kind of took it to the next level for me and I fell in love with it even more than I possibly knew I could,” Huizenga said. “He changed the program for the girls completely. Before it was mainly more guy-based, and so now even the (girls) have record boards and goals that we have to beat.”
The things she has learned during her time at Windermere Prep will go toward bigger and better things, which includes joining the swim team at the University of Tennessee in the fall.
There, in Knoxville, Huizenga will look to break records — just as she did at Windermere Prep — all while hoping to accomplish a goal that’s bigger than sports.
“Normally the weight room has been associated mainly as being a guy thing — guys come in and get strong,” Huizenga said. “So for me I’ve been really trying to take on the world to change that for young women and girls.”
While Huizenga found out first hand about becoming an All-American, Khadry Jackson found out from another source: Twitter.
“I didn’t even know,” Jackson said. “Firstly I was surprised — coach Kurtz, he just thought highly enough of me to nominate me for that award, because that’s not an award that he takes lightly.”
Jackson — an early enrollee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he’ll play football for the Tarheels — got to spend only six to seven months with Kurtz, but noted his arrival changed everything.
The culture in the weight room shifted and things just felt right. All of a sudden lifting had become more fun, and it helped boost his own strength and abilities.
And developing those physical attributes goes a long way when you go from high school to collegiate ball. In his early practices at Carolina, Jackson has already seen the vast differences when it comes to the speed and physicality of players, as well as the faster tempo of college football in general.
Luckily, the things he has learned under Kurtz have come in handy, Jackson said.
“I feel like I got stronger going into college,” Jackson said.