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Kitsap prep athletes start conditioning for next year
Malia Lagat is out of school for the summer, but she still has a strict routine starting at 7 a.m.
The Olympic High School junior, a two-sport athlete in girls basketball and cross-country, runs with her teammates and head coach Greg Chapman five days a week in the morning.
The 7 a.m. run is much needed, Lagat said.
“I slacked off last summer and that bit me,” she added. “The rest of my teammates ran last year, and they were prepared and I wasn’t.”
This summer won’t be the same for Lagat, who plans to condition herself through cardiovascular and weightlifting to prepare for next season. The offseason regimen is common for high school athletes looking for an edge and hoping to stay in shape while school is out, but unlike practice, it is voluntary.
Lagat said she will focus mainly on running, push-ups and sit-ups. The Olympic athlete also started conditioning for girls basketball at the school Tuesday with head coach Laurie Shaw and the rest of the team.
One of Lagat’s teammates, Courtnie Burleigh, a two-sport athlete who also plays fastpitch, said she will train this summer unlike past years.
“I’m not in basketball shape yet,” Burleigh said. “I’m actually going to condition this summer so I’m not tired or out of breath next year.”
Meanwhile, the Central Kitsap High School football team started its conditioning program last week. The Cougars are working four days a week, splitting time between the weight room and field drills.
Head coach Mark Keel wants his team ready when the season starts this fall.
“We really need to work hard this summer,” said Keel, who added that conditioning programs are important because getting in shape should not be an issue during the season. “Guys understand why we do this and know we need to be out here.”
Bremerton High School’s football team will run its summer weight training and conditioning camp from June 20 to August 15. The camp, organized by head coach Nate Gillam, will be held at the school.
The Knights also hosted a scrimmage at Peninsula High School (Gig Harbor) Thursday, June 16.
Football is the only sport that starts in August, which means players should spend the summer working out, Gillam said. The coach added that it takes the average athlete on his team four to six weeks to get into shape.
“It’s an odd sport,” Gillam said. “We start before other sports, so our guys have to be prepared when the time comes.”
Although bulking up and staying slim are important, Gillam said players’ safety is paramount. He believes that if his team arrives to the first game out of shape, it can pose a danger on the field.
“It’s not a sport you can just show up and start playing without the serious risk of injury,” Gillam said. “We need to minimize any sort of injury and that’s why we have conditioning in the first place.”
Josh Schwieterman, Central Kitsap’s junior quarterback, said Monday that he stays fit because of the conditioning program. Keel’s schedule for his players includes weight room sessions with an emphasis on the bench press and squats.
Players lift weights for an average of one hour a day for four days every week.
“We don’t lose a step,” Schwieterman said. “We don’t take a break, so we keep building up to the season and stay at a competitive level the whole year.” Conditioning programs outside the school are also an option for student-athletes. Schwieterman has previously participated at the Nike combine in Oregon and worked out at the University of Washington last summer.
In addition, John Emery will host the Summer Conditioning Program, which aims to help Kitsap County students in grades 7-12 stay fit.
The free program meets Monday through Friday from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at various locations starting June 22.
Emery has led the program for the last six years.
Schwieterman said he will stay in the weight room as much as possible this summer.
The junior quarterback added that he never gets bored with conditioning because it has its perks.
“We’re building chemistry,” he added. “We’re building relationships and getting the work done together, so we’re still having fun out here.”