Minnesota School of Business Health Fitness and Massage Students Volunteer at High School Summer Weightlifting Competition
That’s the only way Rocori Strength Coach Jake Zauhar knows how to sum up the recent Spartan Weightlifting Competition at Rocori High School. And he says it with a reverential murmur.
In early August, five high schools came together at Rocori’s new training center for a pre-season workout and competition. “The idea,” says Zauhar, “was to have some fun and see where we were at with other schools.” Athletes and coaches began the discussion about the idea months ago, and then athletic directors and sponsors joined in with great enthusiasm in support of the first-of-its-kind event.
Zauhar admits that he had no way of predicting how successful the day would turn out to be. There were 95 high school athletes—including girls–participating and approximately 25 volunteers, including coaches; Rocori alumni; Minnesota School of Business massage therapy students and program chair, Michelle Willenbring; Scott Eide, the MSB Health
Fitness Chair; and Andrew Wiener, an HFS student who is currently completing an
externship at Rocori high school.
Wiener has been “a phenomenal addition” to the weightlifting program, Zauhar says, bringing variety, knowledge about nutrition and “another set of eyes” to the staff.
Wiener helped judge at the Spartan Challenge and was impressed with the athletes at the event. “The best part was seeing everyone having a good time and the camaraderie
between team members,” he says.
In addition, Zauhar praises Scott Eide’s expertise. “He is a wizard in his profession with his knowledge of weightlifting and fitness. There was no way I was going to turn him down when he offered to judge for us.”
As athletes finished a stage in the “cafeteria-style” competition, rotating stations as they chose, they were free to receive either a chair or table massage from the MSB students. After finishing a bench-press, for example, they could choose a massage to focus on the upper body and then return after squats to focus on the legs. The athletes loved it, Zauhar says, because it allowed them to go into the next station fresh. “The line was out the door all day,” he adds.
It wasn’t lost on the coach that the MSB students were literally working in their field, and he was impressed. “The reality of the field is so important,” Zauhar comments. “It steps up the responsibility.”
Wiener agrees. “ I was able to apply what I have about learned [about] proper exercise performance and what to watch for in an exercise that could make for a problem that could lead to injury and how to instruct them in how to make the corrections needed to prevent any further issues.”
Massage Therapy student Jason Walker concurs that the event was an ideal hands-on learning experience. “We were able to apply what we learned in class and clinical setting to a real life situation. It was great to see how quickly you can think on your feet and use the knowledge you have to that type of situation.”
Walker, Wiener and Zauhar agree on another point: that the Spartan Challenge is definitely an event worth repeating.
Coach Zauhar is already working on next summer, with a goal of 120 participants and even more volunteers. Walker concludes, “It was a fantastic experience . . . I would do it again in a heartbeat!”