SCOTT BAKER’S Opportunities and Goals: Part V: Getting A Sweat On

Central Mountain’s Johnny Schreffler wrestles in a match against Mifflin County High School.



MILL HALL- Wow, it was hot in there.

The latest stop on my summer tour of Central Mountain athletes and teams found me in the high school fitness room. What I found there was a group of CM wrestlers ranging in age from junior to senior high.

The first thing that was obvious was the heat.

Yep, it was a bit stuffy in there.

No, not by design but rather by the time of year and the outside temps. While I began to perspire a bit…doing very little I might add, it hit me that this is the type of temperatures that many of these athletes are quite used to and even thrive on.

Don’t believe me on that one? Try stepping into a wrestling room during a practice and feel the heat.

Oh yes, some love it.

For the rest of us? Well OK, some love it.

On this morning, it was a particular group of wrestling hopefuls getting their lift, and yes their sweat on, who I was there to observe and even interact with as I asked them about the opportunities for improvement that have been available to them this summer and how they are taking advantage of them.

These particular lifting sessions are something that Wildcat head coach Biff Walizer said have been available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings throughout the summer.

Coach Walizer credited the dedication of assistant coaches Doug Buckwalter and Eric Coleman for keeping the sessions consistent while he was spending time coaching some Pennsylvania Schoolboy teams in Indianapolis and Atlanta over the last several weeks.

The role of coach Buckwalter was especially evident in the morning, as he too was using the time to work on his annual goal of being “beach ready.” I personally caught him spending some time sitting on the leg extension machine.

Was he working? Well that is a matter we would have to take up later.

Walizer says that the strength-training program that the wrestlers are involved with is “a mix, a total body thing.” He continued, “we’re breaking it down into a pushing-exercise day, and then a pulling-exercise day.”

Of course there is some competitive fun involved in all of this as well as on Thursdays after lifting is complete, those in attendance get after each other in a friendly game of ultimate frisbee.

As for the work being put in by the young men, coach Walizer said that, “they have been on the mat one day a week and we have team camp at LHU coming up next week.” He said that he is generally pleased with the commitment shown by the guys through the summer months and specifically noted the senior leadership of Cody Coleman, Dalton Bechdel, Johnny Schreffler and Jake Edwards who is currently in Fargo at training camp for the Junior Nationals.

Walizer believes the offseason is a great time for the seniors to step up and show who the leaders are.

“It’s nice to see the incoming seniors kinda step up and hash out who your leaders are going to be heading into next season. The off-season really gives that opportunity a chance to come to the forefront,” Walizer said.

As for the wrestlers themselves, Coleman said his goal this summer has been “to become stronger and get in the room as much as I can. For the most part, I’ve been doing that. I believe I’m getting stronger.”

Teammate Kayden Busey, who also doubles as a football player, stated that his goal this offseason was to “get stronger, hopefully put on some weight. I didn’t really put on as much weight as I wanted to but [I] did get stronger.”

The good news for Busey and others is that they still have time to work on achieving their desired goals as there is still a nice portion of summer left to do just that. Based on the heat, it might be a little difficult to gain the desired weight, but the strength aspect should be extremely attainable.

One sure way to gain the weight would be to follow my diet but I don’t advise that. I’m sure coaches Walizer, Buckwalter and Coleman have ideas for both weight gain and strength training that their troops are best advised to follow.

I’m not yet done with my summer tour. My next stop is likely to be at a late summer camp or two. There are a few of those coming up.

In the meantime, I encourage all athletes to get to the workouts. There are some being offered for most every sport at CM. I’ve found throughout my tour that the welcome mat is out for all. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort.

Surely, it will be time and effort well spent.


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