Wrestling room welcomed at CCHS; weight room moved
Percussion beats weren’t the only noises bouncing off the walls of the band room at Corydon Central High School. Sometimes, the thud of a medicine ball or weights on barbells crashing to the floor above it prompted another audible sound.
When it came to winter sports, the Panthers’ wrestling program laid out a pair of mats in the auxiliary gymnasium, setting up a practice area. While the floor space was adequate, the gym was often shared with bouncing basketballs, chanting cheerleaders or winter guard on the opposite of a dividing black tarp.
Seeking a wrestling space for grapplers, Corydon Central athletic director Kim Frederick turned to the second-floor weight room as an option.
‘It was about getting the wrestlers their own space,’ Frederick said. ‘That’s how the movement started rolling. Once the wrestlers found a space, all of a sudden, we looked at sliding the weight room downstairs.’
Once housing the junior high school shop class, the room located to the west of the main gymnasium had been turned into a storage area. Now, the space is filled each morning during the summer with athletes improving strength and conditioning. Upstairs, the old weight room is in the process of becoming a wrestling room.
Corydon Central strength and conditioning coach Jason Timberlake saw potential in the space once filled with sawdust and out-dated school equipment.
‘Once (principal) Keith Marshall and Kim Frederick approved the project, it was myself, along with the janitors, starting to clean it up,’ Timberlake said. ‘There were a lot of old computers we ended up recycling. It was three or four days where we came in with blowers. There was sawdust everywhere we had to blow down to the floor. We’d sweep it up and send it out the door. We then sprayed it down.’
A coat of paint was added to the concrete walls while one long brick wall remained. With remaining shop lights and an open ceiling, the weight room has an industrial feel to it. Quotes from famous athletes from various sports adorn the walls as well.
The rubber flooring was moved, a tougher job than moving the weights, according to Timberlake. Before the end of the 2015-16 school year, equipment and weights made their way down a service elevator and to the new spot. A garage door can open as well, allowing a heavy-duty fan to circulate air while student-athletes put in the physical work inside.
‘The kids have a different attitude when they walk in here now,’ Timberlake said. ‘The old weight room was cool and really big. We lost about 2,000 square feet moving it down here, but there was a lot of unused space up there.’
Not all the equipment from the previous location could fit in the new spot. That sits well with Corydon Central wrestling coach Eric Rowland, who can set up stations for wrestlers to figure in a weight-lifting program during the season without leaving the area.
‘Our kids deserve to have a good weight room, a wrestling room and gym space to be best prepared when they go out and play,’ Frederick said. ‘It takes some pressure off the coaches, too. They have someone (Timberlake) there to do weights and conditioning, setting up workouts with the players.’
Adding life to the wrestling room is coming together as well. The base paint scheme of black and gold has been added. Frederick said fine arts teacher and girls’ soccer coach Kyle Jones is exploring a custom design to paint on the walls, similar to his work in the main gymnasium.
As of now, the mats have been moved to the weight room. Wrestlers will also have a quick trip through the doors to the concrete surface wrapping around the auxiliary gym above to incorporate running.
Matches, however, will remain on the main level of the school. Dual meets will continue to take place in the auxiliary gym to utilize the bleachers for fans. The yearly Old Capital Invitational will remain in the main gymnasium.
Frederick said what may be lost in the move was the impact on the fine arts program. Jason Novak, the band instructor, will likely have a more peaceful spot below the wrestling room versus the weights hitting the floor.
‘Now, the band doesn’t have to have weights feeling like they are being dropped on their ceiling,’ Frederick said.
‘The weight room wasn’t fair to the band. We were right over top of them,’ Timberlake said. ‘You could drop a medicine ball and they could tell when we did.’
So far this summer, Timberlake’s voluntary workout program for athletes has drawn about 20 to 25 males starting at 6:30 a.m. then the same number of female athletes at 8 a.m. They meet twice a week. Many of the football players workout later in the day.
‘It became a little more popular when we started to move everything down here,’ Timberlake said. ‘We were averaging about 10 to 15 boys and 10 girls from all sports, then we moved down here and they’ve really formed a bond. It’s now grown to double that.’
A stereo system pumped tunes while the girls worked out Thursday, prompting some to mix in dance moves with friends.
Timberlake said it’s become ‘cool’ for girls to utilize the weight room. He mentioned that, 10 to 15 years ago, it wasn’t cool for a girl to go to the weight room. While in college at Indiana University, he was assigned strength and conditioning for cheerleaders and softball players (in addition to baseball and football) and girls then weren’t into lifting weights.
‘Now, there are so many girls into fitness and the CrossFit craze; the girls see it as a welcome addition to their lives,’ Timberlake said.
Since he returned to Corydon in the early 2000s, Timberlake said he continues to go by a similar workout philosophy. He wants to balance strength, conditioning and explosiveness to prepare each individual athlete to participate in multiple sports. Volleyball players are doing the same workouts as softball and basketball players. Baseball players are doing the same workouts as golfers and soccer players and so on.
‘We share athletes (between multiple sports) at a 3A school and need to to be successful,’ Timberlake said. ‘My goal is not to train a basketball player to be a basketball player. I’m training that kid to be an athlete to represent Corydon Central High School. That way, if he or she gets interested in track or another sport, they aren’t going from a basketball workout to a track workout. Coaches will know athletes can transition because they’ve been training to be a good all-around athlete.’
Frederick said she hopes the new location of the weight room forms better relationships across all sports.
‘It’s seeing nice benefits across multiple teams,’ she said. ‘It’s also getting kids out of their bubbles. They are making new friends. You see one athlete busing their butt in the weight room, you want to know what sport that kid plays. Maybe you can talk them into playing the sport you play in another season because you see they are a good athlete.’
Beyond wrestling, band and lifting, Frederick noted practice times in the gyms will open up as well. With more floor space in the auxiliary gym open, sports like basketball in the winter won’t need to split practice times between boys and girls.
Corydon Central boys’ basketball coach Jamie Kolkmeier said girls and boys will be able to practice immediately after school. One team will be in the main gym while the other is in the auxiliary.
‘The hope is, these kids aren’t going to be here until 8:30, 9 o’clock at night for practices,’ Frederick said. ‘These moves really benefit us across multiple teams.’