New weight room inspires athletes during training

Opened in Fall 2020, The Loks Performance Center is a new facility on Old Orchard Avenue. It offers Webster student athletes updated equipment and a spacious training area.

Mind Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Saiz said the new space complemented the student-athletes’ drive in the weight room. Updated equipment provides space to train multiple teams at once, and remoteness from other campus activities motivates student-athletes to train.

“The students have benefited exponentially from this,” Saitz said. “It has become a home where they can train and get excited about training.”

Graphic by Kenzie Akins.

In addition to the high quality of the facility and its equipment, Saitz believes this upgrade is beneficial in further establishing the already solid weight room culture at Webster. In Saitz’s first year at Webster, 50% of the student-athletes trained year-round. With that percentage increasing annually, Saitz said the new weight room has resulted in an all-time high in participation in strength training.

“The dedication [of] Student athletes is another important factor,” Saitz said. “We’ve added more and more over the years and with the Loks Performance Center, Webster’s strength and conditioning has evolved into what it is today.”

This availability and attraction is relatively new to the strength and conditioning program. Saitz had to address the challenges the student-athletes faced prior to the addition of the new facility, such as: B. replacing outdated equipment, training on the gym floor and the creativity of his training methods.

“We would use the fitness center, hallway, gymnasium, even parking lot wherever we could find space and availability,” Saitz said. “Equipment and space were definitely challenges.”

Senior baseball player Mitch Daniels recalls some of those difficulties, such as the inability to practice continuously.

“Before we got the new gym, it was really hard to focus and work out,” Daniels said. “People who didn’t exercise often got in our way because we always shared a common space.”

Daniels recalled a case where these adjustments had destructive consequences.

“In front of the new gym [we were] working out in the gym and one of the guys dropped the weight and split the gym floor open,” Daniels said.

Daniels added that this happened the day before Webster hosted the conference basketball tournament, a story he thinks Coach Saiz and basketball coach Chris Bunch can corroborate.

These challenges are now a thing of the past. The Loks Performance Center features six bench press and squat racks, six benches, six sets of adjustable weight dumbbells and more workout space than any Webster student-athlete before its installation.

Athletic Director Scott Kilgallon was one of the driving forces behind the Loks Performance Center. He cited the time and effort that went into the massive upgrade. He said the multi-year project is a priority for those involved to give student-athletes their own space.

“[It was] a lot of planning, working with our CFO, Mr. Meyer and suppliers,” said Kilgallon. “Once we found suitable premises, Chancellor Stroble and President Schuster supported this need. The project was realized during COVID.”

As well as catering to physical education students who are already on Webster athletic teams, Kilgallon believes the new facility will attract future Gorloks. He said it was a great recruiting tool for Webster trainers.

Freshman baseball player AJ Simmons agrees with this claim. He said he was very impressed with the Loks Performance Center. According to Simmons, the facilities, organization and space exceeded expectations when he was hired last year.

“When I visited Webster, I was amazed by the facility,” Simmons said. “Its quality is amazing.”

Simmons, along with countless other student athletes, are making the most of the new space and taking advantage of it.

For more information about the Loks Performance Center and Webster Strength and Conditioning, please contact Coach Saitz at [email protected].

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