By Isonah Dlado ‘22 News reporter
On campus learning in the midst of a global pandemic has caused drastic changes in student life. Although many view this time as a negative setback, there have been many positives to offset this typically pessimistic mindset, especially when regarding athletic development. This year, Mercersburg has introduced two new programs: Elevate and Lifestyle Fitness. At first glance, these two offerings might seem rather similar; they are both designed to help students improve their physical fitness and athletic performance. When one takes time to investigate these programs, however, they will find that they differ a lot more than initially anticipated.
“Have you ever been out of shape and did not know where to start? That’s Lifestyle,” says Paul Sipes, Assistant Director of Athletics and Varsity Basketball Coach. Sipes defines Lifestyle Fitness as an opportunity to stay in shape for students who are not drawn towards any other PGA. The program also serves as an acknowledgement that the gym environment is extremely intimidating and difficult to ease into. Sipes addresses this discomfort and projects that Lifestyle will help to manage these roadblocks. A safe relationship with the gym is one of the first steps to a healthy lifestyle.
On the other hand, Elevate is a program for those advanced athletes who have their eyes set on college athletics. Such members of the community have demonstrated an extreme dedication to their sport. Sarah Firestone ‘13, the coach and overseer of the Elevate program, says that the long term goal of the program is “…to help athletes who want to play at the college level get input on what they are looking for in the next couple of years. [They are] essentially going for not only the mental toughness of it but also [presenting] an idea of what off-season training is like.” According to Firestone and some of this year’s Elevate members, the Blue Storm’s most athletically talented and competitive athletes comprise this group. These students are all willing to put forth their best efforts to achieve their goals, which have been made far more accessible as a result of the Elevate program.
As for what the training regimen typically looks like on a day-to-day basis, Ava Hull ‘21, presented a rough agenda of her schedule as a part of the Elevate PGA. “Everyday [they] lift or get some cardio in whether [they] are in the weight room or on the basketball court. It is definitely more intense than regular PGA’s, and [she thinks] that [they] get pushed way more.” A far more rigorous training program with increased performance time for a student’s sport of choice? It sounds like Elevate will have monumental impacts for those who are willing to commit to such a regiment and look forward to positive results!
A thorough review of Elevate and Lifestyle Fitness heeds impressive results. Helping to account for a variety of athletic needs, these programs truly make a difference in PGA inclusion and availability; whether a student is a serious athlete hoping to continue their sport at the collegiate level or rather, a student hopes to further their knowledge of fitness and nutrition, Mercersburg provides two outstanding options that truly address both sides of the spectrum.