New weight room gets PCHS students equipped

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GUILFORD — Piscataquis Community High School students, athletes and those enrolled in physical education classes alike, now have the opportunity to improve their strength and health in the school’s new weight room. Located in a classroom space near the library the weight room features machines, presses, and dumbbells to provide a place for Pirates to exercise at no charge.

“Right now this is where we have it housed,” PCHS Athletic Director, health & physical education teacher, and girls soccer coach Joe Gallant said. “It’s brand new, the machines are new.”

“We have had nothing in this building, as far as I know, for over 23 years,” Gallant said.

“It’s been a need, when you look at our student-athletes vs. a football school we’re small,” he said “The kids that have the means, they do go to Community Fitness and you see the development in them but this in our building, once it takes off, it’s going to be nice to see a difference.”

Piscataquis Community High School

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
GETTING PUMPED AT NEW PCHS WEIGHT ROOM — Piscataquis Community High School junior Caleb Crocker lifts on the bench press, with sophomore Matt Robinson spotting him, in the Guilford school’s new weight room. PCHS has now a collection of machines, presses, and dumbbells for Pirate athletes and physical education students to use.

“I like it because it helps us get prepared for sports,” said sophomore Matt Robinson, who plays soccer, basketball, and baseball for the Pirates. “It seems to help build up our team, we come in during practices and we don’t screw around, we get right to business. It helps throughout the season and gets us to where we need to be.”

“I like that some kids who don’t have a chance to pay money for an actual membership at a gym can come in to school and lift,” junior Caleb Crocker, a soccer and basketball player, said.

“The sports boosters I went to them in the spring to look for a donation and they came up with a substantial amount to make this go and I took some money out of my coffers to help finish it off, at least get it functioning,” Gallant said.

“These dumbbells were donated by Bates College, it was huge because that’s a huge expense,” he said about the contribution from the college in Lewiston. “I went down to Bates to pick them up and drove them home in my pickup truck.”

He said the cost estimate is approximately $8,000. “I got all of the equipment through BSN Sports other than these,” he said. “If we didn’t have those donated dumbbells, that would have been another $1,200 or $1,500 expense.”

“I put it all together myself, with a little bit of help from my students,” Gallant said, with the weight room ready to go for the current school year.

Piscataquis Community High School

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
WORKING OUT AT SCHOOL — Sophomore Matt Robinson goes through a series of squats in the new weight room at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford. Equipment was funded largely by the PCHS Sports Boosters, as well as some other athletic monies, and Bates College donated a collection of dumbbells.

“Lifting for our student-athletes is very new to them so those who don’t use Community Fitness, this is a branch for them to learn the techniques and then venture out on their own safely,” Gallant said. He said students using the facility sign contracts in advance to help ensure they will work out safely and follow the rules, such as putting weights back when finished.

“We have one bench, one incline, leg press, back extension, there’s a multi-purpose machine to start,” Gallant said. “We have two flat benches, a curl bar, and the kids are loving it. I have them on a program for the phys. ed class and in another three weeks they will see how much their improvement is and the gains that they’ve made with the program that I have them on. It will be interesting to see how that goes.”

“I have one class that is for true weight lifting and I have a lifelong fitness class where we come in here to lift and the student-athletes, with their coaches as supervisors, will come in with them during the season,” he said. “We don’t have a program as of yet for after-school lifting for the student-athletes.”

An after-school weight room program may be formed in the future and could be available several times a week.

Gallant said PCHS has had a few pieces of weight equipment “but nothing that’s going to allow a student-athlete to benefit greatly from it, this here is all you need to get started.”

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