As the weather gets colder, things are only heating up for winter sports as they begin conditioning to prepare for the upcoming season.

As the weather gets colder, things are only heating up for winter sports as they begin conditioning to prepare for the upcoming season. After previous successful seasons in each sport, every team is looking to get better and win a state title.

“By putting in the hard work in the off-season, we are able to focus on the more complex plans for when the season starts,” senior lacrosse player, Kevin Gagnon said.

This time of conditioning is not just important for getting back in shape for the season, but being prepared for the atmosphere the team will be playing in.

“[The cold weather] makes everything a little bit harder I guess. Your fingers get cold and you start standing around and the bats don’t hit the same. It’s just something you have to get used to and overcome,” senior baseball player, Josh Lusk said.

While the cold weather is an obstacle for some players, it is used as fuel and an advantage for others in different sports.

“I love running in the cold. It boosts my mentality and helps me run faster, harder and more efficiently. Conditioning helps me get back in shape and prepares my body to run short and fast again,” sophomore track runner, Mackensie Barbee said.

After dealing with extremely high temperatures in the summer, lacrosse players are glad to see a change in weather.

“I perform better in the cold because I’m used to playing in the summer when the weather is over 100 degrees,” Kevin said.

During this conditioning time, coaches and athletes do drills to help them gain an edge when the season rolls around.

“We do stop and go, speed and agility workouts, as well as core and shoulder workouts. These help us become more flexible and ready for anything that happens in the game,” Josh said.

The track team prepares for running in meets by simulating the distances of the races they run in on race day.

“Well we do a lot of stretching to get ready and [Coach] Lindler gives us repeats around the track, where each day is a different combination of distances,” Mackenzie said.

Much like baseball, lacrosse requires a mix of stop and go speed along with agility and flexibility to be successful.    

“We start off with dynamic stretching to loosen our muscles, then we do a long distance run, agility drills, and then sprints. It’s tiring but necessary if we want to win games,” Kevin said.

Although the intense training isn’t easy, it does pave the way for teams to be successful this season and reach the ultimate goal of a state championship.

“I’m looking forward to the playoffs and competing for a state title. That’s the goal of the whole team and coaching staff and we’re working hard to get to that place,” Josh said.

Along with the goal of winning a state title, some athletes are setting more personal goals to look to achieve.

“Coming off a bad cross country season and some hard post season training I’m just looking forward to working on improving technique and small details that can help me next year,” Mackenzie said.

Conditioning has proven to be a major key to success on all levels of sports and it is hoped to reach new heights by winning even more games this year.

“I’m looking forward to having the most successful season in Dutch Fork Lacrosse history,” Kevin said. “Being around some of the best guys I know makes the experience that much better.”

Story by Josh German, Sam Aaron, Lydia Kicklighter