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J-E: Athletes strive for bigger, faster, stronger

The name of the program says it all: "Bigger, Faster, Stronger."

The Jordan-Elbridge athletic training program is coming to the close of its fifth summer season at the high school this year, as Physical Education teacher and program coordinator Mike Smart marks the fifth year of success.

The program was introduced to the J-E community in 2003, after Smart and another coach attended a Bigger, Faster, Stronger (BFS) conference and decided it would be a great addition to the sports program at J-E.

With the support of the district administration and board of education, Smart said he was able to integrate the Utah-based BFS program into the district's athletics.

The district has also hosted three BFS clinics, two focusing purely on athletics, the third a "character education program," Smart said.

Athletes who have participated in BFS may recognize some weightlifting techniques this summer as the 2008 Olympics open in Beijing this week.

Smart said the free weight training techniques employed by BFS are some of the same lifts used in the Olympic weightlifting competition.

BFS-style lifts are modified to better suit athletes, he added.

One of the biggest impacts BFS has on student athletes is apparent when they receive their first workout program for a college-level sport.

Margie Bailey, a 2008 J-E graduate, was in the gym last week training for her first season on the St. Lawrence University lacrosse team.

She said she was more excited than nervous when she received her workout program from St. Lawrence, because she participated in BFS in high school and was already familiar with a lot of the training.

For girls, the program is coined "Better, Faster, Stronger," Smart said - and even though this title is meant to attract girls, there are not very many who take advantage of the program.

Smart said every year a core group of 8 or 9 girls will participate in BFS, but there is no reason for that number to be so low.

"It's not that intimidating once you get used to it," Bailey advised future female BFS athletes.

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