New weight room inspire athletes during training

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Opened in fall 2020, The Loks Performance Center is a new facility located on Old Orchard Avenue. It offers Webster student athletes a revamped batch of equipment and spacious area to work out.

Head strength and conditioning coach Matt Saitz said the new space has supplemented student athletes’ drive while in the weight room. The updated equipment gives room to workout multiple teams at once and the isolation from other campus activities incentivize student athletes to train.

“It has benefited the students exponentially,” Saitz said. “It’s become a home where they can come 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 advantageous to further establishing the already solid weight room culture at Webster. In Saitz’s first year with Webster, 50% of student athletes trained year round. With that percentage rising annually, Saitz said the new weight room has led to an all-time high in weight training participation.

“The dedication [of] student athletes is another big factor,” Saitz said. “More started to come in as the years progressed and with the Loks Performance Center, strength and conditioning at Webster has turned into what it is today.”

This availability and attraction is relatively new to the strength and conditioning program. Saitz had to accommodate challenges that student athletes faced before the addition of the new facility, such as replacing outdated equipment, working out on the gym floor and getting creative with his workout methods.

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

Senior baseball player Mitch Daniels remembers some of these difficulties, such as the inability to train without interruption.

“Before we got the new gym, it was really hard to focus and work out,” Daniels said. “People that weren’t working out would often get in the way because we always used a shared space.”

Daniels recalled an instance where these accommodations had destructive consequences.

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

Daniels also added that this happened the day before Webster hosted the conference basketball tournament, a story he claims Coach Saitz and basketball Coach Chris Bunch can attest to.

These challenges are a thing of the past now. The Loks Performance Center features six racks for benching and squatting, six benches, six sets of weight-adjustable dumbbells and more workout space than any Webster student athlete had prior to its installation.

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

“[It was] a lot of planning, working with our CFO, Mr. Meyer and vendors,” Kilgallon said. “Once we found suitable space, Chancellor Stroble and President Schuster were supportive of this need. The project came to fruition during COVID.”

As well as being functional to student athletes that are already on Webster sports teams, Kilgallon believes the new facility will draw in future Gorloks. He said it is a great recruiting tool for Webster coaches.

Freshman baseball player AJ Simmons agrees with this claim. He said he was thoroughly impressed with the Loks Performance Center. According to Simmons, the facility’s equipment, organization and space exceeded expectations when he was being recruited last year.

“When I visited Webster, I was surprised 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 its benefits.

For more information about the Loks Performance Center and Webster strength and conditioning, reach out to Coach Saitz at matthewsaitz71@webster.edu.

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Ben McMullan
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