Winter Laker Performance begins as students seek to transform into better athletes


Winter Laker Performance began on December 10th, and athletes looking to stay fit, who not already involved in a winter sport, are participating. The after school program offers various benefits students can translate towards their main sports through specialized coaching and certified instruction.

Each day from Monday to Thursday, students meet after school in the indoor track of the high school around 3:15 to stretch. Later, after instruction, they perform a workout customized for them. Upon completing the exercises on either the platforms or racks, both boys and girls will leave around 4:30.

This program promotes core principles including technique, athleticism, strength, and safety. During their workouts, Prior Lake students switch between arm, leg, abs, and endurance workouts that focus on specific areas of the body and develop them into a more complete athlete. Rigorous exercises include benching, squatting, pull-ups, and cleans.

Matt Gegenheimer, also the head football coach at Prior Lake High School, directs the activity along with other assistant coaches involved in different sports. He earned an exercise science degree from Iowa State, as well as a certificate from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

He believes participating in an offseason training program offers athletes more than solely physical benefits; it leads them to find character. Gegenheimer observes the psychological growth among athletes who possess a consistent work ethic and said, “The biggest thing is confidence. Working out teaches you discipline, mental, and physical toughness.”

Gegenheimer, also known as ‘Coach G’, advocates for young athletes to face adversity in the weight room together and that unity among individuals on a team is vital. “Just the motivation factor– workouts would be a lot better with other people; they can’t challenge themselves alone.”

Dorian Walker, a junior at Prior Lake High School, invests his time and effort into the winter program. Walker participates in the Olympic weightlifting program along with the track and field program offered at the high school.

During the workouts, a coach sets a timer for each individual lift. While working out previously at Laker strength training, he said, “Short periods of work are followed by shorter periods of intensity.” He believes a sense of urgency helps athletes to specifically prepare for a game-time situation.

Working out with friends also persuaded Walker to sign up for the activity. Likewise, with Gegenheimer, he views the psychological importance of working with others. “If you’re at home there’s a chance you won’t stay motivated.”

The workout room walls display several motivational quotes which encourage athletes to work efficiently and remain disciplined. Coaches, along with lifting partners, consistently motivate each other when tired or convinced they cannot finish the workout.

In order to qualify to participate in the program, students must pay $100 and attend the activity on a daily basis throughout the given time period. The core motto that defines the mission of the program is “Together we will. . .”