Athletes from a wide-range of sports have benifited from the class, Coach McCrae said. (Ronan O'Doherty - The News)

Coach credits strength class for Maple Ridge secondary athletic success

Bill McCrae said he has been teaching Strength Training 12 for 20 years

It is seen as a given that Maple Ridge secondary wrestlers are some of the strongest in the province.

Back-to-back provincial championships for the high school’s girls will attest to their ability to out-muscle the competition.

Coach Bill McCrae said much of the success of those grapplers is due to a strength and conditioning program he created 20 years ago.

“I want to encourage athletes to be stronger,” he said. “A strong athlete is a better athlete.”

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In addition to weight lifting, McCrae will throw in some unconventional exercises like carrying a 25-pound plate over your head and running around the track.

He calls the exercise skull crushers, for obvious reasons.

It is not just wrestlers who have benefited from the the course – known as Strength Training 12.

“I’ve got basketball players, ball hockey players, and lacrosse athletes taking the course too,” McCrae said.

“They’re all in here to get better.”

He stressed this is more than just an iron pumping lesson.

“It’s about learning too. They are taught about the muscles of the body, and how they work, which is information that will help them outside of high school as well.”

For star rugby athlete Soleil Brooks, the class has been invaluable.

She has noticed incredible leaps in her ability since starting the course one year ago.

“When I began I could do two pull-ups, and now I can do 10,” she noted.

“And there’s been a huge increase in most of my weight lifting numbers too.

“Even though I train outside of school, this workout is great for keeping me moving, and motivated.”

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A rare mid-skullcrusher smile from a Maple Ridge secondary athlete. (Ronan O'Doherty - The News)