While the cold January afternoon might have sent some springs sports teams into the gym for their third official practice of the season, the Andrews boy and girls soccer teams, as well as the Andrews softball team, were outside training with some help from South Carolina’s finest.
Members of the South Carolina National Guard led the group of around 60 athletes through the National Guard Warrior Fit program on the soccer field across from Rosemary Middle School Jan. 30.
This is the third time the National Guard has hosted the program for Andrews athletics. Both the boys and girls soccer teams participated the first year and the softball team joined the second year.
“We had a really big crowd this year and it was a lot more fun,” Andrews senior softball player Carli McCants said. “Other than the cold. We were in shorts and a T-shirt last year.”
Boys soccer coach Shane Maglich said he uses this opportunity not only as a good workout for the kids, but also as a team building opportunity.
“We were trying to use it as a team building process and get everyone close together and working well together,” Maglich said. “We focus on being a family so they can carry something else after they graduate.”
Senior soccer player Elissa Reckdenwald said her favorite part of the day was being able to create a family atmosphere with the softball team.
“My favorite part is getting the softball and the soccer team together because it brings a wave of pride between the sports teams,” Reckdenwald said. “Soccer really focuses on family. I really like when we pair with softball, we are able to spread that family beyond our sport. It shows we are really unique.”
Maglich said it’s also a chance for newer members of the team to see what these coaches are expecting the rest of the season and helps the younger players get comfortable interacting with the older group.
National Guard Sgt. Kurtis Richardson has been leading the boot camp all three years at Andrews High.
“It’s a good opportunity for face time. There’s not a lot of people who spend a lot of extracurricular time with the kids,” Richardson said. “At the National Guard we are all about town and community and we do all we can to give back to the town.”
The exercises used during the program with Andrews are all used during National Guard basic training. The group started by running through a series of exercises including pushups, situps, burpees and squats.
The group then split up into four teams and competed in a relay race. The teams started by pushing a humvee the length of the soccer field. The teams then bear crawled across to the other side of the field, where they regrouped before participating in a water jug race.
Every team member carried two full water jugs the length of the field with a teammate running beside them for motivation. Once they reached the other side, the team members switched and carried the jugs back across for a different pair teammates to carry.
The team that moved the fastest and had every member carry the jugs once was the winner. Once each team competed once, the final stage of the race changed. Instead of carrying water jugs, the teams competed in a buddy drag, where one teammate grabbed the other under the arms and dragged them across the field.
McCants said the competitive atmosphere of the jug race was her favorite part of the day.
“The most fun was the water jugs even though it was the hardest,” McCants said. “But with everyone running up and down the sidelines and just cheering each other and trying to win was the most fun part.”