The Speed and Strength program at Mora High School has given athletes in all sports an opportunity to raise their level of athleticism and compete at a higher level. One individual in particular, junior James Hentila, has taken full advantage of the program.
Hentila, a football player and thrower for the track and field program, recently just broke a 10-year-old school/football record as he squatted 480 pounds. In fact, Hentila owns the football/school record for not only the squat, but also the deadlift and clean. He also owns the football record for the bench at 350 pounds. Brady Beier still owns the school record at 360 pounds.
Hentila became interested in weight lifting at a young age. “I became interested in lifting weights in sixth grade. My cousin, Zach Golden, had a bench in his house. It went to 110 pounds, so that summer we set a goal to try and bench that.”
When asked what he enjoys about lifting weights Hentila stated, “The idea of making yourself physically better is fun. You see the small gains, and that motivates you.”
On owning almost all the Mustang records in the weight room Hentila said, “Records are cool. I’ve been working really hard at it, so I’m not surprised in the results. I enjoy setting a standard for younger athletes to shoot for after I graduate.”
Assistant football coach Jake Corrigan is the speed and strength coordinator, and Troy Erickson is the head football coach. Mora uses the Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise program. Coach Erickson said, “We were introduced to the program by Elk River football. When I saw the manual, I thought it was a no-brainer to institute here.”
APRE allows for testing and adjusting. It gives guidelines for the athletes to follow. An athlete can use more frequency/less volume or less frequency/more volume.
“With APRE we are able to teach failure. We celebrate failure in the weight room. If we don’t fail in there we’re not working hard enough. Hopefully we’re building more mentally tough athletes with this.
“Some people think that lifting weights and APRE is just for the football program. We may put the most time into it, but it’s for all our athletes in all of our programs,” said Coach Erickson.
Hentila said, “I have a goal of possibly playing college football. University of Minnesota Duluth is a school I’m interested in.” With his work ethic in and out of the classroom the sky is the limit for James Hentila.