By Chris Gionta
Three nights a week, the Springfield College varsity weight room fills up. Barbells, along with safety squat bars collect five, 10, 25, and 45-pound plates, waiting for determined hands to take hold of them. This particular weight room is host to the school’s athletic teams for most of the day. However, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m., people of different backgrounds, interests and fitness goals find themselves there with one common task — to improve.
The Springfield College Iron Sports club has been in existence for several years, and has been an avenue for people to lift with high-quality equipment with support from fellow club members. It certainly varies from one’s average gym experience on their own.
“We have a more team dynamic,” said Cassidy Thompson, president of the club. “So we’re all down there. We all want to get stronger. We all want to lift. As opposed to in the Wellness Center (where) you don’t really know anyone and you all kind of just mind your own business.”
Many factors entice people to join the Iron Sports club on campus. Along with the equipment and the comradery of the group, the club also brings organization to people’s fitness goals. Thompson, Vice President Aidan Howell, and powerlifting coach Carlo Frunzio are all sophomores majoring in exercise science, and actively write exercise programs for those in the club. The trio divide and conquer to help every member accomplish their objectives.
“It really depends on what an individual person’s goals are,” said Howell. “Because if someone wants to do powerlifting, they’ll go with Carlo. If someone is more looking to be generally strong, healthy, and general fitness stuff they go with Cassidy. And anyone who wants to do Olympic weightlifting or anything weird would be with me.”
Another difference from the average gym experience is the ability to perform Olympic-style weightlifting. The Wellness Center, along with many commercial gyms, do not allow exercises like the clean and jerk, or the snatch. Many gyms do not allow them due to potential damage to equipment, and also the loud noise from the necessary dropping of the bar after the rep is completed.
But, Springfield College students are encouraged to perform these exercises in the varsity weight room with the club, as the bumper plates and rubber surfaces on the lifting platforms make it possible to do these lifts without damage to equipment.
The Iron Sports club on campus is well-established, yet still carries a lot more potential.
“I think a lot of people on campus would love to join if they knew it existed,” said Thompson. “And a lot of people just don’t know. So (a goal is) showing people that we’re there and we’re an option.”
The club also envisions significant events in the future that may bring more exposure to the group.
“A goal for the club altogether is that we’re hoping to host a meet for both people in the club and not in the club some time this semester,” said Thompson. “We want to just be able to have some of our new people that have never competed before get that experience of competing at home, where they’re not going to be stressed out.”
The club does well staying in as good of shape as its members and will likely remain that way with its ambitious sophomore leaders, who maintain the spirit of the club while looking for more experiences and opportunities for their members to have.
Photo: Springfield College Iron Sports Club