University partners with Huntington North to train high school athletes

HUNTINGTON, Ind. Huntington University, in collaboration with Huntington North High School, launched a new internship opportunity this fall for exercise science students.

The internship aims to help students who are specifically interested in the area of strength and conditioning, said Matthew Ruiz, associate professor of exercise science at HU. Students will be working with the off-season sport teams at the high school.

“We can do all the classroom stuff in the world but if (students) aren't actually getting any experience, the classroom stuff isn't getting the job done,” Ruiz said.

This internship will give students real-life experiences and the ability to help others, he said. Currently, three students are working in the program: senior Josh Watson, junior Jace Blackburn and sophomore Scott Skiles.

“The purpose of this program is to help high school athletes build solid athletic and functional foundations,” Watson said. “Our workouts are designed to help the athletes become stronger which will help them excel in their sport. The other purpose is to give HU students a chance to practice training athletes. Most internships involve observing strength coaches or personal trainers and helping when they ask. This gives us a chance to apply what we know and practice training others.”

Ruiz said the internship is the perfect fit for the exercise science program.

“I have always thought the program needed an internship like this, and therefore, I was excited when the opportunity came about,” he said.

HU alum Andrew Drummond, current assistant baseball coach at Huntington North, first presented the idea as a way to create better trained athletes at the high school level. The athletic director, Michael Gasaway, then worked with the Enterprise Resource Center at HU to build a program.

Currently, there are two out-of-season teams who are training with the students, the varsity men and women’s basketball teams. The students train with the athletes from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the high school.

BreAnne Dyer, the varsity high school girl’s basketball coach, said the training is already making a difference for her team.

“Giving the high school athletes the chance to learn from individuals who are training to be experts in their fields has helped to create an excellent atmosphere, promoting both hard work and dedication,” she said.
Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and has listed the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Additionally, Princeton Review has named the institution a “Best Midwestern College.” Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).


Heather Barkley
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Joanne Green
Sports Information Director