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Burnet strength and conditioning drawing lots of Bulldogs

CAPTION: The Burnet Bulldogs gather at the end of a recent speed and agility session in the new multi-purpose athletic facility. Courtesy photo

Fans won’t find the Burnet Bulldogs and Lady Dawgs lounging near a pool, enjoying water sports or their favorite summer pastimes.

Look for them at the Burnet High School weight room and in the new multi-purpose center where they’re getting faster, stronger and more agile in preparation for the 2023-24 school year.

The program is drawing an average of more than 90 boys a day in grades 9-12 and between 35-40 middle school boys, said baseball head coach and football assistant coach Russell Houston, who added the numbers aren’t shocking.

“Honestly, it’s our expectation,” he said. “We expect them to be there. We expect to know where they’re at when they’re not there. It’s really about being accountable and calling in when you can’t be there and texting. They’re letting (their teammates) know where they’re at. It’s about holding kids accountable.”

He noted some athletes have enjoyed church and sports camps and summer vacations with their families. And their absences haven’t diminished the enthusiasm from those attending who are doing everything they can to be in great physical and mental shape for upcoming campaigns.

That screams their why.

“Our kids want to win,” he said. “They want to compete and do things.”

The athletes are doing 45-minute lifting sessions and another 45 minutes doing quickness and agility work.

“It’s change or direction or speed,” Houston said.

The program is offered during the mornings Mondays-Thursdays with Tuesday being a “recovery” day from activities that happen on Monday nights such as 7-on-7 football or basketball summer leagues.

No class has shown more determination than the seniors, the coach pointed out, noting they “have played a big role in everything we’ve done the last couple of years.”

The leaders of the class — Dash Denton, Will Johnson, Grant Jones and Trenton Park — are driven for success, particularly after the way the 2022 season ended in a loss at Taylor. The two teams battled for the final playoff berth.

“They’re not vocal leaders, they lead by example,” Houston said. “They set the expectations and the tone. When your great players are your hardest workers, it tends to make everybody work harder. They expect to win.”

The large number of participants helps with that one sport because it typically has the most athletes on the playing field. Because 11 football players are needed to play on offensive, defensive and special team units, the more athletes who commit themselves to attending summer workouts means the teams will be able to do more during fall training camps.

“Football is different,” Houston said. “You have so many more kids you have to be able to count on. It’s 22-23 starters including special teams. It’s a lot of kiddoes you have to count on. You have to have a whole lot more buy-in and you have to be better in a lot of different positions. Our kids want to win. They’re learning how to do it.”

He pointed out athletic programs across the Lone Star State are offering a summer strength and conditioning program. Coaches are all trying to accomplish much of the same goals.

“Everyone in the state of Texas does strength and conditioning,” he said. “If you don’t do it, you’ll fall behind. We’re trying to make them the best athletes we can.”

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