Success in strength: New Viking Strength and Conditioning Center offers cutting-edge tool for South Tahoe athletics
The Viking Strength and Conditioning Center rivals facilities on the collegiate level, and has the coaching to match. For South Tahoe High, it’s the latest state-of-the-art addition on campus — and the ultimate tool for athletic performance.
“It’s a game changer,” said South Tahoe athletic director Tony Sunzeri. “It’s something that will change the scope of athletics at our high school for the better.”
The 250-square-foot center sits atop the South Lake Tahoe campus, highlighted by a weight room surrounded by windows that offer views of the surrounding forest. The room features 10 racks from Legend Fitness and PowerBlock dumbells, brand new rubber flooring and benches embroidered with the Vikings logo.
“There’s not a high school in the country that has a better facility,” said Everett Goldberg, South Tahoe’s new head strength and conditioning coach. “There will be some that have the same, but nobody is better.”
The cutting-edge facility completed in June includes a turf hallway for warmups, plyometrics and soft tissue work. The former student union was most recently used for storage before being converted into the new training center with a $100,000 price tag mostly covered by local donors.
“Sports is a big thing in South Tahoe, and having this is a nice combination,” said Lake Tahoe Unified School District superintendent Dr. James Tarwater. “We’re very proud of the community holding hands with us and offering our students these types of programs.”
South Tahoe’s new training center is uncommon at the high school level, similar in scope to the school’s Sports Medicine program. It’s also one of the main reasons Goldberg decided to become the school’s strength and conditioning coach, coming from the Division I college level to lead the new program at STHS.
“The kids are at a huge advantage, between this room and playing and living at altitude,” Goldberg said. “The kids have the biggest advantage of anyone in the state.”
A HIGH-LEVEL APPROACH
South Tahoe’s new strength coach first became interested in athletic performance while playing football at College of the Canyons in Southern California. Under well-known strength coach Robert Dos Remedios, Goldberg gained 35 pounds in two years — and saw a future potential career.
“That was where I started learning how to do things, learning how to push myself and actually be productive with my time versus just being in the weight room,” Goldberg said.
After two years kicking at Division I FCS Norfolk State, Goldberg served as a strength and conditioning intern with the Spartans. He went to San Jose State after graduation, where he ultimately became an assistant athletic performance coach.
During those three years with the Spartans, he led programs for softball, baseball, women’s water polo, track and field, cross country and cheerleading. He also graduated with a master’s in kinesiology — but the 24-year-old eventually decided working in high-level college athletics wasn’t his perfect fit.
“My coworkers thought I was crazy for leaving college football for high school, but our quality of life has skyrocketed here,” Goldberg said. “The administration and teachers here have been nothing but welcoming, and obviously they’re doing things right with this program.”
Tahoe’s mountain lifestyle resonated with the Colorado Springs, Colorado, native upon arrival. Then he saw the potential of South Tahoe’s strength and conditioning facility — leading him to accept the job and move to the area with his wife Megan, now the Vikings’ freshman volleyball coach.
PREVENTING INJURIES, PERFORMING ON THE FIELD
Inside and outside of the weight room, Goldberg’s fitness philosophy hinges on injury prevention and athletic performance. Both items dictate the workout programs he issues to South Tahoe athletes.
“The most important thing in this room is injury prevention. If you’re doing anything to where you’re getting a kid hurt in here, then you’re not doing your job,” Goldberg said. “What we’re doing in here should prevent injuries on their surface.”
Goldberg started offseason training June 27, and has since worked with at least 20 athletes per team across all three seasons with specialized six-week programs. Vikings split five days a week between the weight room and the field during that stretch for work that included conditioning, sprint mechanics and change of direction.
“Defensive linemen aren’t doing the same workouts as quarterbacks — they don’t need to. Baseball players aren’t doing the same workouts as the cheer team,” Goldberg said. “Everything is specialized and everything is relevant toward their sport.”
And while Goldberg’s strength training programs do involve heavy lifting, the amount of weight on the bar isn’t the primary focus. Instead, he emphasizes athletes being “technicians” in structured, hour-long sessions where tablets attached to racks are utilized to record workouts with the TeamBuildr app.
“Everything is done the way the human body is meant to do it,” Goldberg said. “We’re not doing anything that is going to put the body at risk, we’re not doing anything that is going to be non-biomechanically efficient towards their movement.”
Goldberg has already seen short-term progress during the summer, and believes the new center and program will have an impact right away for South Tahoe. In three to five years, he expects a direct translation to success in competition.
“It will take a couple years for the culture to kick in, the wins to start skyrocketing and all that fun stuff, but they’re doing it the right way,” Goldberg said. “That’s what we’re trying to build, the culture around the program instead of just the program.”
Under Goldberg’s direction at the brand new Viking Strength and Conditioning Center, that culture is beginning to take shape at South Tahoe. And it’s happening one workout at a time.