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Published: Tuesday, 2/16/2010

Bedford athletics aim for weighty goal

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Building more muscle is on the minds of the Kickin' Mules.

It has generated enough conversation that a group of individuals involved with Bedford High athletics is trying to address the concern by raising $300,000 to cover the costs for a new weight room and weight lifting equipment.

Bedford Athletic Director Bill Regnier said such a facility at the high school is long overdue.

"Our weight room is kind of small, plus our wrestling room is very small," Regnier said. "We really need a new wrestling room because it's really a locker room."

The Mules' weight room can be considered outdated by today's standards. Regnier said it's basically the same facility that existed 10 years ago when he served as the Mules' football coach. The old weight room, roughly 30 by 50 feet, is to be replaced by an 80 by 140-foot facility to be built just north of the high school's gymnasium.

The two-fold plan will allow the Mules' wrestling team to move into the present weight room and make it the wrestling room. The space the Mules now use for wrestling practice is a small locker room converted into a wrestling room.

"This should have been done a long time ago," Regnier said.

Nonetheless, a recent push to try and improve upon the Mules' workout facilities is credited in part to third-year Mules football coach Jeff Wood, whose team qualified for the state playoffs last fall after finishing 7-3 overall and winning a conference championship for the first time since 1998.

"When I became the football coach I thought the only thing the school was lacking was an outstanding strength and conditioning program for the entire athletic program," Wood said. "Our facilities right now are below average in comparison to everyone else in the area."

Discussions ultimately led a group of concerned Mules athletic backers to establish a nonprofit group, Mule Muscle Inc. or MMI for short, to raise the funds for a new weight room.

The Bedford School District agreed to provide space for a new facility while the nonprofit organization will be responsible for raising the $300,000 for a new weight room and new equipment. More than $40,000 has been raised through fund-raising efforts since the summer.

"It's all our parents,' alumni, and fans' efforts, and if we don't do it, we can't get it," said Rebecca Regnier, Bill Regnier's daughter-in-law, who is serving as Mule Muscle president and overseeing the fund-raising efforts.

The plan started to take shape during the summer after several members of Bedford's coaching staff went out and viewed the workout facilities at other schools within the Southeastern Conference and Toledo Public Schools.

Wood said Bedford's weight room ranked ninth out of the 12 schools in the Southeastern Conference and didn't measure up with most of the TPS facilities.

Wood said he believes an improved weight room will help all the Mules' student athletes and teams to compete at a high level more consistently.

He also said he believes an improved facility could prevent Bedford from losing talent to private and parochial schools in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

"We'll be able to train our kids to get bigger, stronger, and faster," Wood said. "It will help our whole physical education department."

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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