The Power Center

Department: Athletics

Above the muffled beat of rock radio, the metallic clang of weights and the rhythmic swoosh and whir of machines in motion fill the air. In one corner, two girls power through a grueling round of abdominal crunches; at the opposite end, a muscular boy shoulders a heavy barbell while spotted by his coach. The L-shaped room on the ground floor of Forrest Hall is densely packed with a gleaming array of equipment ranging from ellipticals to free weights. On a recent summer afternoon, the Hennrich Fitness Center was also filled with about 30 students and alumni taking advantage of one of the best-kept secrets on the school campus.

Thanks to a generous gift from Punahou parents Carl and Alice Hennrich, the weight room underwent a major renovation in 2003 that extended the space, added new mirrors and dense, rubberized flooring, and replaced the aging equipment with commercial-quality machines. Today, the Hennrich Fitness Center, or weight room as it’s more commonly called, is a state-of-the-art facility serving Punahou PE students and athletic teams, as well as faculty, staff and alumni. Some say the school’s recent successes in athletics can be attributed in part to the advanced training now available at the center.

In the mornings during the school year, PE classes track in and out of the room as part of their fitness schedule. In the afternoon, athletic teams and individuals come to work on customized and group strength-training regimens prescribed by the coaches. Once the domain of football, the weight room now attracts athletes from sports as diverse as judo, golf and bowling as well as an increasing number of females.

“It helps my performance; I feel I’ve gotten a lot better,” says Taylor Maruyama ’09, a weight-room regular and softball and basketball player. “I’ve become a much better shooter in basketball. It helps my confidence as well - I feel I can push myself to the next level.”

This year, the energetic junior is trying out for volleyball for the first time and tapped another important resource in the weight room. “Troy is really helpful, he knows what he’s doing,” Maruyama says of supervisor Troy Hotz, who holds a degree in physical education. “When I told him I was going out for volleyball, he helped me with serving and I’ve gotten better.”

Hotz is a pillar of calm amid the room’s buzzing activity. “The students here are willing to listen; they have a lot of respect and willingness to learn,” he says as he moves around the room helping students. Hotz begins working with the seventh-grade teams and introduces the kids to the machines by having them run a 45-minute circuit. As students gain experience and strength, Hotz says he moves into more of an advisory role.

“When kids learn on their own, they become teachers themselves,” he explains. “I have students that come to us as freshmen and by their senior year, they’re helping the incoming freshmen.” He points to a slender girl working on a leg-strengthening machine. “Take Marisa, for instance – she takes it upon herself to help the volleyball boys in here.”

Marisa Tricas ’07 swam on the varsity team her senior year but wasn’t able to do what she really loved – play basketball. A series of knee injuries kept her off the court and, during that time, the weight room became a haven for her recovery. “Once physical therapy ends, it’s totally up to you to find a place to work out,” Tricas says. She tried several other facilities around town and found Punahou’s weight room equal to or better than the other locales. “Not only was I lucky to have a place and machines, I also had my friends in the weight room and my trainer Troy, who is just awesome and who helped push me push through my rehab.”

Punahou tries to stay at the leading edge of training. According to Kale Ane ’71, associate athletic director, coaches have a sophisticated knowledge of appropriate rest-to-work ratios for workouts, and this year, the school plans to bring in an expert to address women’s knee injuries.

The Hennrich Fitness Center serves primarily as a hub for the training of competitive athletes. At the same time, Ane says: “It’s not just for athletes. Even non-athletes should lift, because it helps strengthen your bones. It also helps release stress in a positive way, which is good for overworked Punahou students. If you start when you’re young, it will help you through your whole life.”

Note: The Hennrich Fitness Center is open to Punahou students, alumni currently enrolled in college, faculty and staff from Monday to Friday, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

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