DGS creates new early bird PE course geared toward varsity athletes


Ashley Boak

DGS offensive lineman blocking Wheaton North player at a home game.

An early-bird class from the PE Department, Advanced Team Fitness 2, has been introduced this year. Mainly consisting of football players, the curriculum has a focus on benefiting the varsity team.  

Coach Mark Molinari spoke on what the course offers. 

“[It’s] an early-bird fitness class to give the kids options to lift together and kind of get our lifting that we want to do during the season out of the way early in the morning. [We] then free up some of their schedules in the afternoon,” Molinari said. 

The class is available to all varsity athletes, but only football players are only enrolled. The teacher of the class and football coach Tony Nevrly spoke about why the class only had varsity football team members.

“We had other students in there, but they opted out because they saw the clientele. But anyone is allowed to be in [the class],” Nevrly said.

Nevrly spoke about how not all of the class is fitness training and that they do focus some time in the classroom.

“We use a “rack performance” during the week, which is an online workout program geared towards athletes, and we train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Wednesdays we are in the classroom,” Neverly said. 

In addition Molinari said the course is considered a fitness two class and counts as a half-credit for PE. It consists of fitness aspects such as weight training as well as mindfulness activities. 

In terms of the mental piece of the early-bird class, sophomore Eli Reed expressed benefits of the course. 

“It helps us because we don’t want to do film study and all of that during practice, [it cuts] down the field time. … [The mindfulness aspect] helps us get down the mental aspect before we get on the field,” Reed said. 

Junior and team quarterback Cole Warehime spoke on how this helps with team bonding.

“I like the idea of it, and I think it really helps our team bond a little better together. … On Wednesdays we study the other teams’ film. It helps us prepare for the game on Friday,” Warehime said.

Nevrly also said the classroom day has a weekly quiz and spoke about what that quiz entails. 

“The assessments of and assessments for learning are based on different things they need to know during the week. It could be related to their athletic activity, it could be related to nutrition, it could be related to physical fitness,” Nevrly said.

Although the class is still fairly new to the early bird program, Molinari has already seen a lot of positive feedback from his team regarding the class and its structure.

“We really do like it. It’s kind of nice to be with all of your teammates in a P.E. class … The kids have complained a little bit about having to be up early, but once they get their blood moving and getting going in the morning, they seem to be enjoying the class without a doubt,” Molinari said.

So far, the class has been piloted for just one semester, but Molinari said he can see the benefits of this class to students and hopes to see more classes like this next semester and next year. 

“Yeah I think it’s good, kids want to have an ability to take an extra elective class. Whether it’s an architecture class or engineering or maybe an art class, this frees up their schedule. Some kids just need to have a study hall in their day, and it gives them a little bit more freedom,” Molinari said.