December 26, 2013

H.S. Indoor Track and Field Preview: Lake Region athlete keeps getting better

Kate Hall of Lake Region is working to win three more state titles, with Olympics on her mind.

By Deirdre Fleming
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — For more than an hour, Chris Pribish ran Lake Region junior Kate Hall through intense drills: leaping from a box to the floor and then 3 feet into the air; holding up her body with one hand and dead-lifting 250 pounds.

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Kate Hall, a Lake Region High junior working with a personal trainer, Chris Pribish, balances on a ball to strengthen her core muscles during her workout. Hall continues to improve, knocking off state records.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Kate Hall uses a ball to work on strengthening her hamstring muscles. Hall started working with her personal trainer in the seventh grade.

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That’s right: 250 pounds.

Hall, who weighs just 125 pounds, dead- lifted twice her weight two weeks ago in her demanding strength and conditioning training session, as she does most weeks during the indoor track season. And then she went to Bowdoin College last Saturday to compete in the Bowdoin Relays and soared to more than 19 feet in the long jump, smashing her indoor state record and putting her atop the national rankings for the event.

Hall eclipsed her past state record of 18 feet, 6½ inches by 8 inches with her jump of 19-2.

Astounding to some, perhaps. But to Pribish, Hall’s personal trainer, the improvement is no surprise.

“She’s going to try to make the Olympic trials (outdoors in the 100 meters). She’s only two-tenths (of a second) away,” Pribish said.

Pribish, co-owner and director of The Medically Oriented Gym in South Portland, trains athletes using a sports medicine approach to keep his athletes strong and healthy. His entire philosophy training Hall the past four years has been built around the theory that if her core is stronger, she is more stable, and therefore can create greater force when she sprints and jumps.

And she has.

Hall went from winning three state titles indoors as a freshman (55 meters, 200 and long jump), to winning the same three last year – setting two state records. Then she went to the New England championships and won the 55.

“It’s about how much ground force she can create,” Pribish said. “The stronger she is and the more stable she is, the more she can produce. If you don’t have stability, you lose energy. When she first started training here, she had weird twists in her form. We retrained her and got rid of those.”

Hall met Pribish by accident. She strained her hamstring in seventh grade and needed someone to rehabilitate the injury. Pribish did, then started making her stronger.

Pribish said there’s a direct correlation between Hall’s steady improvement setting and smashing records, and her strength and conditioning training.

“She can lift that much weight because her form is perfect,” Pribish said. “If she’s very strong and rigid, it makes her able to jump high and run fast. And she can dead-lift a whole bunch of weight.”

Hall also believes the reason she’s a six-time indoor state champion and a New England champion and two-time New England medal winner is because she has completely devoted herself to her sport, training year-round with Pribish.

“I do those (one-handed push-ups) every day and they never get easy,” Hall said. “But this makes me faster. He clearly knows what he’s doing. Ever since I started working with him, I’ve had no injuries.”

Hall said this year as a junior she wants to three-peat at states again; defend her New England title in the 55; improve on her third-place finish in the long jump there; and place well at the New Balance indoor national high school meet in New York.

But Pribish is looking further down the road, to the next Olympic trials in 2016, when Hall will be a freshman in college.

Hall needs to run an 11.38 in the 100 meters to make the B standard, which lets athletes into the trials if not enough qualify in the stringent A standard.

Hall ran 11.69 in the event outdoors in June when she won the 100 meters at the New England high school meet. Pribish said she’s only going to get faster this year.

The seasoned trainer follows her track meets closely now, and asks her about her diet, her level of fatigue. If she shows any sign of weakness, he backs her off an exercise and tells her to stretch that muscle group.

“She’s trained like an elite athlete,” Pribish said.

Hall’s workouts at Pribish’s gym involve such exercises as kneeling opposite him and smashing a medicine ball to the ground; or jumping from one box a few feet off the ground onto another that is higher.

As Hall did the box-jumping exercise one day, Pribish adjusted her feet slightly.

On the next jump, Hall waited, pivoted on the balls of her feet and slid off the box, hitting the ground and soaring high above the next box. She gained a half-foot after the adjustment, putting her jump from the ground somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 feet.

“She was landing twisted on the ground but now she’s not. Now she has more explosive power,” Pribish said.

“I’d say she got at least 6 to 7 inches more.”

And Hall did, too ... last Saturday when she flew to a long jump state record.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: FlemingPph


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