Crusader Strength Club revamps weight room

Higman family contributes to weight room renovations
Posted on 08/11/2023

Bishop Heelan High School senior Sean Schaefer remembers earlier in his days when the weight room was outdated. 

The weights were old and rusty. The equipment they had didn’t meet their needs to become elite athletes among their Iowa high school peers. 

Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Crusaders won’t have to worry about that anymore. 

“This building will certainly serve Bishop Heelan well for many years to come,” said Dr. John Flanery, BHCS President. “We have big-hearted people who continually give to Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools. Our strength and conditioning coordinator Trevor Westhoff is doing an amazing job, and if you don’t notice Trevor, you need to at every game.”

Bishop Heelan – with the help of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce – unveiled the Higman Family Weight Room on Aug. 9. The weight room is located in the CYO Center in the lower level. 

Jerad and Peggy Higman, who have students in the Bishop Heelan system, were the leaders in this project. The amount of time, work and effort the Higmans gave to this project made it happen. 

“Jerad and Peggy had the drive and the dream to make this happen,” Dr. Flanery said. “Without you, this moment and time would not exist.”

The Higmans raised money in a private party at their residence, and the two were Heelan Auction chair couples in 2021. 

Higman designed and built custom racks with benches and a bridge system that connected the two sides of the weight room.  These racks allow as many as eight student-athletes per station.

“It’s that strength, it’s conditioning, it’s fitness,” said Jerad, the CEO of Masaba in Vermillion, South Dakota. “We saw a need for better facilities. We wanted to do something top-notch. We wanted to do something that not only students could be proud of, but families could also be proud. We need to get better and it’s showing.” 

Jerad played football at Nebraska in the early 1990s. Peggy Higman is a yoga instructor and a personal trainer. 

Air conditioning and electrical work were also put in the weight room.

“The improvements in this room are just crazy,” Schaefer said. “All the stuff we have makes everyone a better athlete. It has shown throughout the sports. The student-athletes have been working hard and the results are showing.” 

Seniors Matt Noll, Julie Verzal and Alyssa Rehal also spoke at the ceremony. 

“My favorite memory here is those 6 a.m. lifts,” Verzal said. “It’s a great atmosphere.”

The weight room is just one of several renovations done in the CYO Center. In 2016, the wrestling room got a make-over. Two years later, United Sports Academy transformed the gym space that provides athletic teams a second facility to compete. 

This summer, a new roof was put in on the lower portion of the building. The CYO Center was built in 1958.

The renovations aren’t done there. This year’s 2023 Fund-A-Cause at the Heelan Auction went toward putting in an updated locker room near the CYO Gym for athletes to shower after practice or workouts. The locker rooms are expected to be completed in early fall. 

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