LACONIA — Craig Kozens had already left New Hampton School by the time Brandon Borghi became a student at the private school, but the football coach’s name was still whispered in reverence. To wit, Kozens was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in November.
Kozens is now the athletic director, football coach and dean of students at Laconia High School, and Borghi manages Fit Focus, where Kozens goes to work out after school. A conversation in the weight room recently led to Thursday’s delivery of exercise equipment, all donations for the weight room at Laconia High School.
The delivery included spin bikes, lightweight dumbells, a rowing machine, a battle rope and heavy bags of the kind used for martial arts training.
Mike Frederickson, principal at Laconia High School, said the donations will better equip the school to follow a direction that its curriculum has already started moving: getting away from the traditional “gym class” model and toward a range of classes that will introduce students to activities that will keep them fit for long after they leave high school.
“If we get the kids interested early on… Hopefully they will carry that on through the rest of their lives,” Frederickson said.
When Kozens came to Laconia High School, he started a weight training and conditioning class. As a coach, he sees physical strength as an important safety concern. The stronger the player, the less likely he or she will be injured on the field.
It turned out that class made a lasting impression. Now, when he goes to Fit Focus, he sees many adults who used to be LHS athletes or students working out.
Laconia High School is trying to reach more students, including those who might not be interested in team sports. One class offered is called “Contemporary Trends in Fitness,” and the heavy bags, donated by Brandon’s brother, Derek Borghi, will be used by an after-school club led by a faculty member who is certified to teach kick-boxing.
“We’re trying to expand opportunities for kids to see every portion of fitness,” Kozens said. The additional equipment will help them do just that. “I think it’s a great relationship to start, having a local gym in town, it’s a great partnership we got going here.”
Fit Focus will likely continue to partner with LHS, according to Borghi. He said he would like to see some of his trainers visit the school to help lead classes, and he would be happy to entertain students at his gym who are interested in a career in health club management.
Borghi said that athletics and strength training were important for his development as a young man, and he sees fitness as being important to a community’s overall well-being.
“I really believe it prepares the future, for helping communities take the next step,” Borghi said.