Waukon Indian athletic programs benefit from recent “boost” provided by the Allamakee Athletic Booster Club

Supporting evidence ... The AcuSpike Team Trainer volleyball hitting trainer pictured above was purchased for the Waukon volleyball program with the financial support of the Allamakee Athletic Booster Club. The training machine is just one of the many “wish list” purchases that was able to be made this past year with the financial assistance of the Allamakee Athletic Booster Club. Submitted photo.

The mission of an athletic booster club is to provide support for a school’s athletic teams in such aspects as financial, equipment and other resource needs. This year, the Allamakee Athletic Booster Club supporting the Waukon High School and Middle School athletic teams certainly put an extra “boost” in booster club.

That boost came in the form of an additional nearly $35,000 in financial support that helped with the purchase of a variety of equipment, some more sport specific and some that can benefit all sports. These purchases were made over and above what the Booster Club and the athletic teams would normally spend in a year to provide those teams with equipment, training and other preparation and competition opportunities.

“Our Allamakee Athletic Booster Club has been very effective this year in helping to supplement our athletic programs with the up-to-date equipment to help our student-athletes on a daily basis,” Waukon High School Activities Director Brian Hilsabeck noted. “This year we put together wish list items that coaches wanted for their programs that were above and beyond what we regularly purchase. The booster members responded immediately and collectively purchased close to $35,000 in items and uniforms to help our programs progress in a positive manner.”

Some of the more overall helpful purchases included new weight racks and a lat machine in the schools’ weight room and plyometric training equipment that replaced older, less safe equipment that had been used. More sport specific purchases included a pitching machine for baseball and a spiking training machine (pictured accompanying this article) for the volleyball program, among other specific and teamwide items.

Waukon baseball coach Jerry Keenan commented following his team’s recent season-ending district tournament game against Denver how he felt his team benefited from its newly-purchased pitching machine, not only the entire season but most recently against one of the most dynamic pitchers his team faced this season who has since pitched that same Denver team to the Class 2A State Tournament. “He threw hard, but I thought we did a good job of putting the bat on the ball with some very good at-bats, and I think our Iron Mike pitching machine really helped us with that,” Coach Keenan said of the new training purchase. “We turned it up as high as it could go to replicate his speed, and I think that really helped us with our timing and making contact.”

One of Waukon High School’s outright leaders in so many aspects throughout his high school career as a four-sport athlete is now-graduated senior Abe Schwartz. From quarterbacking the football team to its first-ever State Championship this past fall to running to State Track Meet qualification this past spring, along with statistical and overall leadership in both basketball and baseball, Schwartz has seen first-hand the advantages of the support his high school’s athletic booster club has provided.

“I have had many great experiences as an athlete at Waukon High School and I would not have been able to have these experiences without the help of the booster club,” Schwartz said. “The booster club provides each sport with their own equipment to use and enhance their skills. I was able to experience this first-hand as just this year the baseball team received a new pitching machine, track received new and safer plyometric training equipment, and there were new machines put into the weight room for football and other sports to train. These were all brought to us by the work done by the booster club. The booster club is also in charge of making sure that we look our best on our competitive fields and takes care of us greatly. This is shown by the fact that since I have been in high school, there have been new uniforms for each of the four sports I participate in. I thank them for all of the work that they do behind the scenes without much of the credit that they deserve; their work is greatly appreciated.

The female realm of Waukon Indian athletics experienced the same beneficial impact, as noted by the senior-to-be multi-sport pair of Maddie Ahlstrom and Sydney Ross. “We are very thankful for the booster club and all they do for our athletics,” the duo shared. “They provided us with travel gear, basketball bags and more. These were all great assets to our team. We are very fortunate to have such a supportive club.”

In his position, Hilsabeck gets to witness the impact of all that support, and all the success that results from it. It is that aspect of his job that makes it most enjoyable for him, and he appreciates the efforts of all those involved in making that happen.

“I personally want to thank the booster club for its dedicated time and efforts to help our student-athletes,” Hilsabeck summarized. “I also want to thank those who are booster members and want them to please know that their money for their membership is directly impacting our student-athletes and programs.”

For those who would like to become a member or purchase a membership, or who just want to check out  what the Allamakee Athletic Booster Club has to offer, the club will have its annual booster membership drive August 16 at the Waukon High School, beginning at 5 p.m.

In previous years the membership kick-off has included such featured speakers as Coach Dan Gable and Super Bowl Champion Cedric James. Hilsabeck said this year’s speaker “will not disappoint.”

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