Strength & conditioning

  • Only Division III program with two full-time strength coaches
  • Strength and conditioning major
  • Strength/conditioning coaching internship program

Sterling Strength and Conditioning Award

Presented to a Central College athlete who:

  • Demonstrates a burning passion to become the best athlete he/she can be through the use of strength and conditioning.
  • Demonstrates leadership in Central’s strength and conditioning program.
  • Demonstrates improvement in performance in his/her sport due to gains made during strength and conditioning training.

This award is endowed by Travis Sterling PT, OCS, CSCS.  Sterling is a 1993 Central College graduate and was a first-team all-Iowa Conference offensive lineman in 1992. He received Central’s Bruce Wendt Award as the team’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.  Sterling is one Iowa’s few physical therapists who is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist.  He operates Sterling Physical Therapy Clinic, PC in Pella and specializes in rehabilitation of orthopaedic, sports and workers compensation injuries.  Sterling is passionate and knowledgeable about strength and conditioning, serving as a valuable resource.  His dedication to Central and his continued support have been integral to the school’s strength and conditioning program.

Male Strength & Conditioning Athletes of the Year

2004: Ike Hammerly (Offensive lineman, Football)

Coach Johnson says: "Ike fully embraced all that Central Strength had to offer.  With an aggressive training style, he went through a total body transformation to become a dominant offensive lineman and leader both in the weight room and on the football field."
Ike Hammerly
2005: Adam Duerfeldt (catcher, baseball)

Coach Johnson says: "Adam holds nearly every weight room record for the baseball team in both speed and strength categories. His balance of speed, power and athleticism helped him become an all-conference baseball player and set multiple records.  Adam’s leadership abilities infected those around him and raised their level of play.  Every morning Adam came in with an attack mentality and approached his training like he would any game day."
Adam Duerfeldt

2006: Nick Cochrane (tennis)

Coach Johnson says: "Nick dominated his sport of tennis and this was a direct result of his work ethic and passion to excel.  With his never-quit attitude he led by example. As one of Central’s first tennis athletes to embrace strength and conditioning, he led the way and soon others followed. His quest for perfection was always prevalent in his approach to practice. His goal was a simple one: keep getting better and use all the tools available. This approach helped Nick become his best." 

Nick Cochrane
2007: Nick Reed (offensive lineman, football)

Coach Johnson says: "Nick came in as a 187-pound offensive lineman and left as a 265-pound All-American. Nick embraced every opportunity to get better. His dedication was unmatched. Nick’s work ethic, passion for his teammates, focus on nutrition and love of training led him to success. His infectious attitude led those around him to excel. Nick changed the culture and attitude of the Central Strength program."
Nick Reed
2008: Michael Edwards (first baseman, baseball)

Coach Johnson says: "A burning passion was always inside of Michael. From day one he was a leader who embraced the power of strength and conditioning and it helped him become a solid leader and a phenomenal baseball player. Michael grew in a lot of ways during his time at Central College and thanks to his leadership, the baseball program’s approach to training has been transformed."
Michael Edwards
2009: Spenser Remick (offensive lineman, football)

Coach Johnson says: "Spenser leaves as one of the most accomplished athletes in Central College strength and conditioning history, holding a multitude of records. He had a strong desire to excel and surpassed many expectations, raising the standards for so many and taught others to never put restrictions of what one can accomplish. Always a competitor, Spenser thrived when the stakes were the highest; this was true on the football field and in the weight room."
Spenser Remick
2010: Andy Kneib (offensive lineman, football)

Coach Johnson says:
"Andy is the picture of selflessness in every sense of the word. He truly embraced, and enjoyed, every opportunity to get better and his attitude is an infectious one that spread through the entire team. When faced with challenges he never missed a training session and always came ready to compete. Andy was a leader in the weight room as well as the football field. He led with a passionate heart and played for the love of the game, enjoying every moment."
Andy Kneib
2011: Nate Snead (quarterback, football)

Coach Johnson says: "Nathan was humble and servant hearted with a work ethic that was infectious. He was the ultimate competitor with a desire that burned inside of him and became irresistible for those who were around him. Nate never wanted the spotlight and always put the agenda of the team before himself, making him a truly selfless leader. He leaves as one of the strongest, fastest and most athletic athletes to ever set foot on Central’s campus." 
Nate Snead
2012: Ryan Schmidt (defensive back, football)

Coach Johnson says: "Ryan was a four-year starter who left no stone unturned in his development as an athlete. He embraced every training session as an opportunity to reach his full potential and give everything he had to the improvement of the team. No challenge was too great for Ryan as he leaves as one of the best conditioned athletes in Central history as well as holding multiple speed records."

Ryan Schmidt
2013: Theron Stewart (wrestling)

Coach Johnson says: "Theron was the heart and soul of our wrestling team for the past four years. He gave everything he had in every training session, practice and match. His tireless work ethic and competitive fire willed him to victory over more talented opponents and inspired his teammates to never give up. For four years he loved the battle of long training sessions, always leading by example and doing things the right way."

Ryan Schmidt
2014: Travis Hook (offensive lineman, football)

Coach Johnson says: "Few can say they transformed themselves the way Travis did during his career at Central. He began as an undersized, injury prone offensive lineman and made himself into an all-conference player who was incredibly tough both physically and mentally. His passion for his teammates and the game of football was always present as he was a constant source of energy and inspiration for his teammates."

Ryan Schmidt
2015: Brody Janssen (defensive lineman, football)

Coach Johnson says: "Brody came to Central as an undersized defensive end and graduated as an all-conference nose tackle.  He set a goal his freshmen year to rank in the top five in all three strength testing categories and he became only the second athlete to achieve all three of those records.  His daily work ethic was contagious as he not only worked to reach his full potential but was a great leader that pushed his teammates to be everything they could be."

Ryan Schmidt

2015: Taylor Cox (wide receiver, football)

Coach Johnson says: "Taylor’s drive for constant improvement is visible in all aspects of his life. He trained with a purpose and regardless of his academic load or time spent studying abroad, he gave everything he had to his training and to his team."

Ryan Schmidt


Female Strength and Conditioning Athletes of the Year

2004: Kate Pipho (goalie, soccer)

Coach Johnson says: "Kate quickly embraced strength and conditioning. As a leader on the soccer field and in the weight room she led by example and became a defensive force on the soccer field. Kate was a vocal leader who was respected by all and helped her team improve each year."
Kate Pipho
2005:  Abby Frye (first baseman, softball)

Coach Johnson says: "Abby was plagued with some lower body strength deficiencies resulting in an increased risk of injury. But she dedicated herself to doing everything within her control to become a better athlete. Her willingness to work through pain helped her  become a very powerful athlete. An exceptional student as well, Abby was a very focused and driven player."
Abby Frye

2006:  Dawn Nissen (shortstop, softball)

Coach Johnson says: "Never has Central seen an athlete possess such high levels of strength, speed and explosive power. She set new standards on tests for quickness, strength and vertical jump. This did not come easily. Her aggressive approach and passion for  training helped her to continue to improve over her four years and helped those around her achieve their goals as well."

Dawn Nissen
2007:  Chelsey Keller (thrower, track and field)

Coach Johnson says: "Chelsey epitomized self-motivation and dedication. She viewed each day as an opportunity to improve and this approach helped her achieve a high level of success both in the weight room and in the throwing ring. Chelsey was a quiet leader away from her sport but was a fierce competitor and an outstanding performer."
Chelsey Keller
2008:  Kelly Harris (catcher, softball)

Coach Johnson says: "Kelly only had one operating mode and that was one of fearless aggression. This personified her approach to training in the weight room and on the softball diamond. Always competing with reckless abandon helped Kelly shatter multiple records on the field and off. She always put her team above herself and she was an inspiration to everyone with whom she came into contact."
Kelly Harris
2009: Ryann Engholm (designated player, softball)

Coach Johnson says:
"From the very first day, Ryann had a healthy obsession with strength and conditioning. That passion helped her become a solid softball player. Her leadership was one of example and watching her compete was something truly special. Ryann was extremely caring, always willing to help her teammates and challenge them in ways they never knew possible. Her attention to detail, aggressiveness and passion for training helped create a powerful environment for those around her to excel as well."
Ryann Engholm
2010: Laura Braun (outfielder, softball)

Coach Johnson says: "Laura is the ultimate teammate.  Her passion and love for the women on the team was evident through her off-the-field efforts as well as her leadership on the field. More than any other female athlete to date, she maximized her athletic potential through multiple sacrifices in her life. She trained with the sole goal to be the best player possible to help her team get better. Laura’s attitude was always selfless. Her drive, work ethic, leadership and positive attitude every day made her a truly special athlete."
Laura Braun
2011: Nichole McGrew (defensive specialist, volleyball)

Coach Johnson says: "Nichole had an incredible work ethic, attitude, desire and innate ability to rally others which set her apart from the rest. Consistently she gave tremendous effort and pushed through pain despite the circumstances. Never was a challenge too much for her but rather an opportunity for her and her team to get better. Always willing to suffer and sacrifice Nichole’s passion and consistency of training made her one of the best."
Nichole McGrew
2012: Cory Bacon (point guard, basketball)

Coach Johnson says: "Cory’s desire to compete both on the court and in the weight room was second to none. Her competitive fire helped change the culture of the women’s basketball program and redefine what can be accomplished through dedication and hard work in strength and conditioning. Cory leaves as not only the fastest but also pound-for-pound the strongest female athlete in Central history."

Cory Bacon
2013: Stephanie Hasken (goal keeper, women’s soccer)

Coach Johnson says: "Stephanie was the driving force behind the resurgence of our women’s soccer program. She transformed herself into an all-conference goalkeeper but more importantly pushed her teammates to always strive for something greater.  Her passion, loyalty, leadership and determination in the weight room and on the soccer field helped her and her teammates reach their full potential."

Cory Bacon
2014: Chelsea Greiner (infielder, softball)

Coach Johnson says: "Chelsea exemplifies the team-first mentality. Her passion and love for her teammates was evident every training session as she always pushed herself to new limits and inspired the same in her teammates. Her energy and enthusiasm for her team and their goals showed itself every day as she treated every rep as the most important rep of the season."

Chelsea Greiner
2015: Dana Van Renterghem (catcher, softball)

Coach Johnson says: "Dana was the ultimate team player.  Her infectious attitude never wavered as she pushed herself and her teammates to be the best they were capable of becoming.   She committed herself and her team to excellence in each and every team training session, practice, or competition.  Her commitment to her teammates was second to none.."

Cory Bacon
20165: Monica Ruiz (sprinter, track & field)

Coach Johnson says: "Monica transformed herself into the strongest female athlete in program history. Her work ethic and leadership made a huge impact on the way our track and field programs approach their training not only on the track but in the weight room."

Cory Bacon

Central College