Brandywine athletic department receives $20,000 donation for weight room upgrades

Published 10:37 am Friday, June 28, 2024

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NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — A local high school’s weight room will be receiving a facelift thanks to a generous donation.

The Brandywine Education Foundation presented the Brandywine High School Athletic Department with a $20,000 donation Wednesday afternoon. The money will be used for the purchase of new weights, bars and other equipment for the middle/high school weight room.

The donation comes following a historic school year for Brandywine athletics that saw two wrestlers win MHSAA individual state titles, the boys basketball team earn a Division 3 state title, the girls basketball team earn D3 state runner-up and the girls bowling team go to the Division 4 state tournament.

“I think it’s great to get the alumni back and get involved with the school itself and with the student athletes here, as well,” said Athletic Director Dave Sidenbender. “This was something that could benefit all student athletes, not just football athletes. We looked for something that would help out everybody. The more you improve it, the more kids will use it and it will help us get stronger and continue the success we’ve had this year.”

The donation was a collaboration between the BEF and Brandywine Varsity Club Alumni, with each entity raising money toward the donation to give back to an athletic program that will reap the benefits of its upgraded weight room for years to come.

“We thought it’d be a good idea to actually help them out now so that they can get these upgrades together before the season starts,” said BEF President Rob Runyan.

“I think it will benefit the athletes and the school district itself,’ added BVCA David Thompson. “It’s going to definitely help football, volleyball, softball and basketball, etc.”

Brandywine Head Football Coach Justin Kinzie and Wrestling/Assistant Football Coach Rex Pomranka were on hand for the occasion and are thankful for the investment in the athletic department.

“The goal of any strength and conditioning program is to prevent injuries and then shorten recovery time when injuries do occur and for a small school like us where every single kid we have in this building is a multi-sport athlete, getting an injury and football season impacts two or three other sports,” Kinzie said. “Having that ability to go out and get some really cutting edge stuff and some really good tools in the weight room. It allows us to really provide the best environment for our student athletes, where we can have them here at Brandywine on the field 12 months a year and their bodies can hold up to that. It’s going to be awesome for the student athletes.”

A Brandywine alumnus, Pomranka recalled when the weight room was simply “a steel cage in the balcony” and is happy to see students have a space to improve themselves free of cost.

“It’s just nice that someone wants to invest in it and a lot of our kids are starting to get into lifting. They don’t have to go get a membership at the YMCA or wherever, now they can come here and we can lift as a team and come together as a team.”

Thompson said that Wednesday’s donation is just the beginning of what the alumni group hopes to accomplish in the future and said he would like to get more young alumni involved.

“We’re going to get the ball rolling for round two,” Thompson said. “We’ll talk to (Sidenbender) to figure out what that is going to be and what we need next. We’re trying to expand our base a little bit too. We’ve had some hardcore people that are really into it but we also want to get more of the athletes that have been at Brandywine involved. One of the things that we’re really trying to do is get people who graduated in the 90s and the 2000s. We’re going to try and establish ‘ambassadors’ for each decade to help get the word out and get our base a little larger.”