The Era ISD summer conditioning program has had several benefits. From gearing up kids for tougher high-school workouts to getting the football players in shape for fall practices, Era Athletic Director Don Neu said this summer has been very productive.

Neu said all the athletes work out together by design.

“It’s going good,” Neu said. “They worked pretty hard this week. We had pretty good numbers with about 42 kids. We feel like it’s important for each group, boys and girls, to see each other work and kind of support each other because they don’t always get to do that all year long. We feel like it’s important to see the other ones and hopefully motivate each other.”

The two main high school sports the Hornets and Lady Hornets are preparing for are football and cross country.

Neu said the workouts serve as a lesson in discipline and the kids have responded to the challenge.

“It helps them get ready for the upcoming season with being in shape,” Neu said. “We want to start ours a little bit later just to kind of give them a little bit of a break. Our weight room is always open, so several kids have come up and lifted.”

As the girls head basketball coach, Neu said he can tell his team is fired up to work out this summer to have a successful season. Last season ended a game short of the state tournament at the hands of Martin’s Mill, which has defeated the Lady Hornets the previous three seasons in the playoffs.

“They’re very motivated basketball girls,” Neu said. “The track girls are also very motivated. I think they have some high expectations this year. Once they start getting in better shape, then we start doing a little bit more basketball, but we start out with the basic fundamentals and things like that.”

Neu said the message to his athletes is simple.

“You tell them to get better every day and that’s what we preached last year,” Neu said. “We’re getting better every day whether it’s on the basketball court or we’re getting a little faster feet. Whatever it is, we want to get a little better every day and constantly remind them that your opponents are working hard today. You can outwork your opponents. That’s kind of the message I always try to get through to them.”