New Strength & Conditioning Program On Tap In Natick

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
March, 2020
Article Body: 

The Natick Summer Strength and Conditioning Program, formerly known as “Tough Camp,’’ will provide students and athletes with an opportunity to enhance their athletic abilities through the summer months. During the program, athletes will be tested both physically and mentally by Olympic lifting movements, strength-based lifts, flexibility exercises, and sport-specific agility and conditioning protocols.
The program will run from June 29 through Aug. 13.
Available to students in Grades 6-12, each 1½ hour session will provide 45 minutes of a specifically designed running regiment followed by 45 minutes of weightlifting. Each athlete will work out four times a week (Monday-Thursday), and the camp is staffed by four former collegiate athletes and current Natick High School staff members. Throughout the program, the emphasis will be placed on efficient running mechanics, proper lifting technique, weight-room safety, and methods for injury prevention.
“This new program is an expansion of Tough Camp,’’ said Nick DiAntonio, who’ll direct the summer activity. “It will attract students and athletes who may not have participated before and it will provide athletes with a complete weightlifting and running program throughout the summer. Tough Camp was three days a week and was only open to high school students and athletes.’’
Athletes can register for one of the available sessions throughout the summer. The sessions include: 6:30 am-8 am — football (Grades 10-12) and high school early birds (those with work commitments); 8 am-9:30 am — high school girls and incoming freshman girls (Grades 9-12); 9:30 am-11am — high school boys and incoming freshman boys (Grades 9-12); and 11 am-12:30 pm — middle school boys and girls (Grades 6-8).
“Any participant, whether a sixth-grader or the starting quarterback on the varsity, will get the same quality workout every day,’’ DiAntonio emphasized.
The cost of the program is $160 if registration is completed before May 1, and if registration occurs after May 1, the cost is $175.
“Our strength and conditioning program is open to all students, those who play competitive sports and those who don’t but want to improve or maintain their overall health and well-being,’’ said DiAntonio. “We welcome any and all students (Grades 6-12) in the Natick community who want to challenge themselves physically and mentally.’’
Each running workout, held on the grass field next to the NHS staff parking lot, will consist of a warm-up; agility drills involving ladders, cones and hurdles; medicine ball movements for functional and rotational strength; and assorted conditioning drills (such as a 1½ mile run, Australian ladder or flying 40s).
Each weight room workout, held in the fitness center and a secondary weight room in the NHS gymnasium for the summer, will consist of a weight room warm-up that includes functional body-weight movements; Olympic lifting movements (clean, jerk, Romanian dead lift, front squat); strength-based movements (bench press, back squat, deadlift); and auxiliary movements for injury prevention (single leg movements, single arm movements, and joint-stability exercises).
The program’s coaches include:

*Nick DiAntonio is a 2008 graduate of Milford High School, a 2012 graduate of Assumption College, and a 2014 graduate of The Lynch School of Education at Boston College where he earned his master’s degree in education. DiAntonio was inducted into the Massachusetts Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016, and the Milford High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. During his senior year at Assumption, he was named the 2012 Northeast-10 Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. DiAntonio is a mathematics teacher at Natick High and is the defensive coordinator for the football team.

*Mike Russo is a 2008 graduate of Natick High, where he lettered in football, track, and baseball. He attended Endicott College in Beverly from 2008-2012 where he graduated with a degree in history. He lettered in baseball during all four years with the Gulls and was named captain his senior year. Russo is a history teacher at Natick High. He’s the head coach of the Natick girls outdoor track team and serves as an assistant for both the boys and girls indoor track teams.

*Garry Coles is a 2007 graduate of Southington High School, in Southington, Conn., where he lettered in football, basketball, and track and was also team captain for football and track. He attended Sacred Heart University from 2008-2012 where he graduated with a degree in criminal justice. He lettered in football all four years during his time with the Pioneers, and was named first team All-NEC and Male Rookie of the Year as a freshman. Coles is a paraprofessional at Natick High School, and is working towards becoming a special education teacher. He’s an assistant coach in football and also for the boys and girls track teams.
*Tori Zamarra attended The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester from 2014- 2018 where she graduated with a degree in Mathematics. She was a four-year member and senior captain of the women’s track and field team, competing in the 100-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles. Zamarra is a mathematics teacher at Natick High. She’s serves as an assistant coach for Natick’s girls cross-country team and the girls track squads.
The following individuals will be available when any of the head coaches are absent: Mark Mortarelli, Natick High varsity head football coach; Tom Lamb, Natick varsity football; Matt Brenneman, Natick varsity football, outdoor track; Mike Caulfield, Natick freshman football, Natick baseball; Brian Linton, Natick varsity football, Natick wrestling; Paul Ghilani, Natick varsity football; Steve Peckham, Natick varsity football, Natick basketball, Natick lacrosse; and Mike Masto, Natick varsity basketball; USAW Level 1 Sport’s Performance Coach.
“After working at an identical program at Franklin High, I’ve seen the impact it can have on one’s athletic development,’’ DiAntonio said. “I hope we can emulate Franklin’s success in Natick.’’
If there are any questions, contact DiAntonio by email at [email protected] and the program can be followed on twitter — @Natickstrength. Registration can be completed by visiting the program’s websites: and