[KHTS] – They sprinted across the field with someone on their back in a fireman’s lift. Others ran the same distance carrying to ammunition cans. Drill instructors shouted at them to keep moving.
These weren’t soldiers. These were the West Ranch High School baseball and softball players.
For a week at the end of July and beginning of August, baseball Coach Casey Burrill and Gloria Mercado-Fortine, a Hart School District board member, participated in the United States Marine Corps’ Educators Workshop. The week-long boot camp experience at Camp Pendleton and Air Station Miramar in San Diego inspired Burrill to bring that same experience back to his baseball team in Santa Clarita.
Burrill said he noticed that many qualities encouraged during the workshop, like dedication and teamwork, apply to sports as well as the military.
On Tuesday afternoon, the West Ranch baseball and softball teams gathered on the field, where several Marines would lead them through three boot camp exercises: “maneuver under fire,” the 880 yard sprint and 100 ammunition can lifts.
Staff Sgt. Edwin Salvatierra said more than just physical fitness, they tried to “incorporate intangible things,” like leadership, discipline and teamwork.
“This is such a great experience for young people,” said College of the Canyons Board Member Bruce Fortine, who also went through the Educators Workshop and attended Tuesday’s event with Mercado-Fortine.
Baseball player Brad Boleck, after completing the “maneuver under fire,” said he was surprised by how difficult the exercises were.
The “maneuver under fire” involves sprinting, crawling, carrying a teammate in a fireman’s lift across a field and then running the same length of the field carrying two ammunition cans.
“(It was) definitely really straining on lungs and legs,” Boleck said. “(It was) difficult to run with ammo cans after carrying someone. I thought it was going to be a lot easier.”
Capt. Morgan Servera said that this training is something that the Marines typically do with football teams.
But as Burrill said, the principles apply to any sports team.
“They love the challenge,” Salvatierra said,” because they’ve never been challenged like that before.”