When Lacey Clark hears her alarm on an early summer morning, her first thought is: "I just want one more hour of sleep."
But she won't hit the snooze button. The rising senior at Bettendorf High School thinks about her softball teammates — some are texting "Are you awake?" and some are waiting to carpool — and she gets up.
By 7:30 a.m., they're in the weight room. And by 9 a.m., Clark and roughly 200 other Bettendorf High School students already have finished their voluntary workouts. Whether they're new to high school or seniors, on the varsity football team or not on a team, they're together — thanks to the school's summer fitness program.
"You don't go that extra mile when you're alone," Clark said. "If you have people with you, you'll do one more hill, one more bleacher run, one more set."
That's the goal of the workouts held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 6 to July 21, said Robbie Furne, who coaches football and golf at Bettendorf High School.
"Some students are new to the concept of working out, and others have been athletes all their lives," Furne said. "No one is forced to be here, but they show up anyway."
On the Fourth of July, about 70 students arrived for a 6:30 a.m. workout.
"That's real dedication," Furne said.
The sessions, separated by ages and gender, focus on conditioning, agility, weight-training and flexibility. For some athletes, it's a chance to tune up for fall sports, which kick off in early August.
"It's a more structured environment," Furne said. "You're working harder than you would at some community gym on your own."
The program, with a $50 fee, dates back to the 1970s. Furne remembers using it as tune-up for his own football and wrestling seasons at Bettendorf.
"I enjoyed it, because it gave me a schedule," he said. "I wasn't sleeping until noon, and I was more ready for the school year."
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The program has continued, and grown, over the years.
"The kids really buy into it," said Caleb Claus, who starts his first year teaching and coaching football at Bettendorf High School next month. "Students aren't just lifting for a few minutes and leaving, but they are setting goals, getting quicker and improving — there's a lot that goes into it."
For Sarah Rogers, a soon-to-be freshman, the fitness program is her first glimpse into high school.
"I'm a little bit nervous about it, because everything is so new," Rogers, who is eyeing the volleyball and softball teams, said. "It's good to get in shape, meet some people and be around the older athletes."
And according to Mike Hayward, the school's new full-time strength and conditioning coach, it doesn't hurt to start early.
"If you take three months completely off, you lose your strength and cardio, and you have to build all that back," he said. "So I hope that we're setting it up so it's not just for their sport right now, but a lifelong thing."
That's what Clark hopes, too. She can't imagine going many days without training alongside her teammates.
"They push you go further and encourage you," she said. "It's the best motivation."
After a recent round of early morning exercise, Clark said she was "tired in a different way."
And, the wake-up call was worth it.
"Some days you just want to sleep in, but you fight through that," she said. "But I feel like I've completed something, and I feel accomplished and can walk away saying, 'go me.'"