The Rangers of Regis University
This Ladies Basketball Team has found the BFS Program to be an invaluable asset
By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Summer 2003
How’s this for a coaching job? Your team has an uncommon work ethic. They love the game of basketball. They have an uncommon passion for excellence. They win twenty plus games a year, win their conference and make it to the NCAA tournament. Finally, their team GPA average is 3.6 plus and everyone is on-line not just to graduate but also to graduate with honors.
A dream job? Head basketball coach Linda Raunig thinks so. She has developed her Regis University Rangers women’s basketball team into a formidable power. Coach Raunig has been at the helm since the 1990-91 season. However, mediocrity prevailed in her first eight seasons: 110-102 overall record and a 56-60 conference record. It was at this point something happened.
“I thought we needed a change,” remembered Raunig. “Bob Bozied (A BFS Clinician) gave me the BFS Program. I love the way he coaches. He was so motivational. Bob did a BFS Clinic for us and would come back on his own and continue to help us with technique.
“As I began to see results and understand the program better, we got more and more excited. We purchased the BFS equipment so we could do it right.”
The results speak for themselves. The last five years since the BFS Program was implemented, the Regis Rangers have posted an 89-46 overall record that also includes a sparkling 76-29 conference record.
“We set a school record this past year in wins with a 23-8 performance,” says Raunig. “Our 16-3 conference mark was also a record. Winning our conference gave us an 8th seed in the NCAA Division II tournament. That was our second year in a row to make the tournament. We lost to eventual national champions South Dakota State.
“Our program is now at a completely different level as compared to five years ago. Every basketball player in high school should do the BFS Program but it seems like 95% of the girls I recruit have little or no background in lifting. I just think how much better the high schools could be if they were to get serious about strength and conditioning.”
Regis University, a Jesuit school, was founded in 1877 and currently has 1,200 undergraduate students. Located in the mile high city of Denver, Colorado, Regis plays in the tough NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Regis faculty is distinguished with 92% having earned doctorates or the highest degree in their respective field. U.S. News & World Report regularly ranks Regis as a top school in the West and recently earned the #25 spot out of 573 universities. Regis also boasts a beautiful 2,500-seat fieldhouse that, among many amenities, has a varsity-only weight room and a spacious conference room for its 11 varsity sports.
Point Guard Julie Jestus is one of the many individual success stories. Says Coach Raunig, “Julie was quite a site at first in the weight room. She could only last 10 minutes in a game but by her senior year she averaged 35 minutes a game. Julie was named our conference tournament MVP. She was also our leading scorer and led the conference in assists.
“Keely O’Dell, a junior last season, could only Bench 70, Squat 135 and Clean 95 pounds as a freshman. Now she can Bench 145, Squat 245 and Clean 130 pounds. Keely led our team in free throw attempts and was a 74% free throw shooter with an 11-point scoring average.
“Rachel Caliga led our team in field goal percentage (58%). She was our starting post player at only 5-10 but she was so strong that people could not move her. Another one of our transfers is Kristina Vengryte from Lithuania. She is 6-2 and will play a vital role on next year’s team.”
Says Kristina, “I like lifting weights. I don’t think it makes you unfeminine at all. I disagree that weights are for men only. For me, it has made me stronger and not with too much muscle. I break records every workout and I think I take care of my body very well.” Kristina takes vitamins and drinks water all the time. She never drinks sodas and eats a lot of salads that also have a meat of some kind.
Rachel believes that the issue of women lifting is not relevant these days. Julie Jestus concurs, “I’m not too concerned. It’s accepted by athletes and non-athletes.”
Rachel just laughed, “Sometimes it’s more fun to be stronger than the guys.” Julie remembered that because of her lack of experience that she was a little intimidated by lifting at first but after the first week that all ended. The opposite was true of Rachel as she grew up with free weights.
Everyone on the team loves breaking personal records at such a rapid pace. Julie says that it gives you more incentive and you just know you are going to break some records every workout. She likes seeing results every week. Rachel says, “Oh yeah, I broke at least eight records every week.” Rachel’s favorite lift is the Hex Bar Lift with the Towel Bench a close second while Julie’s is the Parallel Squat. Julie Benches 120, Squats 165 and Cleans 100 pounds while Rachel Benches 185, Squats 235 and Cleans 135 pounds. Julie has a 26-inch vertical jump and Rachel’s is 19 inches.
Julie feels her work in strength and conditioning has helped her greatly. “It’s helped me with my speed and not getting knocked around. I can also play a lot longer now.”
Rachel is also very positive. “I was probably the slowest on the team when I came to Regis but now I can keep up with anyone. Also, I can box out much taller girls.”
After graduation Julie might try to play in Europe and then go into landscape design. She has a lot of possibilities because of her 3.9 GPA. Rachel is a marketing major. Her plans include the possibility of a sports marketing career or trying her hand at coaching. She should graduate with a 3.7 GPA.
Julie counsels high school athletes to be disciplined and to break your records every time. Rachel gives this advice, “Don’t let frustration get the better of you. Keep pushing. If you can lift as a team that’s what you want to do. When everyone is cheering for you, it’s a cool feeling.”
It was a cool feeling to be at Regis University. Everyone was a true eleven. A dream interview. Go Rangers!