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Small College, Big Results: Jones College Awarded Grant for New Hammer Strength Equipment

For years, the gritty 1,800-square-foot weight room at Jones College got the job done, but it was hardly a thing of beauty. The Bobcats trained on aging squat racks and freestanding Olympic stands that weren’t built by any well-known equipment supplier, but welded together more than a decade ago by Jones College industrial arts students. The athletes at the junior college in Ellisville, Mississippi trained on worn platforms and had to navigate around weight plates stacked on the floor.

“Our weight room was an old team meeting room,” said David Queck, Director of Strength and Conditioning at Jones College. “The equipment that we had was made by students here, well before I got here. They held up to this point, barely.”

The rough shape of the Jones College weight room, and the fact that Queck has found success despite not having some essential equipment made the school an ideal candidate for the first Life Fitness/Hammer Strength Equipment Grant through the NSCA Foundation. The grant was awarded to one small college in 2022 and provided an equipment package valued at $10,000. Jones College claimed the grant and received an equipment package that included three Hammer Strength HD Athletic NX Racks, which were installed in summer 2022.

“I had four or five people text me and say ‘you have to apply for this grant’,” explained Queck. “When I filled (out the application) I thought ‘I don’t know if they’re actually going to believe the things that I’m writing down.’ For what we’re able to produce out of Jones College, you would think that we trained in the same place as a Michigan or Ohio State or place like that. We’re a very successful program with a lot of athletes (who go on to) four-year schools, big four-year schools.”

The Jones College weight room is a place where the Bobcats put in plenty of hard work. That sweat-stained effort has paid off in the form of 5 NJCAA championships, 30 region championships and 85 Mississippi Association of Community College Conference (MACCC) championships.

“As small as (the weight room) is, it’s a very busy place. On any given day there can be 100 athletes that come through here,” added Queck. “The racks are going to be huge. It’s real, professional equipment. I’m going to add a ton of different exercises that I haven’t been able to do.”

The Hammer Strength equipment install will make a big difference at Jones College. And future grants will provide elite-level strength training possibilities to other deserving schools.

“I’m happy that Hammer Strength and the NSCA saw a need in the junior college system,” said Queck. “It was awesome to see junior colleges being thought of in that way. We’re just super grateful.”