Weights brings programs together

Charles Whisnand

Dr. Michael Fischer has made sure that Carson City swimmers have had access to weight training equipment that he never had the chance to use when he was an athlete.

Now due to the continued support of the community, not only local swimmers will be able to use the equipment but other Carson High athletes will be able to use it as well.

Two of Carson's most successful athletic franchises - its swimming and baseball programs - have come together to continue to provide Dr. Fischer's weight equipment for its athletes. It's likely that athletes from other programs will be using the equipment as well.

Over the years, Carson Tigershark swimmers have been able to use the weight equipment purchased by Dr. Fischer, a local eye surgeon, at his building on North Carson Street in Carson City. But with a new business moving into Fischer's building, there was no longer room for the weight equipment to be stored there.

Enter Carson High's baseball program. Julius and Joanne Ballardini have allowed the Carson High baseball and softball programs to use their facility on Highway 50 East. Carson High athletic director and baseball coach Ron McNutt said he was approached by Dan Costella, who currently has two children swimming in college - Lauren at Stanford and Ryan at Villanova - who have gone through the Tigersharks program, about moving the weight equipment to the Highway 50 facility.

The end result is the weight equipment is now at the Highway 50 facility. McNutt is currently running a winter training program in which his baseball players players are using the equipment. Tigershark and Carson High swimmers will also continue to be able to use the equipment.

Another one of Costella's children, Kiel, who is a swimmer, is now using the equipment as part of McNutt's class.

"It is being used on a daily basis really," McNutt said. "We're just hoping it's going to help our program and our kids get a little stronger before the season comes up. It can only make them better."

It's fitting that athletes from two of Carson High's most succesful programs that have won numerous state titles can now use equipment made possible by the community at the same facility.

McNutt said he's also appreciated the support of the Tigersharks. "They've been good to us," he said. "We have a lot of wonderful people in our community.

"When there's a need, they've stepped up. I know they've helped our baseball team over the years tremendously."

Dr. Fischer said he wanted athletes to have access to equipment that would have otherwise only been available at a fitness center.

"As an athlete I wish I would have had access to these kinds of weights," said Fischer, who has had children go through the Tigersharks and swim in college and now has a son, Evan, swimming for the University of Tennessee.

Included in the equipment are 13 Nautilus machines and free weights. "Enough can't be said about Fischer," Tigershark coach Jim Puleo said.

Puleo became the Tigersharks' coach in 2001 and he said it was because of Fischer and Bruce Scott, who was the Tigersharks' president at the time. "Those two guys sold me to come over here," Puleo said.

If the equipment donated by Fischer had to be purchased new, Puleo estimated it would cost $50,000. "It's equipment that would make a lot of junior colleges envious," Puleo said.


Many Carson Country players should again play a prominent role with Northern California community college baseball teams this season. Among them should be Neil Holmes, a four-year varsity player and starting outfielder for Carson High last year.

Holmes was the starting shortstop for Yuba College during the fall and is set to be Yuba's starting shortstop this season. Other Carson Country players for Yuba include Galena High's Jason Romero, another freshman, who is a second baseman. Yuba will open the season Feb. 6 against Chabot.

Several Carson Country players were on Feather River's fall roster. They included Carson graduate Tim Priess, a sophomore pitcher, Douglas High graduate Tom Hoyle, a freshman pitcher, Galena's Rich Cummins, a freshman pitcher, freshman infielders Cal Lewis of Douglas and Jon Teeter of Carson, and sophomore infielder Tyer Selden of Fernley. Feather River advanced to the state Final Four last year.


It's not uncommon for many prominent athletes to have a residence in the Tahoe area and now the region has a tie to Sunday's Super Bowl when the Carolina Panthers face the New England Patriots. Panther offensive lineman Todd Steussie has a residence in Glenbrook.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at cwhisnand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214.


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