At Ashley Hall, athletics have always been more than just a game. Student athletes become both team and campus leaders, as well as part of a legacy left by a long line of women in sports who have been competing for the School for over a century. To support its athletes on and off the field, this fall Panther Athletics launched a new year-round strength and conditioning program aimed to not only change the way they play, but live.

“Dynamic athletes require dynamic programming,” says Assistant Athletic Director Christian Alcantara. “Now our athletes will be able to work year round to improve their game. This will not only help prevent injuries, build endurance and stamina, but it will also give them more knowledge on how to care for themselves day in and day out.”

Led by Coach Beatrice Puiu, Ashley Hall’s strength and conditioning program offers off-season and pre-season training programs, as well as in-season sessions that compliment regular practice schedules. Puiu will also be at the school during set hours of the week so anyone who is free can go see her for a workout.

With the goal of supporting all Ashley Hall sports teams, Puiu designed the program in a way that allows her to cover all her athletes needs, plus sports-specific needs separately. “The program covers the entire body,” Puiu explains. “The main goal is for each athlete to get stronger, more powerful, and more explosive. Strength training protects your joints from injuries, maintains muscle tissue, and improves overall life quality.”

As strength and conditioning coach, Puiu understands firsthand the science behind the female athlete’s body. A Romanian native, she has competed in international and national Track and Field competitions as well as European Championships and the 2018 Winter Olympics. Over the past 10 years, she’s been awarded 15 national titles with her strongest events in hurdles, high jump, and shot put.

“Now it’s my turn to educate Ashley Hall student athletes,” Puiu says. “My job is to work with anyone who shows up to a training session and share the best habits for the best version of themselves. In my perfect world, this program would be required for all girls. Even if they are not interested in sports, the human body was created to move. The skeleton needs strong, lean muscles. We can work and prevent abnormal positioning of the spine, prevent muscle fatigue, decrease the risk of back pain, increase energy, and increase confidence – correcting your posture can impact the way you feel about yourself!”

Puiu first joined Ashley Hall in 2017 as assistant coach of Panthers Track and Field, and returned to coach the team last year. As both Track and Field coach and strength and conditioning coach, she understands how the new program will support the entire athletics department. “It will take a lot off the coach’s shoulders, explains Puiu. “It helps so they don’t have to spend more time in the weight room and can use that time for the game plan.”

While supporting the coaching staff and giving Ashley Hall athletes an elite advantage through strength training is exciting, that’s only part of the big picture for Coach Bea, as her athletes call her. “Believing, encouraging, educating, and leading our girls into the future is the most exciting thing for me,” she says. It’s lifelong learning and development. We will be surrounded by strong young ladies inside and outside. Strong is beautiful!”