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Solomon’s Saga

Last week’s column recounted the new developments at the Montgomery Athletic & Community Center and its plans to serve the community’s athletic and healthy lifestyle needs. While on a tour of the facility, athletic director Mike Snyder introduced me to Ryan Solomon, who was hired in July as coordinator of the building’s activities. Solomon was

Last week’s column recounted the new developments at the Montgomery Athletic & Community Center and its plans to serve the community’s athletic and healthy lifestyle needs. While on a tour of the facility, athletic director Mike Snyder introduced me to Ryan Solomon, who was hired in July as coordinator of the building’s activities.

Solomon was a two-time state wrestling champion and a four-time state place winner at Milton where he also played football and baseball. He left high school as the number one ranked 195-pounder in the country. He went on to wrestle at the University of Pittsburgh where he was a four-time NCAA qualifier, graduating in 2018 with a degree in economics.

“His background is quite impressive” Snyder explained. “He possesses the skills that we want to try and instill into our athletes. One of the things we were looking at when we hired someone for this position was that we wanted someone who is obviously going to be organizationally very sound, and could help us take this place to another level in terms of what it can do for the community. But we also wanted someone who was going to be able to interact with all of our sports teams and individuals and is a role model that can show them what it takes to be successful, not only in high school but also in college. That is something that we are trying to do, and Ryan does that every single day.”

For Solomon, the transition from Pittsburgh to Montgomery has been a smooth one.

“I saw the posting for the job and was interested in the potential,” added Solomon. “I had a relationship with Mike Snyder as he was my wrestling coach in high school. I decided to apply for the job and went through the interview process, and things worked out. The things that we are trying to do here are incredible. I was excited to get this opportunity, and know we can do a lot of great things here.

“I like to think of myself as someone other people can look up to. I was the captain of the wrestling team in high school, and also team captain three years at Pitt. I like a leadership role and anything I can do from things I’ve experienced to help our athletes is just awesome. If I can be there to help them, I enjoy that.”

Solomon’s duties are multi-faceted Snyder detailed.

“He works with our athletes and has a lot of control in their practices. He works with all of our sports and will be involved with strength and conditioning, speed, agility, and things that are sports specific. He meets with all our coaches, and together they develop a plan. He then will execute that plan with the individual athletes.

“That is his role with the student-athletes. In terms of the community, Ryan has done an excellent job working on specific weight lifting and stretching plans with our community members. He will be teaching a stretching class called ‘Standing Strong’ that is a basic strength and conditioning program that works on posture, balance, and coordination that will be taught in the morning. He will also be offering a program for younger adults called ‘HIIT’ – high interval intensity training, which will be taught in the evenings.”

“In the short time that he has been here, he has reached out to Evangelical Hospital for them to come here a couple of times a month to do blood pressure screenings, diabetes education, and other health and wellness programs that will benefit the entire community.”

For Solomon, the transition from college student to the working world has gone smoothly.

“The people here at Montgomery have greeted me with open arms. When I came here, the only one I knew was Mike. It is a small-town-feel, but the staff, the coaches, and the teachers are great people. The students, whether they are athletes or not, and the community members that have come in, have all been receptive. In just a few short months the people I get to interact with make me glad I applied for this job.”

“I’ve always been around the weight room and this past spring I had the opportunity to shadow the strength crew at Pitt as they worked with all the other sports, except football. This was a great learning experience for me getting to see how the other teams train and prepare for their seasons, and will be helpful in this position.

“The opportunity to work closely with the various high school coaches is something I really enjoy. During the fall I worked with the football and soccer teams. In preparation for the winter season, I’ve met with the coaches for boys’ and girls’ basketball and wrestling and they’ve been very receptive to the various things we can do to improve their player’s skill and strength levels.”

When asked what he’d say to those not yet aware of what the building has to offer, Solomon was not hesitant in his response.

“This building is called the Montgomery Athletic & Community Center, and I think that is pretty neat. This is truly for the entire community, and if we have those who have not heard of us or been here, I extend this invitation — come on out and see what we have to offer. I’ll be glad to take anyone around for a tour. We want to promote a healthy lifestyle and what we have to offer can help make Montgomery an even closer community than it already is. So far it has been awesome.”

So is the new facility Solomon now calls home.

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