Strength coach serves on advisory board

Gust’s dedication helps others


Used with permission from Jessica Gust. Science teacher and strength and conditioning head coach Jessica Gust poses in the weight room Feb. 22. Gust was nominated to serve on the advisory board for the National High School Strength Coaches Association.

Katie Nelson

As countless athletes pass through Park’s weight room, strength and conditioning coach Jessica Gust hopes the space can be a second home for them. Her passion and prior achievements led her to accept a position on the MN state advisory board for the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA).

According to Gust, for the past 5 years, the organization has focused on bringing resources and support for strength coaches and their athletes across the nation. 

“We’re trying to put together events to help continue education and development of coaches,”  Gust said. “Oftentimes, strength coaches feel they’re working on an island, so we just want to facilitate a family of strength coaches in Minnesota.” 

According to assistant strength coach Alex Polk, Gust’s knowledge of the program makes her an excellent choice to be a part of the board. Her leadership and expertise in the strength program has been inspiring to athletes and fellow coaches alike. 

“She knows her craft inside and out and is able to pick the right things for the right purpose,“ Polk said.

Gust hopes to empower other women in a profession often dominated by men. For sophomore Rachel Katzovitz, having a female coach in the weight room has driven her to continue training . 

“It’s a little scary knowing that you’re in a room being one of the only girls, but coach Gust has helped me to stay motivated and not care what others think,” Katzovitz said.  

As a member of the board, Gust is looking forward to supporting other strength and conditioning programs. 

“Every athlete deserves time in the weight room if they want to use it, we want to create spaces that the kids really love and appreciate and have the space be a reflection of how the district values the kids as athletes,” Gust said. 

She knows her craft inside and out and is able to pick the right things for the right purpose”

— Alex Polk

Implementing ideas used in Park’s weight room is something Polk believes would be beneficial to other strength programs.  

“Coach Gust makes sure that people know the why and the how, her focus on progression and purpose is something that I wish more programs had,” Polk said. 

Katzovitz believes Gust’s positivity and dedication will continue to help others as she serves on the advisory board. 

“Her passion is what makes her such a good coach,” Katzovitz said.  “She really cares about the athletes and that energy flows over to people and makes them more excited.”