Training the Tar Heels

Marena Simington

It’s 6 a.m., and Marena Simington is in the University of North Carolina gym. She’s greeted by bleary-eyed Tar Heel athletes who are ready for training, lifting, and whatever else Simington has to offer that day.

Simington is part of LVC’s first cohort of students pursuing a master of science in sport performance degree. For the fall semester, she is at UNC’s Chapel Hill campus as a strength and conditioning intern for her clinical placement. Throughout her day, she works with numerous athletes who compete for the Division I powerhouse.

“My coursework, such as learning about testing and assessments, has familiarized me with common protocols used in a gym with athletes,” she said. “Sports psychology has also helped me communicate better with these athletes and understand how each athlete is unique and responds differently.”

Along with her strength and conditioning work, Simington is completing coursework at UNC and attends weekly intern meetings. She is enjoying her time down south and the opportunities it has given her, including working with experienced strength coaches.

Now, nearing her graduation from LVC, Simington is thankful for the ability to advance her career. With preparation through her master’s classes, she recently passed her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam.

“I like LVC’s small class setting and how I can complete my schoolwork at my own pace but still communicate with my professors when I need help,” she said.

Simington will graduate in December and hopes to obtain a position as a strength and conditioning coach in either the collegiate or private sector setting, a dream that has driven her throughout her education.


Darby Seymour, Marketing & Communications Intern

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