After American Fork lost last year’s 5A championship game to Lone Peak, coach Doug Meacham said there was a feeling that his team just wasn’t mentally and physically tough enough to compete with Lone Peak.
He and his players took significant steps to get tougher throughout the offseason, and Meacham believes that toughness was on display in the 63-40 first-round victory over West.
“Our whole goal was to get the loose balls in the state tournament. Sometimes games are called a little bit differently in the state tournament, and you have to be physically and mentally tough to deal with that. That can be a good thing if you use it as an advantage,” said Meacham.
American Fork outrebounded West 20-19 and finished with 14 steals. Perhaps more significantly was that the tougher Cavemen outscored West 36-14 in the paint.
Mentally, they looked sharp throughout.
“I think the biggest factor it’s helped with is keeping our mind in the game and staying mentally strong,” said Quincy Bair.
That toughness is a big reason why American Fork improved to 19-2 with the victory, and why it earned a share of the Region 4 title this year.
The offseason regime that toughened up the Cavemen is pretty unique. Meacham and his wife converted their barn in Cedar Ridge into a cross fit gym, and called it CrossFit Cedar Ridge.
Throughout the summer American Fork’s players were throwing around kettle bells, lifting tires, doing pull-ups and pushups. Meacham said it was, “old school hard work to build strength and toughness.”
“I went and got certified in cross fit training and incorporated the training into our guys’ offseason and have I noticed great improvement in our guys’ confidence,” said Meacham.
The next step for American Fork is to maintain that toughness against teams that will surely put up more of a fight than West did.