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Link: Female athletes unite for grueling workouts, form lasting loyalties

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UK Athletics may be in the middle of the offseason, but that doesn't mean its athletes aren't working hard to prepare themselves for next year. If anything, Wildcats from the women's basketball, softball, women's tennis, women's soccer, volleyball and gymnastics teams are working harder than they do during the season.

Kentucky strength and conditioning coach Stephanie Tracey-Simmons is putting athletes through each of those teams through an intense set of summer workouts. The workouts are designed to build strength, endurance and confidence for the upcoming season, but they also have effect of unifying teammates and creating bonds across sports. Jen Smith from the Lexington Herald-Leader has the story:

The UK strength and conditioning coach says it's not her mission to make athletes miserable. She wants to make them tougher and stronger, more confident.

"I always tell the basketball players, 'You guys hate me now, but you're going to love me in March,'" Simmons says.

By the time basketball season rolls around and the season starts in November, Simmons is sure of one thing. "They will have the confidence that they can run anyone in the country down and wear them out."

There's a competitive portion to the summer workouts. At the end of it, each sport's coach is provided with a chart of how each player finished, not only individually, but also against players from the other participating sports.

"It's a big competition at the end of the summer to see whose team performed the best," says Bria Goss, a sophomore guard on the basketball team. "Also, individually you're competing against other sports. We all push each other and get better."

Tracey-Simmons, named Master Strength and Conditioning Coach just last month, has played a major role in the development of UK's women's programs over the past nine seasons. Check out Smith's complete article for a few of the reasons why.

Link: Female athletes unite for grueling workouts, form lasting loyalties

Also, take a look at the Herald-Leader's photo gallery from the offseason workouts.

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