January 22, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
K-State student-athletes now have the opportunity to dine like never before with the opening of the much-anticipated Ahearn Fund Student-Athlete Performance Table at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Located in the stadium's new West Stadium Center, the Performance Table celebrated its grand opening last night for K-State's 450 student-athletes.
"The food is amazing - the variety, how much they have and how healthy it is for you, it's so good," football's Glenn Gronkowski said after his meal. "I've been trying to put on weight for a while now, so having this much food, this much good food, it will definitely help a lot. You just want to keep eating as much as you can until you're absolutely full."
From steak to salmon to hamburgers to pasta and salad bars, every night will feature new, different food for each and every K-State student-athlete to enjoy.
Before last night, not all student-athletes had the opportunity to eat dinner together. Full scholarship athletes would eat at K-State's Derby Dining Center, but there wasn't always an option for those who were partial scholarship receivers or walk-ons.
"There's such a wide variety of food and there are so many options," baseball's Ross Kivett explained. "I think for us as partial scholarship, it's awesome that John Currie opened it up to all of us. Our guys that are in the weight gain club should do a better job now of gaining weight, and the guys that need to lose weight, they'll be able to work with the nutritionist and get set up."
Kivett said having the opportunity to eat with teammates as well as student-athletes from every other Wildcat athletics team was his favorite thing about the new facility.
"We can build a little bit of a team unity here," he said. "It's hard to have dinners when you're stopping at Applebee's, Longhorns, wherever, but when you're all in the same place it's easier to bond off the field. We're all over here telling stories and hanging out with some of the other athletes too."
The Performance Table will offer each student-athlete a healthy, nutritious variety of food to choose from, enhancing each athlete in one of K-State's 16 different athletic program's unique nutritional demands.
The food ready and available is prepared by Executive Chef Michael Moyes and his staff of nearly a dozen workers, while Scott Trausch, K-State Athletics Sports Nutritionist, stays on hand ready to help educate student-athletes about the power of the food they have the opportunity to consume.
Trausch helps educate the student-athletes so they know which foods to choose from when selecting their high-quality meals and was the mind behind the Performance Table's menus.
"What we're trying to teach the athletes is, it's not about how it's always got to be a certain food, but it's about how your plate looks. What do you always want to have on your plate?," Trausch said. "We can get that done here, teach them a little bit about nutrition not only while they're here doing competition but something they can take with them when they leave."
Built around the three-tier meal builder philosophy, Trausch set up a system for student-athletes to follow when choosing how to put together the perfect plate.
"Step one is fruits and vegetables, you want to keep the immune system up so they're not getting sick," Trausch said about the system. "Step two for us is carbohydrates. They alter their carbohydrate intake relative to what they're doing from a workout standpoint. The carbohydrates they offer here are great, a lot of healthy, whole foods. Step three for us is lean protein, building body mass, muscle growth, muscle repair."
The system, which Trausch has laid out with color coding (green means all you can eat, yellow means eat in moderation while red means eat only a little) helped student-athletes last night in realizing the importance of what they need to be eating to perform at their best.
"My favorite part is the coding that they have so you know how much to eat of each different thing, that helps a lot," Equestrian's Tori Bentley said. "It will definitely help us stay nutritious for workouts. It's been really hard to live in a dorm and try to eat the right things, so eating here is definitely a better way to fuel my body so that I'm ready for workouts tomorrow morning."
The Performance Table will be open to student-athletes from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
"I think I'm going to benefit from it just because I'll be eating more nutritious food and I won't have to rush home and maybe just grab a box of cereal at night," Rowing's Aly Bronder said. "I'll actually be able to refuel for the next day, and that'll definitely be able to help our performance and help us compete at the best level we can be at."
At the end of the evening, Chef Moyes was pleased with the Performance Table's opening day and said he received nothing but positive feedback from the student-athletes and coaches.
"Interacting with the Athletics Department staff and also the student-athletes, everybody's been positive and really looking forward to it, it's something that's a real selling point to our university for sure," Moyes said. "We want to educate them too as to how to cook well for themselves in the future because you get a lot of your eating habits in college."
The performance table also offers student-athletes the opportunity to cheer on their teammates who are on the road competing. Every game or meet televised or featured on K-StateHD.TV will air throughout the facility giving K-State student-athletes the opportunity to watch the games and events together.
Last night nearly 150 student-athletes cheered on the K-State men's basketball team together, and despite the Wildcats falling to the Texas Longhorns 67-64 in Austin, Texas, on a buzzer beater Texas three-pointer, tonight the student-athletes will have the chance to cheer on the women's basketball team from the Performance Table as the Wildcats will take on Baylor at 7 p.m. in Waco, Texas.
For more information on last night's K-State men's basketball game, click here, or for more information about the women's game tonight, click here.
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