Source: Sherman Publications

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Lake Orion Powerlifters show their power, skill

March 14, 2012

Junior April McNeil lift s a weight as judges watch on. McNeil placed fifth in her weight class. Photo by O. Shumaker
By Olivia Shumaker

Review Intern

On Friday, March 9, and Saturday, March 10, the Dragon powerlifters did their best to make Lake Orion proud at the state power-liftng meet.

Lake Orion High School hosted around 40 girls' teams and at least 55 boys teams, including Croswell-Lexington, Edwardsburgh, Troy Athens and Whitmore Lake, all in the high school gym. All told, the Lady Dragons took fifth place overall—three points away from third place—and the boys varsity team took fourth overall.

"Everyone's improved from the beginning of the year to the end," said boys' coach Jason Larsen. "If you're improving, you're winning."

The Boys and girls train four days a week, boys before school and girls afterward, using upper and lower body workouts. Training season begins in November for girls; for boys it begins after football season has ended.

Both teams had the opportunity to attend several regional qualifier meets throughout January and February. To qualify for the state meet, lifters had to place first, second, or third in their weight class (the group they lift with based on how much they weigh) or lift a minimum combined weight for their individual weight class. All told, 16 boys qualified for states—14 from varsity, two on junior varsity—and six girls qualified.

"When we start up next year, it would be great to have girls come in and give it a try," said girls' coach Jojo Mishak.

At the meet, lifters are divided into weight classes assigned to a station where they stay for the duration of the meet. At each station, lifters had to perform three different types of lift: squats, bench, and deadlift, with three tries at each lift and three judges deciding if each lift was successful. If they complete a lift, lifters can choose to increase the weight of their next lift, to gain more points in an attempt to individually place and to try to gain more points for their team. An attempt to break a state record lift would require three state judges at the station.

All told, the meet required three shifts of around 130 volunteers to run, including judges, loaders to prepare each lift, and station workers to record lifts.

With around 164 girls and around 383 boys attending, the Dragons certainly had their fair share of competition. In the end, with all six girls placing in the top ten of their weight class and five boys in the top ten of their weight classes, the Dragons certainly held their own.

"We're showing off our town, our school, how our kids act, and we're proud of that," said coach Eric Jennings. "Our boys did a great job representing that. The girls also did a great job."