(Posted April 5, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison-Plains High School’s power lifting club is bringing new meaning to the school district’s motto, “MP Strong.”
For the first time in its seven-year history, the club counts among its ranks an overall state champion. In March, junior Conner Jones won the 145-pound class at the 30th Annual Bill McClain Ohio High School State Powerlifting Championships.
Jones lifted a total of 900 pounds—220 in bench press, 295 in deadlift, and 385 in parallel squat. He was one of 23 Madison-Plains power lifters to medal at state. The combined efforts earned the boys’ squad second-place, up from sixth place last year. The girls’ team placed sixth.
“Our ultimate goal is first place at state,” said Head Coach Michael Siders, who also teaches physical education.
The power lifting club is an outgrowth of the weight training sport fitness class Siders instituted at Madison-Plains nine years ago. The class and the club are open to students in grades 10-12.
“The class is not geared toward one sport. It is geared toward every single kid who wants to learn a fitness lifestyle that they will be able to maintain after they graduate,” he said. “Taking kids to competition was the next step, and it really took off.”
Siders started the powerlifting club with four students in 2010. Now, nearly 40 compete in four meets each winter. In addition to in-class instruction and competition, Siders offers after-school weight training. Helping Siders to manage it all are assistant coaches Paul Bryant and Jason Hunt.
The power ifting club is diverse. Some members are already involved in one or more team sports at school. Some have no sports team experience at all. Siders said some of his medalists are students who are competing athletically for the first time.
Junior Logan Toops, a club captain, likes seeing students of varying ages and interests bond. He also likes to see the excitement that success creates.
“When you go to state and do well, it brings the school together,” he said.
Also serving as captains are Jones and junior Ryan Bevington.
“We’ve got a cool thing going here at Madison-Plains,” said Siders.
That cool thing is having an impact beyond school district boundaries. Other area schools are now incorporating weight training fitness classes into their physical education curriculum, he said.
The following Madison-Plains powerlifters medaled in their weight classes at state competition:
Jacob Messer, 12th, 125 lbs.
J.C. Raines, third, top squat, 125 lbs.
Michael George, second, top deadlift, 125 lbs.
Chandler Crites, 11th, 135 lbs.
Logan Pollock, 10th, 135 lbs.
Waylon Dyer, ninth, 135 lbs.
Jonathan Peters, fourth, 135 lbs.
Conner Jones, first, top squat and top bench, 145 lbs.
Jeff Whittman, 11th, 165 lbs.
Ethan Perigo, 12th, 175 lbs.
Isaac Puckett, 10th, 175 lbs.
Chase Kelly, ninth, 175 lbs.
Griffin Jones, seventh, 175 lbs.
Kaleb Stepp, fifth, 175 lbs.
Logan Toops, sixth, 195 lbs.
Ryan Bevington, fifth, 195 lbs.
Tim Gillian, 12th, 225 lbs.
Nate Hill, eighth, 225 lbs.
Jeremy Culp, fourth, 250 lbs.
Rachel Guiette, third overall, 115 lbs.
Bradan Mast, fifth, 135 lbs.
Kennedy Clifton, third, 135 lbs.
Martina Miller, fourth, 175 lbs.