March 27, 2014
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
A new sport option is gathering a strong following at Madison-Plains.
For the second year, physical education teacher Michael Siders has assembled a power lifting team. This year, they competed in four meets, including the state competition on March 11 where the girls’ squad placed sixth out of 11 teams and the boys placed 13th out of 27 teams.
“This is our second year as a club sport. The first year we had five on the team. This year we had 35. I hope in the future to build it into a varsity sport,” Siders said.
The power lifting team is an outgrowth of two classes Siders teaches at the high school: weight training sports fitness and lifetime fitness. Many of the students who choose to compete in power lifting are students in those classes. Many also play basketball, wrestle or are on the cheerleading squad at the same time.
“We have to work around their winter sports schedules, so we can only do a few meets,” Siders said.
Power lifting competitions come in two formats at the high school level. Some feature two events, bench press and dead lift. Some add a third event, parallel squat. All involve weight loaded on a bar. For bench press, the athlete lies face-up on a bench and lifts the bar from there. For dead lift, they lift the bar from a standing position, off the floor and over their heads. For a parallel squat, they stand with the bar behind their head and on their back, then squat 90 degrees and come back up.
The key with introducing students to a new sport is to take baby steps, Siders said.
“We start with technique. As they get stronger, they challenge themselves with a little more weight,” he said. “It’s a sport where they have personal records and meet records to work for.”
Madison-Plains’ individual state meet results for the girls are as follows: Savanna Nelson, third place; Ashlyn Nicoles, fourth (with the highest dead lift in her weight class at 220 pounds); Addison Davidson, seventh; Hailey Matheny, 12th; and Kylee Davis, 13th.
Individual state meet results for the boys are: Jeremy Culp, 10th place; Connor Cooley, 11th; Luke Betz, 12th; Jake Datz, 12th (after placing fourth in the state wrestling tournament the week before); Lee Griffin, 14th; and Joey Datz, 18th. Dylan Voltz and Travis Chaffin served as coaching assistants due to injuries.
“The efforts these kids put into the meet was outstanding knowing how busy their winter athletic schedule has been,” Siders said, adding that the athletes’ parents have been especially supportive.