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By Marlys Kruger
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many powerlifting teams around the state of Wisconsin chose not to compete. Many teams, who did choose to have a team, saw lower participants then usual. But, approximately 45 lifters, along with their coach Aaron Maves from Elk Mound high school decided they would like to participate this year, whether it be virtual or in person.
The number of athletes is down by about 20 this year for the Mounders, partly because some did not want to deal with all the stipulations and strict safety guidelines set out for practice times and competitions, and because the Wisconsin High School Powerlifting Association, the governing body for high school lifters, decided last fall they would not have a state meet this year. That meant teams would have to find a meet somewhere that would allow them to qualify for the national tournament.
“Our administration has been very supportive of figuring out ways to run practices and host meets to give our kids great opportunities to compete,” Maves said. “We have had to get creative to abide by social distancing guidelines but our coaching staff, working with our administration, has really come together and developed some great strategies to do that,” he added.
The Mounders started their season by hosting a meet in December, which was a virtual meet against Osceola. Elk Mound competitors were in their own gym while the Osceola team was in their own weight room.
“We were the first in our region to try this virtual format,” Maves said. “It went very well. The kids were great and we were able to watch each other via live stream.”
In January, Elk Mound hosted their first ever USA Powerlifting sanctioned meet. This was held for kids wanting to qualify for the High School National meet.
“In order to qualify this year the kids needed to get a total in a USAPL sanctioned meet,” Maves explained. “Lifters compete individually to build a total weight sum. They have three attempts at each of the back squat, bench press and deadlifts for nine total attempts. The best attempt of each of the three are added together for a total score. There was one lifter from Osceola, three from New Richmond and 22 from Elk Mound who all qualified for nationals by their total score.”
Also in January, the Mounders hosted around 60 lifters from New Richmond for a meet. Again, they had to get creative to comply with the social distancing requirements and spectators were not allowed to watch.
Elk Mound hosted their last meet March 6 with 16 lifters from Cameron and seven from St. Croix Falls participating. Due to the lower number of competitors they were allowed to have spectators so family and friends were able to show their support before the national competition.
This year’s national meet will be held in Aurora, Colorado and has been moved from its usual March date which would not interfere with spring sports to the end of May. Because of the date change, some of the qualifiers will not compete in the meet because of other commitments.
“Some of them are seniors and will have graduated, and even though they are still eligible, they may not want to come back. And spring sports will probably limit a few more for preparing for the meet,” Maves said. “But, we are optimistic about our team numbers and will be lifting hard to prepare for it,” he concluded.
Mounders who qualified for the national meet include:
Seniors – Abby Wiberg, Alyse Egan, Bailey Gilbertson, Blake Burlingame, Emma Gillespie, Gabriel Moschkau, Major Gunderson-Morris, Nanya Kue, Oscar Wald, and Reese Brunner
Juniors – Ariana Pinder, Devin Balts, Kara Edington,Keagan Lemler, Kyah Fischer, Mercedes Hay, Morgyn Hallum, and Isabella Harmer
Sophomores – Abigail Murphy, Caleb Mathison, and Teagan Pahl
Freshman – Dayne Laney