Students Lift their Way to the Top
March 20, 2023
Silence. Everyone in the room takes an apprehensive breath as someone steps on the platform.
Cheering. Friends, family and teammates send forth motivation and support during the lift, telling them to push, to give it their all.
Roaring. The enthusiastic response of a successful lift and empowering experience.
These are the sensations that senior Henry Kopp, sophomore Evan Allen, Nolan McCarthy, junior Sagan Marks and sophomore Jaden Clapsadl experienced at Allentown, PA on Saturday, Feb. 25 after a successful and lengthy day in the PA high school powerlifting state championships.
After nearly twelve hours of lifting, numerous feats of strength and supportive motivation, the powerlifting team came home with six different awards despite having just five lifters.
Kopp, who came home adorned with the title of “Best Overall Lifter” (18-29) and “Raw 264 Champion,” talks about his expectations being blown away.
“I went into the meet not really expecting to win anything, you know, I’ve never stacked myself up against other people…,” Kopp said. ”…the victory was unexpected but it was awesome because this is something I’ve put a lot of work into…”.
Powerlifting adviser Nick DeLuca shares similar thoughts.
“We went into Saturday, not really expecting to win anything, we were kind of just a ragtag group of people that showed up and decided to lift weights,” DeLuca said. “And it went extremely well for us, just hearing the kids’ names getting called over the loudspeaker at the end of the day because they had won different awards…”.
Along with attaining numerous awards, the team members brought home significant experiences and continued their own personal journeys.
Marks placed first in 152/167 women’s raw weight class, was third overall for the Susky team and won bronze in team awards alongside Calpsadl. Marks, who had turned to lifting for a form of recovery after a back injury that put her permanently out of her horseback riding career, shares her own success from the meet.
“…I was super nervous, but I pulled 195 pounds. That’s the most I pulled since I broke my back…,” Marks said. ”…it was challenging, to let go of one thing and come to the next, but it got easier. And I really love lifting and I found I’m really good at lifting.”
DeLuca hopes the students carry lessons on and off the platform.
“Motivation for these kids to get better and continue to improve themselves over the course of time, and that kind of perseverance in the long run I think is what really I want these kids to walk away with,” DeLuca said.
The team hopes to accumulate more members and funding as a result of its growing number of victories, and they want students to know powerlifters come in all shapes and sizes.
Kopp encourages students to not let impressions stop them from trying something new.
“There were a lot of people that I know that could have done so well and people that said they might do the competition and they ended up not doing it just because they didn’t think that they would do well … my message to them is it doesn’t matter,” Kopp said. “You know, it doesn’t matter how well you do, you will always beat the person that doesn’t show up.”
The team is moving onto nationals on March 31- April 2, where they hope to achieve success and victory on the platform, along with valuable lessons and memories.