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12 Sailors capture regional lifting titles

Mal Meston, Sports Editor

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While most athletes love standing on the podium being rewarded for placing in the top three, junior Dee Davis has a different opinion about the podiums.

“I was really excited winning first place overall, but it was also super scary because the podiums are really tall and far from the ground,” said Davis, who placed first at the regional powerlifting event, held Saturday, Jan. 14 at Shores.

Altogether, Davis was joined on the podium by 19 other Sailors, male and female, including eight others who also placed first.

Additionally, Shores placed first out of 13 schools in both the Men’s Varsity and Women’s Varsity divisions.

Powerlifting, which is a strength-based sport, is a form of competitive weightlifting in which the contestants attempt to lift the most weight on three separate lifts: bench press, squat and two-handed deadlift. The contestants are divided into groups by their weight class.

Coach Matt Koziak said he enjoys seeing his athletes succeed.

“The team did great,” he said. “Juniors Zaria Coleman and Megan Swanker definitely surprised me. Coleman had never powerlifted before, and she broke three school records at her first meet. It was also Swanker’s first time powerlifting, and she took third place in her weight class which qualifies her for states. I am so proud of these two young ladies.”

Another “young lady” who performed well was senior Autumn Lambert, who placed first in the Women’s 97-pound weight class.

“Winning first place was an amazing feeling. I honestly felt like a champion, almost like I was unbeatable,” said Lambert, who squatted 135 pounds, benched 75 and dead lifted 195 for a total of 405. “My goal this year is to place first in the state. It would be a great honor and it would prove how hard I’ve been training for this.”

Freshman year, Lambert placed sixth in the state, and both her sophomore and junior years, she placed third in the state.

Shores lifters have three more regional competitions (Jan. 28 at Ionia, Feb. 11 at Manistee and Feb. 25 at Shepherd) before the state championships at Croswell-Lexington High School on March 11-12.

“I am extremely excited to see what these athletes will achieve at the state championships,” Koziak said. “I’m looking forward for many to place top 10 for both men and women’s power lifting.”

One of those eying a top 10 finish will be senior Damanpreet Singh, who placed first at regionals in the Men’s 155-pound weight class.

Singh placed 10th in the state as a freshman, ninth as a sophomore, and eighth as a junior.

“I was pretty excited when I won first place at regionals because it was a huge accomplishment, and I’ve been working hard in the weight room everyday,” said Singh, who lifted 335 pounds on squat, 235 on bench and 405 on dead lift with a total score of 975. “My next step is to train really hard. I go to the gym everyday, and hopefully, it pays off because I want to place either top five or top three at state this year.”

Koziak, who started the powerlifting competitions when he became involved in the coaching program at Shores, said he is excited about the sport’s growth.

“When I became involved, powerlifting started out small at Shores. I only had around 30 total athletes with one or two girls participating,” Koziak said. “These past few years I have had many more athletes participating in the powerlifting program. We now have around 85 athletes participating, 28 of them being girls. Powerlifting has been growing quite a bit which is a really cool feeling for me to see and experience. I am very proud of what these athletes have accomplished.”

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12 Sailors capture regional lifting titles