Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Austin Schrader, who had the top Wilks Coefficient, competes at the USA Powerlifting Justin Maile Classic on Saturday at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Austin Schrader, who had the top Wilks Coefficient, competes at the USA Powerlifting Justin Maile Classic on Saturday at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna.

SoHi celebrates offseason work with powerlifting competition

Every Monday through Thursday this summer, from 9 to 11 a.m., Soldotna High School has held weight lifting sessions for interested students.

Saturday, those students got to show off a summer of sacrifice at the 2016 USA Powerlifting Justin Maile Classic at Justin Maile Field at Soldotna High School.

Justin Maile is the father of Larry Maile, Ph.D., who, among many other accolades, is a member of the International Powerlifting Federation Hall of Fame.

Most, but not all, of the 34 lifters at the meet were a part of the Soldotna football program.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for a bunch of young lifters to see what they are made of,” said Soldotna junior Brenner Furlong, who will be a fullback and outside linebacker for the Stars this season.

Galen Brantley Jr., the head coach of the Soldotna football team, said that in the past the team has had a Man of Steel competition to celebrate its summer of lifting.

But Brantley has seen his students take more and more of an interest in powerlifting competitions, with about 25 kids competing at a competition in February and another eight going to the 32nd USA Powerlifting Alaska State Championship in the spring in Anchorage.

“It’s a celebration of all the hard work the kids put in during the offseason,” Brantley Jr. said.

But to hold a powerlifting meet requires judges that hold lifters to exacting standards. For that, Brantley Jr. thanked Rob Schmidt, the Alaska State Chair for USA Powerlifting, and all the volunteers that came to Soldotna to make the meet happen.

Levi Hensley, who will be a senior tight end and safety at SoHi as well as lace up the skates for the hockey squad, said what makes the meet special is the atmosphere.

A gathering of family members and friends pushed many of the lifters to personal bests.

Hensley also said knowing that atmosphere would be available at the end of summer added a little more juice to the morning lifting sessions.

“You definitely work harder,” he said. “It makes you do the little things like watching what you eat and really pay attention to how much you are progressing with your lifting each day.”

As usual, the meet had a couple of breakout stars. Schmidt was particularly enthusiastic about the squats of Mekhai Rich and Dawson Fox, who both broke state records at their age group and weight class.

Rich, 14, will be an eighth-grader at Soldotna Prep this season. He weighs about 120 pounds and was able to squat 192.9 pounds.

“I’m just getting into lifting this year with coach Brantley,” said Rich, who plans to put his powerlifting to good use for football. “It’s helped me gain experience, knowledge and to build a little more muscle.”

Fox, 13, will be an eighth-grader at Skyview Middle School. He was able to squat 253 pounds despite weighing 130 pounds. He even said that he thought he could add 10 pounds to that.

“It definitely improves my ability in sports overall,” said Fox, who focuses on football. “Being stronger helps out with everything.”

SoHi’s Austin Schrader was the top performer at the meet, as measured by the Wilks Coefficient, a metric that can be used to compare the strengths of different lifters despite the different weight of the lifters.

Schrader, weighing 183 pounds, had a Wilks score of 360.99, with a squat of 402 pounds, a bench of 286 pounds and a deadlift of 501 pounds.

Furlong, weighing 176, was next on the Wilks list at 316.49. He squatted 336, benched 264 and deadlifted 419.

Eli McDonald, at 162, was third with a Wilks of 314.42. He squatted 342, benched 209 and deadlifted 408.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Eli McDonald, who finished with the third Wilks Coefficient, squats at the USA Powerlifting Justin Maile Classic on Saturday at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Eli McDonald, who finished with the third Wilks Coefficient, squats at the USA Powerlifting Justin Maile Classic on Saturday at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna.

More in Sports

Anchorage's Will Ross rides to victory in the Soggy Bottom 100 on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. (Photo provided by Angela DiBeradino)
Anchorage’s Ross gets record back in Soggy Bottom 100

Anchorage’s Will Ross now has Alaska’s most coveted endurance mountain biking record.… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Reeling ‘Em In: Hints from Nick on catchin’ cohos

Silvers loathe direct sunlight and are spooked by shadows

tease
Hogue, Aldridge win Soldotna Cycle Series 5

Dylan Hogue and Morgan Aldridge picked up victories at the fifth Soldotna… Continue reading

Take a number. The "patients" wait briefly in the trap box before being seen and released upstream to continue their migration. (Photo by Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Anatomy of a fish weir — Keeping a finger on the pulse of Alaska’s salmon runs

During a routine physical exam, your doctor checks your vitals: Weight, heart… Continue reading

Mt. Redoubt rises above Cook Inlet and the Anchor River drainage as fireweed is in bloom, as seen from Diamond Ridge Road on Friday, July 22, 2022, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Out of the Office: Take the long way around

“Slow Down. What’s the hurry?” reads an inscription on the Reuben Call… Continue reading

tease
Ulman, Davis win final Salmon Run Series race of season

Sean Ulman and Kristin Davis won the fifth and final Salmon Run… Continue reading

Morgan Aldridge leads riders down a hill at the start of Week 3 of the Soldotna Cycle Series on Thursday, July 18, 2019, at Tsalteshi Trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Aldridge, Iannaccone excel at Moose Nugget Triathlon

Sterling’s Morgan Aldridge and Kenai’s Jon Iannaccone both had notable performances Sunday… Continue reading

tease
Dubovsky, Raney win Res Pass Ultras

Elizabeth Dubovsky and Miles Raney won the Resurrection Pass Ultra Races on… Continue reading

Seward's Erik Johnson finishes the men's Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska, on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Deal, Hecht, Johnson put in strong performances at Alyeska Cirque Series

Taylor Deal, Galen Hecht and Erik Johnson led those with Kenai Peninsula… Continue reading

Most Read