Wildcat powerlifters ready for regional meet

EDWARDSBURG — About 40 boys and girls from Three Rivers High School will be in Edwardsburg Saturday participating in the Michigan High School Powerlifting Association Regional Meet.
The girls’ competition starts at 8 a.m. with the boys’ event commencing around 11 a.m. The competition is estimated to last until approximately 5 p.m. There is competition both at the jayvee and varsity level.
Three Rivers head coach Brock Yost, owner of Triple River CrossFit, says the Wildcats have high expectations for this weekend’s meet.
Now in its third year of existence, the Three Rivers Powerlifting team returns three seniors on the boys’ team who have participated each season. They are Tyson New, Deion Deans and Charles Ross.
New, Deans and Ross made up the entire team the first year.
In 2015-16 the team grew to 16 combined boys and girls. A total of 10 qualified for state with three placing at that meet.
Three Rivers will take 40 kids to Saturday’s regional meet.
“We started the year with 50 kids, but it’s a dual-sport opportunity for athletes who are already competing in a winter sport, along with other activities such as DECA. So if it conflicts with other activities I let them decide which event they want to attend,” Yost said.
The Edwardsburg Regional will feature some very stiff competition, including last year’s boys’ state champion from the Detroit Area.
“We have very high expectations for what we want to accomplish at regionals,” Yost said. “Our goal is to send at least half of our kids for state. The kids have dedicated themselves to a level that surprises me. Even the kids who are dual-sporting have made time to get in here at CrossFit to get their lifts in.”
“We’ve talked this week about form and what to expect at the meet and from the judges,” Yost said.
The team has been practicing three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday since early October.
Practices include squats on Monday, bench presses on Wednesday and deadlifts on Fridays.
While Three Rivers High School and Athletic Director Andy Mains have been supportive and helped the program out, Yost said the program has held several fund-raisers on its own to help support it.
“The kids have done a phenomenal job by helping out with our Triple River CrossFit Kids Program and the money from that has been donated to the high school powerlifting program, along with raffles and working concessions at Three Rivers basketball games,” Yost said. “We also did a row-a-thon too earlier this year. Every single kid has contributed some way whether it's been through sweat or fund-raising.”
Saturday’s competition will consist of three lifts: Squat, bench press and a deadlift.
The athlete with the highest score wins their individual division. There are nine different weight classes.
“We have kids to fill most of those weight classes. Our goal is to win regionals this year,” Yost said.
Regional qualifiers will advance to state competition March 10-11 at Croswell-Lexington High School.
Four individuals from Three Rivers went on and placed at the state meet last year at Muskegon Mona Shores.
Three Rivers graduates Jamie Barrett finished seventh and Lexie Mayer in their respective weight classes, while Erye Richmond also competed.
Members of the boys’ team include Evan Griffioen, Gavin Charvat, Andrew Johnson, Deans, Carson Charvat, Traven Van Oss, J.D. Conroy, Ryan Mills, Alex Samson, Mason Spencer, Ryan Jackson, Chase Ludwig, Derek Hufford, Austin Krawczak, Mitch Morlan, Tim Smith, New, Tallas Hanley, Tyler Carson, Alex Minger, Jalen Heivilin, Ryan Nowicki, Ross, Ashley Manansala and Michael Dangovian.
The Wildcat girls’ squad consists of McKenzie Carroll, Kali Heivilin, Katie Marsh, Maddie Pobanz, Alexandria Deel, Halle Carpenter, Tiana Sternbergh, Zoey Willson, Naomi Johnson, Courteney Munn, Alyssa Speelman, Chloe Arnold, Izzy Taylor and Tana Burks-Rich.
In last year’s state meet for varsity boys, Evan Griffioen placed third and Deans placed second. Austin Soule and Traven Van Oss competed in the junior varsity meet.
Yost said the long-range goal is not to just make the program one where you get bulky and strong, but for an individual to learn how to be strong and fit and learn about health, nutrition and fitness. It also serves as a positive activity for those who don’t participate in a winter sport.
Bridget Griffioen, Missy Stiele, Trevor Burrell, Tanya Marsh, Mike Hoogeboom and Joanna Bailey have all helped out as coaches, and Yost’s wife Autumn handles all paperwork.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or sports@threeriversnews.com.

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