New girls powerlifting team becomes one of four in the area

The girls look forward to the opportunities the team will provide

Emma Clement, JagWire editor-in-chief, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

As the powerlifting team prepares for the upcoming season, the weight room is more crowded than ever due to the addition of a girls team. The team was started this year by FOCUS teacher Josh Barnes whose goal was to provide new athletic opportunities for girls, while getting more people involved in powerlifting.

Powerlifting is a competitive team sport in which team members do three types of lifts: bench, squat and clean. 

The team is coached by Barnes, who has always wanted to start a girls team.

“When I first started, since I wasn’t teaching in the building yet, I kept it just football players instead to start because that’s all I had access to,” Barnes said. “My goal was always to be able to recruit a girls team because I know how strong and competitive they are and I know that it’d be something that I think they would enjoy and could really be popular here. I wanted to give them the opportunity this year to do that. They’re all really excited about it.”

Junior Elly VanRheen has also looked forward to the addition of a girls team for a while and initially approached Barnes about it over the summer.

“This summer when I did [Jaguar] ADP I talked to Barnes about it a little bit and he said that he wanted to get a girls team started,” VanRheen said. “This is his first year in the building, so that was why [I was originally involved]. I was one of the first people he talked to about it.”

Barnes shares VanRheen’s excitement for the upcoming season and can’t wait to see the team’s potential.

“I’m honestly just excited to get them into meets; there’s not a whole lot of teams around the area that have a full girls team,” Barnes said. “I think they have the potential to be really, really good. There’s a lot of competitive girls in there; a lot of strong girls, and I think they’re gonna go in and show people that Mill Valley can do it all.”

For freshman Lila Cobb, joining the team has provided a great way to get involved and focus on inner growth.

“It’s a way to get involved at Mill Valley, of course, and it’s a sport that focuses on your individual growth,” Cobb said. “I’m excited to just get into a different environment because this is my first year ever doing this.”

To prepare for the season, Barnes is focusing on helping the team to establish a good skill set.

“Right now I’m just teaching them proper technique,” Barnes said. “I’m teaching them how meets will work, how they need to structure their lives. Some strategy that goes into you know, setting up opening lifts and game plans for what they’re going to want to do on the day [of the meet]. Really just teaching them to love being in the weight room and helping them to build confidence and understand that they’re really strong and they can be a good example for everyone else in the building to learn how to compete at a high levels.”

Now that the team has been created, VanRheen is excited for the opportunities it will provide.

“I like lifting anyway,” VanRheen said. “I also can’t really go out of my way to afford a gym membership, so it’s another easy option to just get stronger.”

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