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Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

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Powerlifting helps students to get stronger and improve their skills in other athletic activities

Student athletes compete in an individual-oriented sport with a supportive environment
By Olivia Peters

Powerlifting is a relatively new sport and has gone through some changes since new head coach Andrew Sachen started this year.

The strength-based sport consists of three lifting exercises: hang clean, squat and bench, with competitions divided by gender and weight. According to Sachen the sport is very self guided because of how flexible it is, though he still ensures there is a plan for the team.

By Olivia Peters

“The kids kind of go at their own pace,” Sachen said. “I still make workout cards and I still put all the exercise out there and help demonstrate and teach kids that aren’t in a certain conditioning class.”

At each tournament, the lifters do all three exercises and get three attempts at each exercise, with the highest overall weight winning their weight class. For experienced athletes like senior Waylon Schenk, powerlifting competitions are highly individual.

“Every person is different,” Schenk said. “You’ve got to find what works for you and then do that and just keep experimenting. I like to do a lot of stuff where you put more weight on the bar that you can actually do. That makes it easier to get the maximum weight that you can handle.”

Like many participants, Schenk joined powerlifting to help him with other sports, in his case football.

“[Powerlifting] just made me stronger, and I put on a lot of weight,” Schenk said. “It just made me better on the field because I was heavier.”

Though he originally joined to help in other sports, Schenk has now broken many meet records in his powerlifting career, with personal records of 450-pound squat, 370-pound hang clean and 260-pound bench press. In close competitions Schenks’ ability to push himself is necessary.

Adjusting his hands, sophomore Jaxon Masek gets ready for his turn to bench press at the at Basehor-Linwood meet Friday, Jan. 27. (By Eva Hernandez)

“Sometimes there can be a strategy to [the competition],” Schenk said. “If you’re close to somebody else on the last lift, if you’re behind by five pounds, you can add that to your final lift.”

Powerlifting has helped others in sports, such as softball, for sophomore Callie Caldwell.

“[Powerlifting] helps a lot in softball,” Caldwell said. “I see a huge difference in my hitting because it increases my strength.”

While powerlifting is open to anyone and is often useful to many sports, the team has shrunk in the last year. Few experienced seniors like Schenk remain active participants, which has impacted the team’s overall performance.

“I’m the only senior in the class,” Schenk said. “The team’s kind of big, yes, but it’s shrunk a little bit from last year. Last year, we were winning quite a bit, we were getting second or first. We lost a lot of seniors that were getting a lot of points, so we haven’t placed very well. We need people to join the team.”

There are many reasons for any student to join the powerlifting team, regardless of athletic background. The individual, supportive environment is fit for any athlete, according to Sachen.

“It doesn’t matter what weight class you’re in, there will be people from every school, every gender, every weight class yelling for you and trying to encourage you to set a new PR or make that list or anything,” Sachen said. “Everybody from every school is supportive.”

By Design by Olivia Peters, Photos by Luke Wood
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About the Contributors
Anna Zwahlen, JagWire editor-in-chief, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief
This is senior Anna Zwahlen’s second year on the JagWire newspaper staff. She is thrilled to be one of the new Editors In Chief of the JagWire and Mill Valley News. Anna is also involved in the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Scholars Bowl, GSA and is co-president for Youth for Refugees. Outside of school, Anna loves to read and spend time with her friends, as well as listen to new music and watch her favorite TV shows and movies between her work as a barista.
Ian Chern, JagWire copy editor
This is junior Ian Chern’s second year on the JagWire staff. This year he is taking up the role of copy editor along with writer and photographer. Outside of school, Ian enjoys watching sports, listening to music, playing basketball and soccer, volunteering at food banks and spending time with friends and family. He is also a member of NHS, Science Olympiad and likes to participate in Relay for Life.
Olivia Peters, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is senior Olivia Peters’ first year on the JagWire staff. She is exploring all roles this year: writing, designing and taking photos. Outside of journalism, she is president of Mill Valley’s SNHS, captain of the Color Guard, vice-president of Youth for Refugees and secretary of the Women’s Empowerment Club. She is also involved in NEHS, Model UN and Scholar’s Bowl. Outside of school, Olivia enjoys reading, working as a gymnastics coach, and playing dungeons and dragons.
Eva Hernandez, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Eva Hernandez’s first year on the JagWire staff. This year she will be learning the roles of a writer and photographer. Eva enjoys longboarding around her neighborhood and likes to play sports like flag football, soccer and basketball and she loves to bake for her friends. Eva also enjoys watching scary movies and shopping for shoes. Eva is involved in Relay for Life and would like to join more things as the school year goes on.

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