Boys and girls powerlifting teams push the limits

Sherrice Wright, Staff Writer

With the loss of two coaches and a state championship-winning senior, this has been a year of transition for the Center Hill powerlifting program.

“It’s been great,” said Jake Faust, who is coaching powerlifting along with Leslie Cliburn. “I was very lucky Coach Ingram laid a great foundation for the program and made the transition easy.”

The powerlifting program was created by Case Ingram in the 2015-2016 school year. It quickly gained notoriety when Center Hill graduate Jamie Hernandez earned a state title in 2016, which he defended in 2017.

“Losing Jamie Hernandez was someone you can’t replace easily,” Faust said. “We are very excited to see where the 2018 team takes us.”

So far, the 2017-2018 season has been successful for the boys and girls teams alike. On Feb. 3, the powerlifters competed in regionals, with senior Jamyah Graham placing first in her division. Graham deadlifted 510 pounds; she had a 115-pound lead over the second-place lifter, who lifted 455 pounds. The boys’ regional competition will be Feb. 8.

Cliburn said he is very proud of the leadership by the seniors on the girls team, and said he is hopeful that the team will place at the state competition later this year.

One of the senior boys vying for a spot at state is Ja’Shun Adams, who said he has been a part of the powerlifting program for three years.

“I have a great love for lifting weights, and I can lift a combined weight of about 1,300 pounds and more,” Adams said. “It’s my last year, and I have a goal to hit. My goal this year is to place in the Top 3 at state.”

With such large numbers as these, powerlifting may seem as if it is only for the most athletic or the strongest. However, Faust said that is not true.

“Understand that it’s not always about strongest or biggest,” he said. “My hope is to make every lifter on my team a better student, athlete and overall person.”

Both Faust and Cliburn said they would like to encourage more students to try powerlifting.

“If you’re interested, come talk to me,” Cliburn said. “You don’t need experience.”