Greene County girls attend first powerlifting competition
By SUE RIEDER
A group of twelve girls who have been lifting weights regularly this fall were the first girls to represent Greene County High School in a NASA Powerlifting competition in Des Moines on November 1. Natural Athlete Strength Association (NASA) is one of 48 powerlifting foundations across the United States. These federations sponsor competitions for male and female athletes of all ages. While Many of the competitions are similar, the NASA has recently been sponsoring two competitions per year in Des Moines, and since those are the closest, those are the easiest ones for the Greene County students to attend. While the high school has previously taken boys to some of the competitions, this is the first time that a girl’s squad had gone.
Powerlifting isn’t a sport recognized by the Iowa High School Athletic Association or the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. Only five states have high school powerlifting associations listed on the internet, Louisiana, Texas, Michigan, Mississippi, and Wisconsin, but high school age students in Iowa do participate. Woodward Academy has won eight high school powerlifting titles in championships sponsored by the USA Powerlifting Federation.
According to weight room supervisor and high school physical education teacher Richard Beeler, there are three types of lifts that athletes usually do at these weight lifting events- the squad lift, the bench press, and the dead lift. The Greene County girls entered the squat lift portion of the competition. When doing a squat lift, the athlete is standing when they take the weighted bar off of the rack and hold it on their shoulders. A referee gives the command to start, and the lifter bends their knees and squats down until the top part of their leg is parallel to the floor. A signal is given when they have gotten low enough, and then they can return to standing position while they are continuing to hold the weighted bar. Each participant has three attempts with approximately 15 minutes rest in between. Three judges evaluate each lift to determine whether it was done correctly and qualifies as a legal lift. As in wrestling, there are several divisions, so lifters compete against others who are similar in weight.
“It was somewhat nerve-racking having an audience watch you do all of your lifts, said Greene County participant, Mollie Sorber. “The best thing was seeing so many people of different ages in the competition. There was one man competing who was 75 years old.”
Principal Brian Phillips expressed appreciation to Power Lift, Hamilton Redi-Mix, and the Jefferson Police Department for providing the financial support, so the girls could attend the competition. “I think the girls enjoyed the experience, and I hope they will try it again, but our main goal of emphasizing weight training at the high school is to improve the strength of our athletes,” said Beeler. “Working out in the weight room is an expectation if you are out for sports at the high school level.”