by Chris Dertz
The Powerlifting Team at Eastland High School in Lanark, Illinois is making a name for itself. Although it is a new sport at the school, and despite limited gym access, a few dedicated Cougars have found ways to compete… and they are excelling.
The weekend of December 12th-13th, four members of the Eastland Cougars Powerlifting Team competed in the 2020 APF (American Powerlifting Federation) Raw Power Challenge competition hosted by 2XL Strength & Fitness in Lombard, Illinois. They made their school proud.
Powerlifting is a strength sport in which athletes compete in the squat, the bench press, and the dead lift. For each lift, they have three attempts and the attempts are judged by 3 referees. For the lift to pass, two of the three referees signal their approval with a white light. A red light signals a referee’s disapproval. After the lifting is completed, the heaviest successful attempt for each lift is added together to create the lifter’s “total”. Lifters compete against other lifters of similar age and bodyweight. To determine the winner of each division and the best overall lifter of the meet, the “Glossbrenner” score is used. This is a formula that allows lifters of different body weights to be judged equally. In this meet, lifters competed “raw” which means that no supportive equipment other than a powerlifting belt and wrist wraps are allowed.
The Eastland male lifters competing at the meet were freshmen Chase Bremmer, sophomore Cody Cole, and junior Paul Sturtevant. Freshman Natalie Colehour was the lone female lifter for the Cougars. All the Eastland team members competed in the AAPF (American Amateur Powerlifting Federation), which is the drug-tested division within the APF.
Even in strange times, with limited gym access, the Cougar powerlifters are excelling.
Due to Covid restrictions, the meet was divided into an AM and a PM session to reduce the number of lifters and spectators. Females lifted in the AM session so Colehour was up first. On the squat, she opened with 62.5kg, took 70kg on her second attempt, and squatted 82.5kg (182lbs) for her third and final attempt and broke the Illinois state record for her weight class and division. Moving on to the bench press, she again turned in an impressive performance, finishing with another Illinois state record of 50kg (110lbs). Wrapping up the day with the dead lift, Colehour went 3 for 3 and lifted 102.5kg (226lbs) for a 3rd state record. Additionally, her total of 235kg (517lbs) broke a final Illinois state record. On the day, Colehour went 9/9 on her attempts and set 4 state records for her division and weight class.
A few hours later, the boys were up for the second session. The squat was up first. Sturtevant went 3/3 on his attempts and finished with a personal record of 165kg (363lbs). Cole, competing in his first powerlifting meet, also turned in a 3/3 performance which included both an Illinois and an American record of 162.5kg (358lbs) on his final attempt. On that lift, Cole, weighing in at 145lbs, squatted almost 2.5x his body weight. Bremmer, also competing in his first meet, went 3/3 with lifts of 70kg (154lbs), 90kg (198lbs), and a personal record of 107.5kg (237lbs).
Bench press was up next. Sturtevant went 3/3 once again which included a personal best of 112.5kg (248lbs). Bremmer also went 3/3 and set another personal record of 85kg (187lbs) on his final attempt. Cole easily lifted his opener of 77.5kg (171lbs) but was unable to lift 90kg (198lbs) on his second attempt. However, he tried the same weight on his 3rd attempt and was able to lock it out for a successful lift.
Deadlift was the final event of the day. All three Eastland lifters went 3/3 on their attempts. Sturtevant’s best lift of 182.5kg (402lbs) gave him a total of 460kg (1,012lbs). This was both Sturtevant’s first time totaling over 1,000lbs and deadlifting over 400lbs in a meet. Bremmer’s last attempt of 107.5kg (237lbs) gave him a new personal record and Cole’s final lift of 167.5kg (369lbs) broke another Illinois state record.
At the awards ceremony, the Cougars were well-represented. Sturtevant took 2nd Place in the Male Teen 16-17 Raw Division and Bremmer took 2nd Place in the Male Teen 13-15 Raw Division. Cole won the Male Teen 16-17 Raw Division and Colehour won the Female Teen 13-15 Division based on having the highest Glossbrenner score of all the lifters in those divisions. The Cougars came home with 6 Illinois state records and 1 American record.
The team will take a few months to focus on training and will be back in action during the spring of 2021.
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