Starting a High School Powerlifting Team, Pt. 1

by Chris Dertz Planning and Considerations The year was 2016. My son, Eli, was in 8th grade. A multi-sport athlete, Eli had been working with athletic performance specialist Jeff Lyrenmann since the 4th grade. One day after we were done training, Jeff showed Eli a photograph from years before. In the photograph, a young Jeff…

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Eastland Athletes Break 7 Records at Powerlifting Meet

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…

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Eastland Powerlifting Siblings Rack Up State, National, and World Records

By Chris Dertz Eastland High School senior Cadin Colehour and his sister Natalie, a freshman, overcame gym closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic to turn in impressive performances at a couple recent powerlifting meets. Training out of their basement in Lanark, the two teens are proud holders of newly-set state, national, and world records in…

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USA Weightlifting H.S. Throwdown Champions: New Trier (IL)

The post from USA Weightlifting reads, “Congratulations to the Strongest High School in America, New Trier (IL)!” The New Trier Trevians just won the USA Weightlifting High School Throwdown, a National competition that tests athletes in bench press, squat, and power clean. It is a virtual event, wherein students submit each of their lifts (as…

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“Powerlifters are Pot-Smokers”: the Issue with Sample Bias

It is human nature to jump to conclusions based on our experience. Though the bark of a dog or a baby’s cry could mean many things, the listener will experience an immediate reaction. If the initial reaction is that the dog is angry and the baby is hungry, they will be correct… occasionally. Experienced professionals…

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Tom Sroka: Giving Back to the Barbell

In the newest episode of “Coffee with a Coach,” Jim sat down with Tom Sroka. Tom is an elite athlete, competing at a world-class level in the Olympic weightlifting, Highland Games, and pretty much anything that requires strength and power. Tom owns and operates The Strength Agenda, a gym located in Villa Park, IL that…

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Laughter and the Dragon: The Reinvention of Chris Duffin

East of Humboldt County, in the Trinity Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, Chris Duffin heated river water in a jug to bathe. He was a child then and, in his own words, “a different level of poor.” His story goes beyond poverty. During Chris’ developmental years he was exposed to crime, drug abuse, and murder.…

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Coaching with Energy from a Distance

“Be the energy catalyst in the room.” This is something that Jim Davis used to say to us all the time when I worked for him. It was some of the best advice I have received as a coach and something that I try and pass along to other coaches as well.You bring the energy,…

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Beyond Strength: Knox College Powerlifting, 2020

The energy in the E & L Andrew Fitness was palpable. Winter sunlight cascaded through the expanse of windows in the Knox College weightroom to highlight a bar loaded with almost 600 pounds. GiHo Jeong was approaching the platform. One year prior, GiHo was leading the Whitney Young High School powerlifting team to its first…

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Bulldog Strong

When Brandon Derrick enters a room, people notice. “All my life I’ve been a little stronger and bigger than other kids,” says the 6’3” 320 lb. powerlifter. Brandon is a freshman at McKendree University, where competes for their Powerlifting Team. He has an ear-to-ear smile, carries himself with confidence, and says he could not be…

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