Try not to be confused by the disparity in physical stature among the 14 athletes on St. Ed’s 2017 boys weightlifting team. It is definitely not the case that some were quick learners and miraculously turned into behemoths overnight simply by mastering the proper lifting technique taught by head coach Les Rogers.
Further inquiry revealed that the diminutive lifters were mere sixth-graders, while the bulkier body types belonged to the more physically mature football, basketball and soccer players from the high school.
“With 14 lifters we have a large team this year, especially with the addition of three sixth-graders,” Rogers said. “I actually saw the athletic ability of one of the sixth-graders, Jasper Nelson, when he was in elementary school. When he entered the middle school I invited him to come out. I also talked to a couple of his friends. They all said they would give it a shot and the three of them are doing a fantastic job.
“They are picking it up and seem to be enthusiastic. They want to do well so they are all working hard. The proper technique takes a while to develop, but they are definitely going in the right direction.”
Sixth-graders C.H. Brown, Giordan Gulati and Nelson are the up-and-comers for whom the development phase will take some time, but Rogers says they have already demonstrated the potential to do very well in competitive meets down the road. Some of the older, bigger guys may be ready right now.
“I’ve got a few guys that I think will be able to compete successfully later on in the postseason,” Rogers said. “Sophomore heavyweight Grayson Long has a real good bench press and that in itself carries him a long way toward getting a good total. He’s doing a great job for us.
“Junior Edward Klinsport has lifted for quite some time now and he does really well for himself. He works very hard and I’m hoping that he will also be able to make nice gains as the season progresses.”
Actually, the entire team did quite well in a meet on Feb. 15 against three other schools. The Pirates had lifters in an expanded number of weight classes and beat all three teams in total points. That hasn’t happened very often in the past, when fewer lifters participated and a variety of weight classes were not covered.
Grayson Long hoisted huge numbers in the unlimited weight category with totals of 515 and 510 in two February meets. For everyone else, PRs (personal records) fell by the wayside when the proper lifting technique was executed and they were able to “hit” all six of their lifts.
As is always the case with overlapping sports seasons, it took a while to assemble the entire squad. Nevertheless, the condensed regular season ends this week with two meets in advance of the district trials on March 16.
“We missed the basketball and soccer players in the first meet,” Rogers explained. “But they jumped right in and are getting better already. In their first meet I could tell they had a lot left in the tank. I’m expecting big advances from them in the coming weeks.”
The only two seniors this year fall into that category. Thomas Bockhorst was the top playmaker on the basketball team and Jordan Quaile was noted for his defensive skills on the soccer field.
“I’m doing this to stay in shape and stay active after school,” Bockhorst said. “I didn’t have an opportunity to do it last year, but I really enjoyed weight training when I did it before, so I decided to give it another try. It’s taken some time to get back into the swing of things and I’ve been a little sore lately.
“This is more of a personal thing rather than competing against other people. I’m setting goals for myself with certain weight totals that I want to hit by the end of the season.”
“This is my second year weightlifting and I’m trying to get back into shape and keep the commitment that I made to the team last year,” Quaile told us – channeling the philosophy of his football coach, Bill Motta. “I would like to get my bench back up to 205 where I was last June. Right now I’m at 150-155. You definitely lose something when you’re not doing this regularly.
“When you join a team you have an obligation to stay and, even better, this is a fun group of guys. Our ages differ a lot but we are all in it together. The bigger guys are pushing the smaller guys. Everyone is just trying to make everyone else the best they can be.”