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This weekend, powerlifters from across the state of Wisconsin will converge on Mauston for one of the biggest meets of the year.

The Wisconsin High School Powerlifting Association (WHSPA) will hold its 2018 state meet Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11 at Mauston High School. Mauston is co-hosting the meet alongside Adams-Friendship. It is both schools’ first time hosting the state meet, though each has hosted regional meets before.

“The state meet has gotten so big that it’s extremely difficult to host any state meet on their own,” Mauston assistant coach Jerome Leak told the Juneau County Star-Times earlier this year. “It’s combining manpower to help both programs out … there’s a lot of opportunity for both towns with co-hosting and it takes the headache of just one.”

Over 500 lifters will head to Mauston to compete at the state meet, including dozens of area students. The event is expected to draw somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 people to the city this weekend.

For Necedah, boys qualifiers are Brian Bauch, Dawson Fornander and Logan Ladwig. The list of Cardinals girls who qualified for state are Logan Williamson, Noelle Ladwig, Tapenga Tegelman, Natalie Wekesser, Riley Ganther, Alli Lucier, Erin Smelcer, Machaela Exner, Jamie Hernandez, Meg Wesolek, Kayelyn Hadley, Elena Marquez, Sophia Becerra, Anna Renner, Cheyenne Pollack, Haley DeGuire, Abbi Saunders, Cloe Winters, Somer Nolte, Alissa Saunders, Brianne Wilson, Sam Kristian, Makenzie Exner, Miah Slaton and Anastasia Texly.

Machaela Exner won a state title for Necedah at last year’s state meet.

Mauston is sending a school-record 15 lifters to the state meet. Boys qualifiers are Xavier Ollarzaval, Alex Gutierez, William Breunig, Ping Vang, Daniel Domenech, Travis Johnson, Niko Iglesias and Ryan Williams. Girls qualifiers for the Golden Eagles are Jelly Marilyn Miller Barr, Adriana Domenech, Miranda Koehnke, Lexxie Barr, Michelle Steffens, Sara Erickson and Tiffany Lee Hatfield.

Koehnke took home a state title during the 2017 state meet Racine and will have the opportunity to repeat on her home turf.

When Mauston and Adams-Friendship were officially awarded the bid to co-host the state meet last year, Leak, a Mauston High School alumnus, remarked at how much the sport of powerlifting has grown at his alma mater throughout the decade. He noted that the program only had five lifters when he was a student back in 2011.

Now, with a school-record number of state participants and the state meet coming to town, powerlifting will take center stage this weekend in Mauston.

The state meet will get underway Saturday with the first session slated to start at 9:00 a.m. Lifting during the day’s second session will commence at 2:00 p.m. The meet’s third session begins Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and the fourth and final session gets underway Sunday at 2:00 p.m.