It isn’t everyday a high school is chosen to host a state meet.
After receiving the bid to co-host the 2018 Wisconsin State Powerlifting Association state meet with Adams-Friendship, Assistant Coach Jerome Leak said him and Head Coach John Winker said they were both excited about hosting state.
“We had to contain the excitement because we couldn’t announce anything until the school board was notified that we did for sure get it,” Leak said. “We didn’t want it out in the public until they knew it was for sure coming.”
Once the school board was notified, the team made the announcement through social media Mauston High School will host one of the biggest meets of the season.
Leak said the reason schools will co-host is because of the number of school participants over the years. Like Mauston, it will be Adams-Friendship first time hosting a state meet. Adams-Friendship has experience hosting regional qualifying meets.
“The state meet has gotten so big that it’s extremely difficult to host any state meet on their own,” Leak said. “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.”
While the meet isn’t until next season, Leak said the team is beginning preparations to welcome the best athletes in the state. Assistant coach James Hibbard said they’ve obtained some ideas through looking at last year’s state meet in Racine.
While the WHSPA state board will supply referees for the meet, the team will be looking for other volunteers from around the Mauston area and other nearby communities.
“All the spotters and loaders, the table workers, concession runners all those people we have to bring in on our own.” Leak said.
Leak said the coaches also have to make sure there is plenty of equipment for the warm up room and have been working with Adams-Friendship and other local schools to make sure they have enough racks, weights and other equipment for an estimated 600 lifters.
“We know what we need. We have a good idea of how many people we need,” Leak said. “Coming up with the man power to run the meet is probably the biggest task in itself.”
Hibbard said Mauston will host a regional meet next season, which he said would give the team a chance to work out any problems before having what he called “the main trial day.”
While the coaches are keeping busy with the physical standpoint of the meet, Leak said the athletes are preparing both from a mental and physical standpoint to prepare for what he called “a rare opportunity.”
“I don’t know if for a lot of them if it’s completely set in yet,” Leak said. “We had six or seven kids compete at the state meet (this year) so not whole lot of them have been on that platform.”
Koehnke, a junior, has been to the state meet twice and captured a state title this year in Racine in the 165 pound weight class and has plans to defend her title on her home platform. She said she understands an opportunity to host state doesn’t come around every day and has preparing, not only by weight training but by focusing on teamwork to assist the underclassman in reaching their full potential.
“The upper-classmans job is to show the underclassman what a great opportunity it is and to show them they are capable to do good at it,” Koehnke said.
As alumnus of Mauston High School, Hibbard and Leak participated in the sport and have seen the sport “grow severely” in their time as athletes and now as coaches. Leak, who claimed a national title in the sports, said in 2011-his first year of powerlifting-there was only five lifters and the club didn’t have any scheduled practice or meets. Now the club has grown to 30 lifters and eight coaches on staff.
“It’s exciting to see that growth,” Leak said.