BLHS lifters pumped to start season
The Basehor-Linwood gym floor will be a little heavier Saturday morning when the school plays host to the third annual Bobcat Powerlifting Invitational.
Weather permitting, the Bobcats will welcome 25 schools to compete in a meet that will include individual lifts in the squat, clean and bench press.
The meet is the team’s first of the season, one the Bobcats enter with expectations of improving on last year’s success when the girls won a state title and the boys finished second.
The Bobcats have 85 lifters on the team with a mix of inexperienced lifters and veterans. The home meet will allow them to learn what to expect from a competition.
“The kids are excited to build on where they left off last year,” coach Ross Schwisow said. “The girls have high expectations and the boys are looking to improve on last year’s second-place finish. We have a huge group of inexperienced kids that make up over half the team. It is going to be exciting to see them grow and develop more confidence in themselves.”
The team has simple goals for each lifter to get better and improve on their previous individual records. Powerlifting is a sport that allows a person to compete against themselves while helping the team, Schwisow said.
On the girls’ side, BLHS returns overall state champions in Kayla Peterson, Melissa Seaman, Brittany Billinger and Shelby Pierce. The team also returns individual champions in Sheridan Miles, Haylee Mathews, Megan Rehm and Shelby Witt.
“These girls should perform very well again, along with some newcomers that I know will surprise themselves,” Schwisow said.
On the boys’ side, the team has no returning overall champions but has individual champions in Bobby Courtney, Russell Clark and Cory Stephens.
“We will be searching for some guys to compete for overall titles,” Schwisow said. “Brandon Ogden and Jon Shewmon are two seniors who have been working very hard. We are very young there, but I think some of our kids will do well. We are looking forward to seeing them.”
Schwisow said the sport keeps athletes who participate in other sports involved.
“Powerlifting really started as a means to give our kids a purpose for getting stronger and faster in the winter,”
Schwisow said. “If a kid is not out for wrestling or basketball, then that leaves a lot of kids in the building. This was a great way to hold them accountable as well as give them something to compete in. You will see a lot of our good soccer, track, football (and other sport) players do very well.”
Powerlifting also gives students who might not play sports a chance to compete.
“It can create great self confidence and a great team environment,” Schwisow said.
The event begins at 9 a.m. and admission is free, but donations will be encouraged to contribute to a fundraiser for senior football Jake Potts.
“The key will be for them to understand this is the first meet,” Schwisow said. “Several of our kids have never done it, some have. We will be looking to get solid results and use those numbers to train with so we can be successful at the state meet in March.”