Bobcats showcase power at home lifting tourney
Former ESPN anchors Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann used to utter the phrase “Welcome to the big show” at the start of “SportsCenter,” and the slogan would have been fitting Saturday at the Basehor-Linwood Bobcat Power Invitational.
The meet — already one of the largest powerlifting events in the state — nearly doubled in size this year as about 600 lifters packed the BLHS main and auxiliary gymnasiums to compete in bench press, hang clean and squat lifts. In addition, multiple meet records were set.
The Basehor-Linwood girls also ran their record streak of tournament titles to 20 as they dominated the field and recorded a first-place finish.
The BLHS boys placed second at the tournament for the second straight year.
“This was our fourth time hosting this meet, and having run a state meet as well, this is the fifth meet we’ve run. Being able to do that really helps,” BLHS coach Ross Schwisow said of the school’s ability to organize such a large event.
Numerous numbers stood out to Schwisow. The 600-plus lifters in attendance, the 100-plus volunteers, the $300 that fans in attendance donated to the family of McLouth student Trevor Roberts, who lost his leg to a football injury in the fall, and the numerous impressive lifts turned in by the Bobcats.
The BLHS girls piled up the individual championships.
Shelby Equels was honored as the Lifter of the Meet for her dominance in the 123-pound class. She set a meet record in the clean with a lift of 150 pounds, and she won for overall weight at 470 pounds combined between the three lifts. Her victories came in between playing basketball games Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
In the 105-pound class, Alyssa Rucker set meet records for overall weight (380 pounds) and squat (185 pounds), while teammate Shelby Miles set meet records for bench (105 pounds) and clean (115 pounds).
In the powerweight class, Mallorie Belk set a meet record in the clean (180 pounds).
Other first-place finishes came from Courtney Leive for overall weight (465 pounds) in the 132-pound class; Chelsey Journey for overall weight (465 pounds) in the 140-pound class; Brandi Stahl for clean (140 pounds) and squat (215 pounds) in the 140-pound class; Brittany Billinger for squat (245 pounds) in the 148-pound class; and Kelsie Belk for clean (155 pounds), squat (235 pounds), bench (120 pounds) and overall weight (510 pounds) in the 180-pound class.
Bellinger said it meant a lot to the BLHS girls to win their home meet, especially considering there was so much more competition this year.
“With such a big meet there were a lot more kids this year,” she said. “And it just feels good to keep our name going and know that we can still beat out (other teams) even though we had twice as many people here as last year.”
In the men’s division, the BLHS boys had a handful of champions. In the 132-pound class, Cory Stevens won the clean (225 pounds) while Russell Clark won the squat (310 pounds) and overall weight (705 pounds). In the 165-pound class, Josh Stillian won the clean with a lift of 280 pounds — good for a meet record. In addition, Justin McLaughlin won the clean in the 242-pound class with a lift of 285 pounds.
In the freshman/sophomore boys junior division, Hayden Morris finished first in the clean (95 pounds), first in squat (125 pounds) and first in total weight (290 pounds). In addition, 220-pounder Drew Potter set a junior division record with a 265-pound clean.
Basehor-Linwood next competes Saturday, Feb. 19, at West Franklin. Then the freshman/sophomore squad will travel to Horton on Feb. 26. Finally, the season will conclude with the state championships March 5 in Abilene.