NEENAH – The Neenah High School girls powerlifting team won its 14th state championship earlier this month at the Wisconsin High School Powerlifting Association state meet in Racine.
The Rockets finished with 72 points to easily claim the top spot in Division 1 in the equipped division. Racine Horlick finished second with 45 points.
Delaney Ortiz, Nina Duffeck and Kristin Opiela won individual state championships for the Neenah girls in the equipped division.
The Neenah boys finished second in Division 1 in the equipped division. Germantown won the team title with 73 points, while Neenah was second with 43. The Neenah boys also finished second in the Division 1 raw division.
The Neenah boys also had three champions: Brayden Londerville, Bryce Londerville and Alex Boehlen. The Londervilles won in the equipped division, while Boehlen won in the raw division.
“We’re extremely pleased,” Neenah coach Joe Lewis said. “We had seven champions from kids we train, six from Neenah and one from St. Mary Catholic (Sophia Dionne). Some of these kids went in with a No. 1 ranking and often times that can rattle a kid if they’ve been considered the top lifter in the state. These kids were super focused.”
Opiela set the state record in dead lift (210 kg) and finished with a total of 517.5 kg to edge Carlie Walker of Whitnall (505.0 kg) for the overall title, which combines dead lift, bench press and squat.
“She had a real hard-fought battle with the girl from Whitnall,” Lewis said. “She led through most of the meet, then the girl from Whitnall made a heroic pull that was like 10 kilos over her personal best ever to put the pressure on Kristin, so Kristin needed to make her last pull to guarantee the title.”
Duffeck finished with a three-lift total of 412.5 kg to win her championship.
“She’s been seeded No. 1 for most of the season,” Lewis said. “She matched her season-best total. She stayed very, very composed.”
Ortiz, who was seeded second in her division, won the state title with a combined total of 272.5 kg.
Dionne set the state record in her division for squat (195 kg) and finished with a three-lift total of 437.5 kg to win the state title.
“Every lift she did was a personal best,” Lewis said. “When you can go 9-for-9 and set a state record, that’s a pretty good day.”
For the boys, Brayden Londerville won his division with a total lift of 332.5 kg, Bryce Londerville took first in his division with a 390.0 total and Boehlen won his division with a 600.0 total.
Lewis, who started the Neenah program in 1989, said he has about 60 lifters in the program this season.
“It’s gone through different waves,” Lewis said. “At times we were talking 85 to 90 kids out. Then numbers dropped into the 30s or 40s. Now they’re back up into the 50s and 60s. One of the reasons we’ve been as successful as we have is we’ve had a lot of former lifters come back and coach with us. I have an amazing group of coaches, I really do. They were a very large reason why we have been able to sustain the success that we have had. The quality of assistant coaches I’ve had has just been amazing.”
Other state champions included Jane Krueger of Winneconne, who lifted 387.5 kg to win her weight class; Jessica Hubley of Xavier, who lifted 275.0 kg to win her division and set a state record in the dead lift (135.0 kg); and Mitchell Gibson of Winneconne, who lifted 565.0 kg.
The Xavier boys’ team finished in second place with 53 points in the Division 2 raw division. New Richmond took first place with 60 points.