Powerlifters compete at first competition since COVID-19 began

On Sat. Apr. 2, the ETHS Barbell Club competed in its first competition of the year: the Titan Regional, held at Glenbrook South. In addition to the meet being the club’s first contest this year, it was also its first meet in two years, as Barbell Club has not been offered since 2020 due to COVID-19. But despite this extended hiatus, the prowess of ETHS Strength was put on full display at Glenbrook South as the team achieved four individual first place finishes.

On the girls side, juniors Daisy Frazier, Ashland Henson and senior Julissa Diaz were all able to rise to the top of their weight classes. On the deadlift, Frazier was able to successfully stand-up 305 pounds, and on the squat, Henson lifted 230, a personal best. As a whole, the girls regiment of the ETHS Barbell Club finished second, behind Maine West, but ahead of New Trier, Glenbrook South, Vernon Hills and Saint Viator.

Interestingly, although Henson logged her highest finish of the day in the backsquat, she says her favorite movement to perform is actually the deadlift.

“My favorite lift to perform is deadlift because it’s my strongest lift with a max of 295,” Henosn states. “I just really enjoy it, but squat would be a close second because of how fast I have progressed with it.”

On the boys side, junior Gabe Rosen, a lineman on the football team and soon-to-be Divison I commit, backsquated an absolutely MASSIVE 515 pounds, and because that just wasn’t enough for him, topped that off with a 585 pound deadlift. For perspective, most refrigerators weigh less than 400 pounds, and vending machines usually weigh between 400-900 pounds. Almost literally, Rosen lifted a fridge. He finished first in his weight class.

As powerlifting is not an official IHSA sport, it functions quite a bit differently than other high school sports. In fact, the only time the team as a whole is really together is meets–there aren’t even mandatory practices

But these differences don’t make powerlifters any less dedicated to their craft than other athletes, nor the sport itself lower-stakes.

“Being a club sport, we have a different approach to our program than traditional sports teams. We meet as a group to discuss important updates, announcements, and to go to meets, but training for the sport happens in different capacities,” explains Strength Coach Maaz Ahmed. “Athletes train according to their schedule because [they] have varying priorities, goals, and commitment levels… Other athletes are more focused on powerlifting itself as a sport and train year round for that… Based on their goals, we create or advise athletes on training programs. I would not call it low-stakes, but rather individualized because everyone trains and is committed to getting stronger and better.”

With the Titan Regional now concluded, the Barbell Club has one other competition, state, to look forward to. It will happen at New Trier’s Northfield campus on a to-be-determined date sometime in May.

And even with the year winding down, Coach Ahmend believes now it is not too late to join the Barbell club.

Powerlifting is fun, it’s simple, and pretty much anyone can do it. We are always accepting people to join the Barbell Club. Even if you have no prior experience and just want to start training, we will welcome you, as long as you are committed to becoming stronger.”