After four years of winning the Mississippi 8 weight lifting meet, the Monticello Magic were forced to settle for second at the meet held at Buffalo High School last week. But in a sport where there is no such thing as defense, Coach Joe Macki was more than happy with the way his kids performed, and the progress Magic athletes continue to show in the weight room.
“It was a really good showing by our kids,” said Macki. “We set some conference records and had a lot of kids get [personal records].”
The weight lifting meet, which began as a way to draw more kids into the weight room at conference schools, was successful as a whole. Over 200 kids participated in the meet.
Macki said competition is a huge driving force to not only get the kids to the meet, but also to get them in the weight room all winter preparing for the meet.
“The kids like to be a part of something,” said Macki, who brought 50 Magic athletes to the meet. “I’m adament that we do something like this, because it gives the kids something to work for.”
A lot of that work paid off at the meet last week.
The Magic had numerous athletes show at the top of their division with their weight lifting performance.
On the female side of the event, Tess Voller was Monticello’s highest finisher. Voller, just a sophomore, finished second in the female one weight class (the lightest class) on a tiebreak. Her lifts, 115 pounds on bench press and 125 on clean both matched conference records.
At the 148-pound male weight class Andy Bales brought home the overall championship, lifting a class-high 250 pounds on bench and a class-high 225 pounds on clean. His total weight of 475 put him 10 pounds ahead of the second place competitor.
Monticello would continue its dominance through the middle weights.
At 157 pounds Matt Bonk lifted a total of 470 pounds (220 bench press and 250 clean) to squeek out a five-pound win in his weight class.
At 165 pounds junior Lowell Laudart put up 455 total pounds of weight, led by an impressive 235 pound total on the bench press.
Austin Felber, lifting at 181 pounds, benched a whopping 300 pounds on his way to 540 pounds of total weight, 60 pounds more than anyone else in his weight class put up.
That made it a four-weight sweep of the middle classes for Monticello’s lifters.
But perhaps the best was saved for last, or, near last.
In the second biggest weight class (215 pounds or under), Monticello’s Jake Olson turned in one of the most impressive performances of the meet. Olson benched 255, the best performance in his class. Then on cleans, he topped that. He put up 315 pounds, the highest total at the meet regardless of weight class, and a new conference record.
“Jake was outstanding,” said Macki.
All tolled, the top performances, along with numerous other high finishers gave the Magic 114 points. That put them 22 points behind St. Michael-Albertville, and well ahead of Buffalo and Rogers.
“I think it was a bitter pill for the kids to swallow,” said Macki, about finishing second. “But in a way we actually did better than we have in the past because of the number of kids who [set personal records].
The conference meet isn’t the only place Magic lifters have found success this year.
Led by 2012 Magic graduate Uli Manzanilla, Monticello lifters have started to become active and find success in the olympic lifts (snatch and clean jerk).
Macki got a couple of kids involved with olympic lifts a little over a year ago, and has watched the number grow near double digits.
The lifts provide two benefits to the kids. One, Macki believes they are more explosive lifts, helping to add strength to an athlete’s power base. Two, since olympic lifts have a strong club following, and multiple meets in the state, they allow kids another chance to compete.
Manzanilla and a few other Magic athletes have taken advantage of that.
Anna Macki and Andrew Manning both progressed far enough in the olympic lifts to qualify for state this year, even though they did not attend due to scheduling conflicts.
And Manzanilla, well, he has quickly grown into a record setter. At a USA Weightlifting event this winter Manzanilla set a state record for the 69 kg weight class in the clean and jerk with a jerk of 118 kg.
Manzanilla says he was energized by what Macki referred to as an electric crowd at the meet.
“You get that adrenaline rush, you get all pumped up,” he said. “You get that first lift, and then you just keep going. It’s just a huge rush.”
For Macki, the rush is seeing the growth of the lifting program, and seeing the success transfer out of the weight room.
“Anybody can go put weight on a bar and move it, but can it translate to what you do on the field, on the court or on the hockey rink,” said Macki. “I think that we’ve seen that translate. Take a look at our sports over the last two to three years and you see that hey, we are pretty strong.”
Contact Clay Sawatzke at firstname.lastname@example.org