By Jayden Mies PHS student reporter
The Pratt High School powerlifting team had a successful day at state this past week, with multiple placers and record breakers. Even the young and beginning lifters achieved new personal record bests (PRs) on multiple lifts.
Throughout the year, Pratt has had a very successful and winning season of powerlifting. The team went to 5 total meets, and emerged from each one with multiple champions. A total of 31 kids participated in powerlifting this year, with all of them achieving new PRs throughout the season.
Powerlifting coach Brent Hoelting says that he is extremely proud of what the kids have accomplished this season. When asked what his favorite memory was of this season, he said, “It is when kids try new weights and achieve something they didn’t think they could before. It takes guts to put yourself out there and compete in powerlifting, and I’m proud of our kids for stepping up and competing all season long.”
To cap off the State meet, the Boys’ finished 3rd overall, with the Girls also competing very well. Senior Alyssa Miller competed strongly, finishing 3rd overall in the 105 lb division with first place finishes in squat and bench press. Her bench was the state meet record for her weight class as well. Freshmen Rielyn Fleming and Jade Baker also competed well, both finishing 2nd in bench press in their respective weight classes. The Boys also had multiple kids who lifted very well. Sophomore Nathan Chavez finished 6th in the 123 lb division, and Senior Liam Primrose got 3rd overall in the 220 lb division, who achieved a new PR and 2nd place finish in bench press with 300 lbs.
The Greenbacks also brought home 3 state champions. Junior Johnny Martinez placed 1st in bench press and 2nd in squat to claim the 140 lb state champion title, his second in a row. Senior Keishaune Thompson competed very strongly as well, achieving the 148 lb state title with 1st place finishes in bench and clean, and a 2nd place finish in squat. Lastly, Enoch Walton displayed a dominant performance, earning first place in all three lifts. Walton finished with a 525 lb squat, 360 lb bench, and a 320 lb clean, the last two being PRs for him. He also achieved the state meet overall record of 1,205 lbs.
Walton said this meet and season will forever be a core memory in his heart. He said that powerlifting has changed him for the better in many ways, and has helped shape him into the man that he is today.
As a leader in the weight room, he said that the thing he is most proud of is the improvement that he sees in both young and veteran lifters every single day.
“Seeing a large group come back this year and being able to tell that they’ve gotten stronger is awesome to me because it shows that they’ve been putting in the work,” he said.
When asked what his favorite moment of the season was, he said that it was undoubtedly the recent state meet.
“It was eye opening that four years went by like nothing and that my last meet was under way,” he said. “It was also great to be able to compete against friends from other schools that I’ve played football against over the years.”
One thing in particular, however, pushed Enoch to new limits that he had never reached before.
“My dad drove 10 hours to come watch me at my last ever powerlifting meet, which meant the world to me. I know that without him there I wouldn’t have hit the numbers that I did that day,” he said.
Enoch ended the meet with not only the 3A 242 lb. state championship title after his name, but also the title of the strongest 242 lb. lifter in Kansas 3A history.
“Powerlifting changed me as a person for the better and it taught me that if you are willing to work for it, you can achieve it,” he said.