Morton saw a new sport take shape in 2022. Powerlifting is an event in which athletes compete in weight class and build strength and confidence for other sports.
Coach Keith Oldham came to Morton with over 38 years of coaching experience, having coached in about 23 different school districts. His focus at Morton was to start a new powerlifting program to help the school’s athletes build strength while still having an opportunity to compete against other schools.
“It’s great for the overall athletic program to build strength in our athletes,” Oldham said. “The athletes get to compete against others in the same weight class, so it is evenly matched.”
Oldham said that there were eleven athletes competing for Morton this year, five boys and six girls.
“The only thing that hurt us is numbers,” Oldham said. ” We only had five boys and it was not enough to compete as a team. A team needs 2-12 lifters.”
The competition is based on squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. These are added together for the total weight lifted.
“We formed a co-op of five schools,” Oldham said. “There aren’t too many meets available in this area.”
The District Meet for that co=op was held in Morton in the newly dedicated athletic facility. Oldham said there was a great deal of work that went into putting on the meet in Morton for the first time, but that it was worth it. Three of the Morton girls advanced to the regional meet based their performances at Morton.
“My goal is that every boy and every girl in athletics will do Powerlifting,” Oldham said. “It makes them a better athlete and it makes sure we will have full teams. If we had a full team, we would be winning.”
Coach Oldham thinks that this is just the beginning of the Morton program and that great things are yet to come.
“I appreciate the kids that have come out and worked hard and done a really great job,” Oldham said. “I’m really proud of them. The girls were undefeated and the boys were 2nd and 3rd, we were well represented. They worked hard and got stronger. Hopefully, in the future, we will get more kids involved.”
Sophomore Clarissa Holland explained that Powerlifting for her is trying to add more and more weight to get the highest total possible so she could advance to regional.
“Practice is very, very rough,” Holland said. “You have to get up really early in the morning to go and do it.”
Holland said that for the first meet she was very anxious.
“My first meet I thought I would do really badly,” Holland said. “But once I started doing it, it was all OK.”
Halland says she plans to continue lifting for her junior year.
“I do plan on doing Powerlifting next year,” Holland said. ” I just want to get better and if I do, every year I will get better and better.”
For Freshman Christian Enriquez, taking Powerlifting was a chance to get stronger and compete against others.
“My best experience was hitting a weight I had not been able to do before,” Enriquez said. “It made me feel like I could do even more.”
Junior Xavier Ramon decided to try Powerlifting because it was something new.
“My best experience was being able to lift the most weight I could and being able to push myself,” Ramon said.
For all the lifters, they say that practice is difficult but worth the effort, and that they are nervous at the competitions.
“My first meet I was nervous,” Ramon said. “It was nerve-wracking, but it was fun competing with all the other people. I like being able to push myself”