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Powerlifting team sweeps state meet with two first-place titles

March 21, 2022

It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. This has become the motto of Central’s powerlifting team, and they proved to take it to heart at their final meet this year.  

Midland University hosted Nebraska’s high school state powerlifting meet on Feb. 26-27. Central’s boys team placed first for the third year in a row, and Central’s girls improved upon their runner-up title from last year with a first-place title. 

Dennis Baker, powerlifting coach and Central teacher, is proud of his team and all of their accomplishments this year.  

“I always ask the team to give me their best effort and that is exactly what they did. This year’s team will go down as one of the best,” Baker said.  

Credit for the team’s motto goes to him.  

“I always tell the kids, ‘it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.’  We needed to finish strong and do their best,” Baker said. “The boys had a chance to be three-time state champions. Also, we had a clean sweep, winning both boys and girls team trophies at all of our meets this year.” 

Multiple female and male lifters contributed to the team’s success throughout the year and at their state meet.  

Junior Dev Biswa placed first in his weight class of 123 lbs. and received Outstanding Male Lifter of the Meet award. He also broke three of his previously set school records.  

Senior Ke’Ron Simmons placed first in the 220 lb. weight class and broke three school records. 

At the 242 lb. class, Central took the top two spots with senior Omar Jackson in first and junior Draven Schnase in second.  

Senior Larry Moreland III placed first in his weight class of 275 lbs. with a total lift of 650 kilograms. At the 275+ lb. weight class, senior Jimmy Coffey took home first place with a total lift of 605 kilograms. 

At the girl’s state meet on Feb. 27, senior Romyn Hutton placed first in the 105 lb. weight class with a total lift of 245 kilograms. Central’s girls swept the 114 lb. weight class, taking the top five spots, with senior Mary Mayberger in the first-place position with a total lift of 297.5 kilograms. Mayberger also broke a school record and placed second in girl’s equipped best lifter.  

Powerlifting has shown Mayberger that she can accomplish more than she ever expected, even when the odds are against her.  

“It is a very male dominated sport, so I found out that many people will doubt girls and undermine the amount they can lift, so being part of such a successful girls’ team was very refreshing,” Mayberger said.  

She’s going to miss her teammates and coaches more than anything. They became a close-knit group as the season progressed. 

“Everyone was always there to cheer and support each other. Powerlifting team is such a positive environment to be a part of, and I was extremely lucky to be surrounded with the people I was and have the coaches I did,” Mayberger said.   

Senior Adah Gibson placed second in the 123 lb. weight class with a combined lift of 272.5 kilograms. Junior Amelia Larson matched that total lift and placed second in her 132 lb. weight class.  

Sophomore Ke’Ijha Hadley placed first in the heavyweight class, lifting a grand total of 460 kilograms.  

Along with the rest of her team, Mayberger is “extremely proud” of the outcome of their state performance. “We have all worked extremely hard this year to accomplish what we did,” Mayberger said. “I am very happy with how the year ended.” 

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