The Olympia High School (OHS) powerlifting program recently wrapped the season with a successful showing at the state competition and with multiple athletes breaking state records. Powerlifting at OHS has experienced significant growth within the first few years of the program, with over 30 student athletes on the team this season. Coach Ryan Pittman is proud of the students and their progress throughout the season and is excited to see the program expand in the coming years.

Olympia High Powerlifting Has Strong Season

The powerlifting season began in January and with a new season also brought new student athletes to the team. The current powerlifting program at OHS is in its third season, with previous smaller teams competing in 2018 and 2022. After a strong season last year, the team expanded to 35 athletes across the boy’s and girl’s teams for this season. And over the course of the season, student athletes had strong showings at the five regular season meets, including a meet that took place at the Northwest Christian Academy in Lacey, where both the boy’s and girl’s teams won the overall team championship for the meet.

Twenty-four student athletes on the OHS powerlifting team qualified for the state championship, which took place in May. At the state competition, the boy’s team won first place overall and the girl’s team won second place overall. Five members of the OHS powerlifting team won individual state titles, including Diego Vasquez Luna in the 114 boys weight class, Josh Muckian in the 132 boys weight class, Sammy Sacks in the 114 girls weight class, Alyssa Feldhausen in the 132 girls weight class and Grace Stone in the 220+ girls weight class. Six state records were also broken by members of the OHS powerlifting team.

group photo of the Olympia powerlifting team
Olympia High School powerlifting team recently wrapped its third season, with a successful showing at the state competition including multiple athletes breaking state records. Photo courtesy: Ryan Pittman

Olympia High School Powerlifting Coach Encourages Athletes to Work Toward Goals

Most members of the OHS powerlifting team were new to the team this season and despite the different reasons athletes had for joining the team, many of the athletes have found a supportive environment, where they can learn how to set and work toward individual targets.

Senior Elliott Plaza joined the power lifting team at OHS because powerlifting is the one of the more competitive versions of the lifting sport and was a great venue to practice goal-setting.  “You can push yourself a lot, make goals, and it just kind of teaches you how to work hard and push through stuff,” says Plaza.

“Succeeding with a team is a very different feeling than smashing your record alone, because being in that position where you hit a new personal record, you’re so excited, and then everyone else is excited for you individually,” says Jayma Bundy, a junior who usually competes in team sports. “It’s a completely different feeling than winning with a team. And I think powerlifting is one of the most supportive sports out there.”

Olympia high school weightlifting team
Most members of the Olympia High School powerlifting team were new to the team this season. They have found a supportive environment, where they can learn how to set and work toward individual goals. Photo courtesy: Ryan Pittman

Junior Alyssa Feldhausen was inspired to join the team after participating in a strength and conditioning class at OHS, which was taught by Pittman. As a member of the powerlifting team this season, Feldhausen has enjoyed making progress in the sport and reaching individual goals. “I love the enjoyment of just kind of reaching that next goal,” says Feldhausen. “And then it’s like, okay, what’s the next one? And continuously making that progress and actually being able to see that progress.”

“The one thing I like about high school is it’s not just individual, like I’ve made super close friends, just from the team,” says Sophomore Sammy Sacks, who previously competed in weightlifting with another organization. Sacks. “And having people at meets just to run up to after you get a PR or something, is a feeling that, you can’t even describe it. Like, after Alyssa broke the record, we were all running over and jumping, giving her hugs. And it’s just having that team aspect, also while doing a sport you love is just, it’s my favorite part.”

Pittman is thrilled to see the progress of the athletes throughout the season, and has been working with each athlete along the way to help them achieve their individual goals.  “My whole thing for students and for my athletes is just to set those goals themselves, then find ways to push through to meet those goals,” says PIttman. “And so that makes my job easy, because all we’re doing is looking at our own individual numbers and trying to chase those through the season and just progressing a little bit here and there at every meet, which we did a very good job of this year. And so, that’s my approach on things is just, setting those goals, meeting them and celebrating all the little goals in the way of big goals.”

At the state championship, the team banded together to support one another through the many emotions that accompany a statewide competition. And after this successful season, members of the team are excited to see continued growth and sportsmanship for the program in future years. “I think just knowing what we can do, we’re all really excited for what’s next,” says Bundy.

To learn more about the powerlifting team, or about athletics at Olympia High School, visit the Olympia High School website.

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