Powerlifting, the Team With Tradition


Written by: Alyssa Tyler, Editor-in-Chief

A sea of green and gold starts making its way down the bleachers to the middle of the gym. Where all of the judges, coaches, athletes and parents can see. The group creates a circle large enough to take up the gym. A chant of counting rises above the quiet murmur of talking. The sound of stamping feet, counting and occasionally clapping fills the room. Everyone can see the Basehor-Linwood powerlifting team warming up, they are in the center of everyone’s mind. For the past 14 years, the girls’ team has created something not seen in any other schools. 

The sound of clanging weights fill the gym as the meet begins. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people pack into the makeshift weight room in the main gym. Dodging haphazardly put together squat racks and lifters waiting to compete. Random shouts of ‘get it up’, ‘light weight’ and ‘too easy’ fill the room. Girls stand with their belts around their waists, bouncing on their toes, waiting to complete their lift. The familiar feeling of nervousness creeps up on them, sweaty hands, bouncing legs and absolute focus on the lift. Each girl competing knows what this feels like. The joy of getting a new best, the fear of not getting it. There are countless things to be fearful of. The fear of getting scratched for depth on squat, dropping the bar for clean and racking the bar too soon on bench. But between teammates, there is a simple understanding. There is a tradition created by classes before that can’t be broken. No one wants to be the class to lose the streak. 

The streak was created 14 years ago, when the first girls’ powerlifting team won their first state championship. From there, the team has never lost a meet. And as former powerlifting head coach and current athletic director Ross Schwisow once said, ‘no one likes a winner.’

Walking into a meet, there is always a sense of intimidation. Comparing the sea of green and gold lifters to the red, orange and purple. There is confidence in numbers, but there is fear in a streak this long. But the one thing that can guarantee success, is not natural talent. But the amount of time put into the weightroom, and outside of it. 

Behind each Saturday meet, there are weekdays filled with lifts. From squats to bench. From running to stretching. The music blares from speakers, pens with workout cards are stranded throughout the weight room and when the personal best bell rings, with yells of encouragement after it. 

The weight room has more purpose than just getting stronger. It’s becoming a better person, learning to find the joy in failing and succeeding and finding a reason to get better everyday. Every movement has purpose, every supplemental has a reason behind it and every practice has a chance. A chance for students to get better, stronger and to continue the tradition created by classes before them.