Powerlifters medal at competition


Photo by Gary Lang.

Senior Jenna Stifler participates in the dead lift at the 2023 Rams Power Day competition Saturday, March 18. Central female and male teams both took first place.

Nathan Trimmer, Adviser

Saturday, March 25 is a day that Powerlifting club advisor Gary Lang will remember for a long time. The group of 37 students traveled to Parkland High School in Allentown, Pa to compete against the best high school lifters from all over the state in various lifts at the PA Teenage Powerlifting Competition.

Lifters competed against approximately 15 other schools in a number of lifts separated by age, weight class and gender. Several broke their personal records and earned medals along the way. Lavetta Gray, Jenna Stifler and Thomas Dipigula each took home first place and ten other athletes finished on the podium, too. 

“I am always proud to see when they achieve personal records, and seeing them podium against the best is rewarding,” said Lang. 

Competitive lifters participate in three different categories during competitions: squat, deadlift and bench press and begin preparing about four months in advance, according to Lang. 

“They lift three to four days a week before school, during class or FLEX, if they have it, and after school,” he said.

The competition in Parkland had athletes departing around 5:30 a.m., driving two hours to arrive and then spending the majority of the day warming up, lifting and supporting their fellow competitors. Some students didn’t walk back in the door until nearly 8 p.m. that evening. Despite the long day, they prepared to do it all over the following weekend at the Columbia-Montour Vocational School in Bloomsburg, Pa. 

Lang commended two standout athletes for their efforts over the past few years, senior Jenna Stifler and junior Levi Vargas. Stifler’s growth as a person and a lifter was highlighted.

“She’s a quiet leader. I can trust her with running the show [if I need to],” said Lang. “Two years ago she was a first-time lifter. She was strong, but I wasn’t sure I saw her winning any state titles.”

Now, Stifler holds four state titles in her age and weight class: deadlift, bench press, squat and combined totals for those three categories. 

Vargas showcases a different type of lifting.

“He is just strong,” said Lang. 

Vargas, whose self-promoted nickname is “meatball”, exhibits raw strength at lifts. He uses his size and strength to power through each event.  

Any student in grades 9-12 are welcome to join – even a standout eighth-grader is on the team this year.  The next meet for athletes will take place March 18 at Columbia Montour Vocational School in Bloomsburg, Pa followed by Nationals in Scranton, Pa March 31-April 2 where Central will take seven athletes to compete.