Iron Dreads’ Heavy Metal Shines at Varsity and JV State Finals


Dexter Places at Varsity State Powerlifting Finals

Dexter High School's Iron Dread Women's and Men's Varsity Teams showcased their strength and skill at the Michigan High School Powerlifting Meet in Adrian, Michigan.

Seven Dexter athletes qualified for the March 4 state competition, each athlete needed to be ranked in the top 20 lifters in their respective weight classes based on their total weight lifted in the squat, bench press, and deadlift events.

Dexter’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chris Whittaker, is impressed by his athletes. “Imagine lifting your car’s engine off the ground with your bare hands and holding it there for a few seconds,” he says. “Powerlifting is an amazing sport to watch!”

As the tempered barbells begin to arc under the heavy cast-iron plates, the deadlifts drop with a reverberating crash after being signaled by the judge, and opponents and team members congratulated the lifters, the Iron Dreads made their presence known.

The women's team delivered impressive performances, with seniors Anika Busdeker and Ashley Mazurek finishing in 6th and 7th places, respectively, in their weight classes. Junior Lana Burns secured 11th place in her weight class, setting a personal best with a 315lb deadlift which puts her amongst the top deadlifts in Iron Dread Powerlifting history. Other team members, including junior Lily Burns and seniors Whitley Fowler and Gracie Garcia, also achieved personal bests during the competition.

On the men's side, senior Daniel Delduca placed 7th in his weight class, lifting a combined total of 1,180 pounds and setting several school records. Daniel squatted 385 lbs, bench pressed 320 lbs and deadlifted 415 lbs, all personal bests with some as new Dexter school records.

Dexter Excels at JV State Powerlifting Finals

Dexter's JV Iron Dread lifters also had a strong showing at the Flint and Kearsley High School competition.

The Iron Dread Girls were represented by Rayne Cook, Kera Root, Lilly Mitchell, Chloe Burns, Debbie McCoy, Savannah Lowe, Maiah Dunham, Lourdes Patierno, and Maddie Talsma.

The girls' team secured a 4th place overall finish, with standout performances by Rayne Cook, who took 1st place in her division with 720 lbs and reset her state record for bench press with 165 lbs.

In the 114-weight class, Lilly Mitchell took third with 505 lbs. Chloe Burns placed fourth with 495 lbs. Miah Dunham took seventh with 455 lbs. Maddie Talsma placed seventh in her division with 410 lbs.

Congratulations to all five who placed in the top ten of their divisions.

The boys who qualified included Paul Cipolla, Luke Cook, Noah Fernando, Jack Godfrey, Noah Rieder, Cole Novara, Kyle Sislo, Grant Goodrich, Carter Haist, Ethan Knehr, Jacob Alvarado, Nathan Gershi, Trevor Jankovic, Spencer Briggs, and Cameron Clark.

The boys' team placed 5th out of 55 schools. All performed at or above their previous personal bests. Notable individual finishes included Luke Cook 5th place in 123 with 635 lbs, Noah Fernando 5th Place in 145 with 855 lbs, Cole Novarra 8th place in 145 with 825 lbs, Grant Goodrich 4th place in 165 with 985 lbs, Nathan Gersh 7th Place in 207 with 1010 lbs, and Trevor Jankovic 2nd place in 242 with 1200 lbs.

This was another strong season for Iron Dread Powerlifting, with 120 kids competing at two regional meets, Grass Lake (12/17/22) and our own Iron Dread Regional (2/18/23), to qualify for the state meets.

“We Broke many personal and School records throughout the season,” says Coach Whittaker. “We hope to continue building stronger, more durable, and more confident humans in our strength program, many of which will wind up competing in powerlifting.”

Many thanks go out to Ryan Maki and Mike Delduca for their tireless and charitable photography work.

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