YHS Weightlifters Win National Honors

By Jacob Dimond / jake@yelmonline.com
Posted 6/14/22

Yelm High School has added yet another athletic achievement to its resume, as YHS weightlifters helped the school secure a first place finish in the USA Lifting Competition.

The Tornados featured …

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YHS Weightlifters Win National Honors

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Yelm High School has added yet another athletic achievement to its resume, as YHS weightlifters helped the school secure a first place finish in the USA Lifting Competition.

The Tornados featured 25 competitors and had two of its students secure overall first place finishes. Yelm collectively finished with 17,040 points as a team, which was good enough to secure a first place victory. The second closest school was Gerstell Academy, a private school in Carroll County, Maryland.

The month-long competition took place throughout April. Participants maxed out the three lifts — bench press, back-squat and power clean — while recording its submission that was sent to the USA Lifting judges. Different rules were set for the competition. They included regulation on form and depth for the different lifts. Once submitted, the judges would either certify the lift, or disqualify the lift for not meeting standards.

The total weight of the three combined lifts determined the points each athlete scored. Prior to each lift attempt, competitors also had to show the weight on camera.

“Each of our lifting classes spent the whole month of April grinding. Kids during that time would max out and film themselves,” said Thomas Hoghaug, a physical education teacher and weight coach at Yelm High School. “They’d save and upload the videos to the website for approval.”

Junior Ray Wright (219) and sophomore Landen Barger (238+) each took first place in their respective weight class. Wright finished with a total of 1,025 pounds and points. The junior had a power clean of 305 pounds, a back-squat of 495 pounds and a bench press of 225. According to Hoghaug, Wright could’ve easily surpassed 225 on the bench.

Sophomore Barger totaled 1,095 pounds and points during the competition. He posted a power clean of 275 pounds, a back-squat of 500 pounds, and a bench press of 320 pounds.

Hoghaug said every P.E. class at Yelm participated in the event, and around 25 Tornados posted numbers in the competition.



Yelm also had several second place finishers. They include Slater Creamer who competed in the men’s 119-pound weight class. Creamer finished with a total of 435 pounds, which included a 95 pound power clean, a 225 pound back-squat, and a bench press of 115.

Darren Stone also finished in second place for the Tornados with a total of 545. He finished with a power clean of 165, a back-squat of 235, and a bench press of 145.

Onyx Carter and Kollin Gifford each finished in third place for the Tornados.

Several Tornados on the girl’s side also placed for the team. They included Kalena Randal, Kailei Thompson and Sage Rough. Randal totaled 290 in her respective weight class with a 70 pound power clean, a 145 pound back-squat, and a 75 pound bench press, earning fourth.

Thompson totaled 270 with a back squat of 125, a 45 pound bench press, and a 100 pound power clean. Rough finished with a total of 270 as well, with an 80 pound power clean, a 125 pound back-squat, and a 65 pound bench press.

“I thought we did great for our first time,” Hoghaug said. “There is room for vast improvement, but I really enjoyed seeing kids wanting to improve themselves on lifts.”

Yelm High School plans to participate in the competition again next April. 

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