DANVILLE — Danville High School will host one of its biggest contests of the year on Saturday, with hundreds of participants competing. The school gymnasium will be transformed for the 16th annual Danville Powerlifting Meet.
“This is a big fundraiser we do every year,” said Danville football coach Charlie Duncan. “We have teams come from all over Ohio, all the way from Division I schools to Division VI. We have local schools participating as well. Fredericktown is back again this year, and Loudonville joined in this year and is coming down. ... It is a busy day. We usually start with weigh-ins at 8:30, and the meet actually starts at 11 a.m. We compete all day long, in the bench, squat and dead lift.”
Among the teams committed to participating this year are Ashland, North Canton Hoover, Fredericktown, Loudonville, River View, Ontario and host Danville. Several other teams could also show up the day of the event, and Duncan would not be surprised.
“Massillon is our defending champ from last year, but I don’t think they are going to be able to make it,” said Duncan. “Hoover finished second and River View was third last year, and they are both coming back. I think we will put on a good show again this year.”
During last year’s meet, eight records were broken. Typically, there are between 10 and 15 teams competing in the 12 weight classes.
“The way it works is each participant gets three attempts to try to get their best lift in those different categories,” Duncan said. “They compete in their own weight classes. We also break it up into divisions where sophomores and freshmen compete against each other, and junior and seniors compete against each other. ... We also have a girls division.”
Awards are given to the top six placers in each division. Teams are also awarded for their total overall weight.
For Duncan, the meet comes at a good time. Football season has been over for a couple of months and there are still a few months before the summer camps.
“Right now, it is a down time for football nuts,” Duncan said. “This gives us something to look forward to, the competition. Lifting and condition is also something that is huge in football, but it is also important in other sports. We get players who play football, basketball and baseball. This gives them an opportunity to put all of that hard work from the weight room into competition. It has taken off real big. I know there is a lot of schools picking up on it.”
With the emergence of this meet, powerlifting has taken on a new meaning in Danville. This gives the Blue Devils a great opportunity to get in better shape, while coming together as a team.
“This is definitely important for us,” said Duncan. “We are a very small school, and don’t get the numbers out that some of the school do. We need to be conditioned and be very strong. At Danville, we have been lifting for years, and we really take the weight room seriously. This is just another way of getting us to the next level. All of our success starts in the offseason through programs like this. Games are won and lost in the offseason.”
Duncan encourages anyone that might be interested in experiencing a powerlifting to come out on Saturday and see what it is all about.
“This has turned out to be a good spectator sport,” said Duncan. “We get the stands going, and family and friends are there. Schools support each other, and that is really interesting, especially when we get down toward the end. Some of the athletes are trying for meet records, and that’s when the crowd starts to really get into it. It gets pretty loud.”
The money raised from Saturday’s event will go to help with equipment for the football program as well as other athletic programs in the Danville School District.
“The money goes to support our team — uniforms and things like that. It also goes into our booster club, which supports all of our sports,” said Duncan. “We’ve put money back into our weight room, and that helps the football team and the other sports teams. It really benefits the entire athletic program.”