DANVILLE — For some incredible feats of strength, look no further than Danville.
Weightlifters from schools all around Ohio descended on Danville High School on Saturday for the 18th annual Danville Powerlifting Meet.
This year, 250 participants came from 19 Ohio schools to take part. Local schools, such as Mount Vernon, East Knox, Fredericktown and host Danville, were represented. Some lifters were from as far away as Hoover High School in Canton.
“This is the first time Massillon isn’t a part of this,” event organizer Brad Walls said. “Massillon usually wins a lot of these events.”
Each participant is placed in one of 12 weight classes. They are then further divided by junior class (freshmen and sophomores) and senior class (juniors and seniors). Each individual competes in the bench press, the squat and the dead lift. Awards are given to the top six placers in each category.
From the first meet back in 1994, the event has grown to its largest ever. Walls credits an increase in the overall interest in weightlifting, as well as the influence of Danville head football coach Ed Honabarger, for the event’s more recent success.
“There’s been more emphasis on lifting through the football program,” Walls said. “Ed has re-emphasized lifting as part of the offseason program.”
It certainly showed from Danville’s perspective.
The Blue Devils finished second as a team, just 465 points shy of Zanesville and well ahead of third-place Clear Fork. Danville’s Heath Buckingham finished second in the 185-pound weight class. Joey Gonzales and Cody Inverso finished third in their respective classes. Michael Hawkins came in first in the 175-pound junior weight class.
Devon Wilson, a junior and offensive tackle for the Danville football team, established a new meet record when he made a successful deadlift of 570 pounds. The points were only enough to give him second place, however.
Among other area athletes, Mount Vernon’s Colton Walker finished first in the 145-pound junior weight class. East Knox’s Ian Lashley came in second in the 195-pound junior weight class. And Fredericktown’s Josh Neff came in sixth among juniors and seniors in the 250-pound category.