By Matt Goisman
McALESTER — When he took over as Wilburton’s head football coach over the summer, Frank Marsaln quickly set up a weight-room regimen for his young squad. The 2014 football season is still seven months away, but the Diggers — along with most other local football teams — have continued weight-training in the offseason.
That training included a trip to Prague for a powerlifting meet Thursday and Friday. Sixteen eighth-grade and high school powerlifters competed for Wilburton, and eight placed.
“I’m not a crazy powerlifting guy,” Marsaln said Tuesday. “I just know that the bigger, faster, stronger you are, the better you’re going to be.
“This is just another way to compete, and they need to compete. Kids need to compete every way they can.”
Wilburton’s ninth-grade team had the most success, scoring 48 points and finishing seventh out of 10 small-school teams. Devin Evans led the Diggers, placing second overall in the heavyweight class and winning outstanding bench press.
Evans squatted 395 pounds and took second in that event, according to results sent by Prague coach Dan Maly on Wednesday. He bench-pressed 285 pounds — the best bench in any weight class in the ninth-grade meet — and deadlifted 405 pounds to get second in that event as well.
Evans’ 1,085 total pounds tied Joe Howshar from Allen for first. But because Howshar weighed in 80 pounds lighter than Evan, Howshar had a higher weight coefficient and won the tiebreaker.
Dillon Browne took third in the 132-pound class and in all three individual events. Browne squatted 235, benched 145 and deadlifted 300.
Sam Gaddard took fourth in the 132-pound class. He squatted 250, benched 135 and deadlifted 275, finishing second in the squat and fourth in the other two events.
Chance Swafford took third in the 198-pound class. Swafford squatted 235, benched 175 and deadlifted 305, finishing third in bench press and fourth in deadlift.
Travis Holsten and Anthony Glover both competed in the 148-pound class, but neither placed. Holsten squatted 215, benched 165 and deadlifted 295; Glover squatted 215, benched 115 and deadlifted 260.
Okemah won the ninth-grade meet with 77 total points.
Levi Knight led Wilburton’s eighth-grade powerlifters, finishing third in the 132-pound weight class. He squatted 210, benched 135 and deadlifted 235, taking second in the bench press and third in the other two events.
Travis Moody finished fourth in the 181-pound class. He squatted 235, benched 185 and deadlifted 335, taking third in bench press and fifth in deadlift.
Tyler Crabtree finished fifth in the 105-pound class. He squatted 150, benched 110 and deadlifted 200, taking fourth in the bench press and fifth in the other two events.
Cutler Lacy took third in the bench press but didn’t place overall in the heavyweight class. He squatted 240, benched 165 and deadlifted 320.
Ian Mooers took fifth in the bench press but didn’t place overall in the 165-pound class. He squatted 165, benched 115 and deadlifted 225.
Wilburton’s eighth-grade team finished ninth out 12 small-school teams with 28 points. Afton won with 154.
Sophomore Tyler Barnes led the Wilburton high school team, placing fourth in the 198-pound class. He squatted 340, benched 295 and took second in that event and deadlifted 410.
None of Wilburton’s other four high school powerlifters placed. Jacob Killion squatted 260 in the 198-pound class, benched 155 and deadlifted 280.
Josh Kendrick squatted 250 in the 181-pound class, benched 205 and deadlifted 340. Samuel Samples squatted 235 in the 242-pound class, benched 145 and deadlifted 225.
Cody Silva squatted 280 in the 275-pound class, benched 180 and deadlifted 325. Scoring six points, Wilburton’s high school team finished 16th.
Okemah won the high school meet with 119 points.
Marsaln said the powerlifting meets serve as an extra enticement for football players to stay in shape during the offseason. He said the chance at medals and awards can keep players motivated when offseason training starts to feel like a grind.
“Jenks doesn’t go to powerlifting meets, but they’re lifting year-round.” Marsaln said. “But small schools, it’s another way to compete, and I think it’s a good idea.”
Looking “impressive” in Marsaln’s words, Hartshorne senior Dylan Pingleton finished second in the 220-pound class. He placed third in the squat at 445 pounds, fourth in the bench press at 280 and second in the deadlift at 515.
Though Pingleton was the only Miner to compete in Prague, his 13 points put Hartshorne 13th in the small-school high school meet.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.