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Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting teams head to state under direction of new coach

In its first season, the Burnsville High School boys’ powerlifting team was crowned state champions, while the girls team earned runner-up at the USAPL Minnesota State High School Championships on Saturday, Feb. 10 in Rockford, Minn. In addition, five Blaze athletes won individual state titles, and seven lifters qualified for the National Championships in March.

Head coach Justin Lerfald took over the school’s Olympic weightlifting program at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Since then, he’s added powerlifting, an alternative style of lifting, to the program. Lerfald is a former St. Olaf College football coach, strength coach, and professor in Exercise Science. In addition to running the weightlifting program, Lerfald is an assistant football coach and works in special education at BHS.

Powerlifters who received medals at state are:

  • Kara Klavins and Gabby Lacher (1st place)

  • Kyle Atkinson, Samuel Heino and Issac Pasko (1st place)

  • Jordan Discher and Dylan Hughes (2nd place)

  • Osadolor Ikponmwosa (3rd place)

Justin Gitonga and Heather Nulf also competed.

The Olympic weightlifting team has competed in three meets this season. Fifteen lifters have qualified for the state championship.

Students who have qualified to compete at the state Olympic weightlifting competition are:

  • Varsity: Erin Bachmeier, Miah Keller, Dani Kurr, Raezjine Merriweather, Lucas Moreno, John Simon

  • JV: Jonah Dawson, Kayla Gant, Zach LaMotte, Cameron Maderos,  Heather Nulf, Eleana Pierce, Mark Simon, Natalie Thoresen and Chase Vongkham

Ryan Beattie, Dylan Fischer, Nathan Le, Dylan Olsen, Gunnar Rypkema, and Drew Schwab are still vying for state.

“I am truly humbled for the opportunity to work with the athletes, students, coaches, and parents of District 191,” said Lerfald. “I am so proud of the lifters for all they have accomplished, and I look forward to sharing more memories as we raise the bar.”

The Last Chance Meet on Feb. 24 is the final meet where students can qualify for state. Olympic State Championships and Power National Championships take place in March, while the Olympic National Youth Championships are in June.

Posted: Monday, February 19, 2018 - 10:21