Will some of the next bunch of U.S. Olympic weightlifters come from North Dakota?
There’s at least a chance of that happening after Sheyenne High School hosted the state’s first USA Weightlifting high school meet on Saturday.
About 50 lifters from West Fargo, Sheyenne, Kindred, Jamestown, Dilworth and Moorhead high schools participated in the event that was just the right size, organizers said.
West Fargo Public Schools District strength coach Rollie Swedberg said the ultimate goal of the new competition is to breed the next generation of Olympic weightlifters.
“The kids are totally pumped up,” Swedberg said. “They’re all excited.”
The meet came together with some help from Minnesota and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Scott Safe, an instructor for USA Weightlifting, aided Swedberg, coaches and the other organizers in getting the first tournament rolling.
“We’ve been doing it in Minnesota for quite a while, like 15 years and weightlifting is really growing around the country,” Safe said. “USA Weightlifting is the feeder program, for the U.S. Olympic team, and so we’re trying to get other states going.”
Safe said he has traveled to other states to help bolster the pool of weightlifters in the country.
“USA Weightlifting is very encouraged and they’re excited and glad this is happening,” Safe said. “This is where the Olympians come from is small schools from all over the country … One could be here today.”
Swedberg said he’s hoping to grow the sport in the area and hold more meets with more participants next year. The sport fits in to the winter sports schedule and acts as a compliment to sports like football, which weightlifting is a big part of.
Two West Fargo football players who participated in the event enjoyed the new challenge.
“I originally did this because I was lifting to get stronger for other sports and it kinda turned into more than that,” said freshman Quinton Vonesh.
The competition makes weightlifting a more fulfilling experience, Vonesh and sophomore Zakariya Ahmed said.
“Competing against another person and trying to beat them is just awesome,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed and Vonesh won the competition in their weight class which includes a clean and jerk lift and snatch lift.
The two boys and the other winners are the first North Dakota state weightlifting record holders.
A clean and jerk lift is when the lifter moves a barbell from the floor to above their head in two movements. The snatch lift is similar but consists of only one motion.
“These lifts take a lot of not just brute strength but a lot of technique that we can implement into multiple sports,” Vonesh said.
Boys Varsity Class
Matthew Nathan, Kindred
Zayne Reinke, Sheyenne
Tristan Hayes, West Fargo
Zach Mohs, West Fargo
Girls Varsity Class
Haley Leckner, Sheyenne
Madison Barnes, Jamestown
Kylee Ann Voight, Jamestown
Kali Carlson, Jamestown
Abigail Harford, Sheyenne Mustangs
Boys Junior Varsity Class Winners
Quinton Vonesh, West Fargp
Zakariya Ahmed, West Fargo
Casey Kuntz, Sheyenne
Nicholas Mathias, Kindred (clean and jerk and overall)
Noah Nammor, Sheyenne (snatch)
Girls Junior Varsity Class Winner
Regan Jastram, Sheyenne