Clay powerlifting team gains popularity

Yaneek Smith

Clay High School’s powerlifting club was established in 2016 by then-coach, Adam Buckner, and team leader Anna Rew.
The club has grown from a handful of lifters to 38 active members. Club membership is capped due to limited space in the weight room.
Any CHS student in grades 9-12 can join the club. New members tryout annually in November to fill spaces vacated by graduating seniors.
The team competes in approximately five meets per year. It will host the fifth annual co-ed Raising the Bar meet on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Coach Nathan Quigg says he’s determined to grow the popularity of the sport in Northwest Ohio. “We currently have 11 schools and nearly 200 lifters committed to lift at our meet but have space to welcome additional teams or individuals interested in participating,” he said.
Each lifter gets three attempts at each lift, which includes bench press, squat and deadlift. Medals are awarded to the top five boys and top three girls in each weight class. Team trophies are also awarded to first and second place. Interested coaches or individual athletes should contact Coach Quigg at
The team recently opened their season with a third-place team finish at the Iron Eagle Invitational in Madison Plains, Ohio. The boys finished third and the girls team finished fifth out of more than 20 schools and 400 individual lifters.
“We focus on lifters setting personal records (PRs), not on what place kids finish individually,” said Quigg. “We were pleasantly surprised when 23 of 29 lifters set PRs in the first meet. If kids put in the work and focus on getting stronger, the individual accolades will come naturally.”
Four Clay athletes won their weight class and another three finished as a runner-up.
They include (listed by name, class, place, bench press (lbs.) and deadlift (lbs):
Luke Purtee, 250, Champion, 360, 520.
Gabrielle Rivera, 135, Champion, 145, 235.
Grace Fortier, 165, Champion, 110, 265.
Olivia Yenrick, 175, Champion, 130, 245.
Cameron Madison, 185, Runner-up, 205, 330.
Jake Saunders, 225, Runner-up, 305, 405.
Noah Ybarra, 135, Runner-up, 180, 285.
Coach Quigg says he’s extremely excited about this group of lifters. “The best-led program is a player-led program. It is exciting to see our veteran lifters setting the tone by pushing themselves for 90 minutes at least three days a week, while still taking time to provide guidance to new lifters.”
Coach Quigg and Assistant Coach, TJ Saunders, focus on teaching proper technique to new members in order to keep them safe while developing their skills.
For more information on Clay powerlifting, visit the team website at or follow chs.powerlifting on Instagram.


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