By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

The Waterford High School powerlifting team was a force at the USA Powerlifting High School Nationals March 22-25 in Appleton.

The Waterford boys junior varsity raw team took first place, while the varsity boys equipped team took fifth. Out of the 10 Wolverine qualifiers, two earned national championships, and five more medaled at the event.

Sophomore Trevor Pye and freshman Bryce Hendrichs each took home national championships in their weight classes in the junior varsity competition.

In powerlifting, junior varsity consists of freshman and sophomores and varsity is juniors and seniors.

“This was probably the most kids we’ve ever sent to Nationals,” Waterford powerlifting coach Don Norwick said. “Trevor and Bryce had amazing performances. Trevor can squat over 500 pounds, while Bryce had a 335-pound squat at nationals.”

Other Wolverine medalists included sophomore third-place winners Brett Deschler and Cole Bjorge. Senior Miles Priefer also took third in the equipped division.

“It was a nice way for Miles to go out his senior year,” Norwick said. “He is 143 pounds and can squat 467 pounds.”

Junior Alex Oachs, who will be competing in the sub-junior nations team in South Africa this month, took fourth place.

“Alex and his sister are amazing,” Norwik said. “Alex was a national champion last year and his sister Cameron Oachs was also a national champion as a senior. This year she competed in Lithuania and started a powerlifting club team at Marquette.”

Senior Alfredo Valdez finished eighth overall in a highly competitive weight class.

“Alfredo Valdez weight 215 pounds and deadlifted over 555 pounds, which shows just how competitive his weight class was,” Norwick said.

Norwick added: “Overall we’ve been very successful over the past two years since I’ve been here. My assistant coach Matt Ingish is amazing and does amazing work with the kids.”

With just three seniors graduating and a talented junior varsity team, the future may even be brighter for the Wolverine team. With the growing roster, the powerlifting program will be officially considered a winter sport in 2019.

“Powerlifting is growing in popularity in Waterford because you can be competitive regardless of weight class, age or gender,” Norwick said. “We are trying to recruit to get our numbers up and get kids in the gym.”

The successes of the powerlifting program have been well-received from the other Wolverine coaches.

Norwick, who is the offensive and defensive line coach for the Waterford football program, gets a front-row seat watching Pye, Deschler, Ochs, Valdez, and Evan and Cole Bjorge compete on the football team.

“Coaches from the other sports have been very supportive,” Norwick said. “Powerlifting stretches into the spring sports season, and the coaches have been very supportive of the kids starting their spring seasons later.”

With the successes of the powerlifting program and growing enthusiasm, not just the high school, but the entire Waterford community will support the fledgling program.