IM powerlifting returns


While squatting 385 lbs. at a powerlifting meet against Niles West on Nov. 4, junior William Kurson breaks a personal record and lifts the top squat of the meet. The group meets two to three times a week to work on form and technique, but many members train daily. Photo by Abby Shapiro.

Sweaty competitors wearing  singlets and a high-spirited crowd filled the room, transforming the fitness center into a powerlifting arena. Benches and chairs lined the perimeter of the competition area. Velvet ropes separated spectators from lifters. Chalk dust was scattered on the floor and covered competitors. 

Fifteen minutes before junior William Kurson squatted 385 lbs., he had six bananas and an energy drink, determined to hit a personal record. Competitors and spectators crowded around Kurson as he attempted to lift the heaviest squat of the meet. 

“Everyone’s cheering,” said Kurson. “I start screaming, ‘That’s too light. That’s too light. Put more weight on the bar.’ And I’m totally lying, it is definitely not too light, but I have to make myself think like that.”

“And then [after squatting], there was like 15 seconds of celebration,” said Kurson. “And then the six bananas and depleted energy drink hit me, and I was just zonked.”

The Glenbrook North Intramural Powerlifting Group hosted a mock meet against Niles West on Nov. 4. This was thefirst meet the group has hosted since becoming a part of the intramural program last school year.

The meet consisted of three lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift. Competitors were placed into weight classes and had two attempts for each lift. The weight of each competitor’s heaviest successful attempts per lift added together determined individual scores. The competitors with the highest total won their weight class.

“It’s a vulnerable thing to get up in front of everyone in my goofy singlet and do my screams and my shouting like I don’t look like a fool,” said Kurson. “But, you got to do it. It’s very vulnerable to get up there and try and do something, especially when you are pushing the brinks of failure and failing.”

Powerlifting has been a school activity in the past but returned as a newly formed intramural group last school year.

After noticing GBN did not have a powerlifting group, Kurson talked to intramural director Justin Georgacakis and then organized an informational meeting. Kurson and senior Rachel Olshansky met at the meeting and decided to run the intramural group together. 

Olshansky and Kurson both hold leadership roles in the group by coaching and supporting members. 

Georgacakis helps supervise the group, organize meets and coach members. Jayson Patel, head strength & conditioning coach, helps with students’ form, creates lifting programs and teaches when to taper or increase in weight. 

Future opportunities for the intramural powerlifting group to compete are currently being discussed.

Kurson’s goal for the intramural group is for it to become an official club, he said.

“We take anyone and everybody,”said Kurson. “It’s really a competition against yourself to see what you can do and how you’ve improved. I’d say there’s always going to be someone bigger, there’s always going to be someone stronger … but you can always beat yourself and beat the old you.”