The addition of a large number of talented athletes has the New Richmond powerlifting team with its largest roster in team history.

The Tigers have 86 athletes competing this winter, including 33 athletes who are new to the team. The Tigers took second place in both halves of their first meet of the season held at River Falls on Dec. 14. The Tigers will compete next on Saturday, Jan. 11 at Osceola High School.

It was an outstanding debut for the Tigers. They had 18 lifters who qualified for the state meet with the lifts they achieved in the first meet. That list includes Rhea Warner, Eliana Fall, Karly Porter, Dyllan Powers, Jacob Wicklem, Hannah Jensen, Julia Grabowski, Gabby Langer, Caleb Canfield, Quentin Berhow, Will Kamphius, Mason Burke, Josiah Hanson, Sully Weiss, Andrew Trandahl, Elizabeth Dimick, Thor Sanders and Jackson Seidling. Seven of the state qualifiers were competing in their first powerlifting meet. Trandahl, a freshman, was named the meet’s best overall lifter, a true rarity.

New Richmond coach Brian Kaczmarski said the results of the opening meet exceeded his expectations, especially the number of personal-best lifts the Tigers were able to post. Kaczmarski said the large influx of athletes reflects the popularity of the sport.

“The kids talk, they do some informal recruiting,” he said.

Powerlifting has become incredibly popular at New Richmond High School, with 86 athletes competing on the team this winter. Photo courtesy of NP Design and Photography
Powerlifting has become incredibly popular at New Richmond High School, with 86 athletes competing on the team this winter. Photo courtesy of NP Design and Photography

To get an idea why an athlete would join the team, three of the newcomers who were state qualifiers were asked about their experiences. They included Warner and Trandahl, both freshmen, and Langer, a junior. All three said they were involved in different sports, with Warner in tennis, Langer in track and Trandahl in football and track.

All three said they were surprised at the immensity of the meet, where more than 300 athletes were competing.

“It was nerve wracking at first,” Langer said. Trandahl said he was nervous with the adrenaline of competing in a first meet. All three said they were surprised by the results they were able to achieve.

What struck the new athletes most was the atmosphere of the meet.

“Everyone is cheering for anybody,” Langer said. Trandahl said the crowd helped remind him that it was a team sport, though everyone is competing to reach their own individual success. Warner said she was amazed at the cheering and crowd participation, coming from tennis where fans aren’t supposed to cheer.

All three said they were extremely happy they made the decision to join the team.