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Kennard-Dale 'honored' to host Pennsylvania powerlifting scholastic championships Saturday

Kennard-Dale powerlifting coach Niko Hulslander, right, talks to Patrick Maloney before a lift at an event in March.
  • Kennard-Dale is hosting the Pennsylvania State Coaches Powerlifting Association state championships on Saturday.
  • The event starts at 8:45 a.m. Nine teams and more than 160 lifters are competing.
  • Alissa Lebrun, Hailey Clayton, Lily Ambrose, Travis Schultz, Gabe Hulslander, Noah Hulslander, Patrick Maloney and Duke Schwartz are among K-D's lifters to watch.

Kennard-Dale's powerlifting program has a "brief" history, according to head coach Niko Hulslander.

While the program is only eight years old, the accomplishments of powerlifters from the Fawn Grove area are anything but brief.

The Rams have won three state scholastic championships and produced 36 individual state champs, two national runners-up and a national champion.

K-D's powerlifting program will add another accomplishment Saturday when it plays host the Pennsylvania State Coaches Powerlifting Association state scholastic championships. 

"We’re very thankful for the sponsors, staff and admin at Kennard-Dale for their support," Hulslander said. "We are very excited to host this contest."

The PSCPA championships have been hosted at Glen Mills School for at least 30 years, Hulslander said, but this year, the event will be hosted elsewhere for the first time. 

Glen Mills, the oldest reform school in the United States, has been in the news recently for alleged abuse of students, and the state has ordered a removal of students from the school. 

"This is the first year the state championships are being held outside of Glen Mills, and we are honored to host it," Hulslander said. 

Gabe Hulslander locks out a 465-pound deadlift at a powerlifting event in March.

About Kennard-Dale powerlifting: Hulslander, who competed in powerlifting for 25 years, was an assistant coach at K-D in the program's early years and took over as head coach in 2014. 

"Our program has grown from 12 lifters initially to 38 lifters competing on Saturday, including nine females," Hulslander said. "Powerlifting is a sport that attracts people from all walks of life. The kids truly flourish with their self-confidence and self-esteem."

Hulslander believes the sport has caught on at K-D because of the team's culture of "self-improvement." He said improvement is more important than the numbers each lifter puts up.

"If they improve their lift by five pounds, that’s a PR (personal record), and no one can take that away. Each one of them mean so much to me that I applaud every single one of their efforts," he said.

About the championships: The championships begin at 8:45 a.m. Saturday at Kennard-Dale High School. Hulslander said the event will run all day, with three platforms set up for the three lifts — bench press, deadlift and squat. 

The 163 lifters from 13 different schools will compete in different weight classes in the male and female division. There will be individual titles for the combined weight total of the three lifts and a team title based off the individual lifts.

Nine schools are competing as teams at the event. Those teams are: Kennard-Dale, Central York, Parkland, Shamokin, Jim Thorpe, Gettysburg, Northern Lebanon, Muncy and Hershey. Four other schools, Susquehannock, Spring Grove, Upper Perkiomen and Ferndale, are sending individual lifters. 

K-D lifters to watch: Hulslander said the Rams' top female lifters are Alissa Lebrun, Hailey Clayton and Lily Ambrose. On the male side, his top lifters are Travis Schultz, Gabe Hulslander, Noah Hulslander, Patrick Maloney and Duke Schwartz.

At Kennard-Dale's last event, Noah Hulslander, who weighs 196 pounds, deadlifted 465 pounds and totaled 1,150 pounds between the three lifts.

"There will be a lot of action and a lot of spirit and a lot of strength," Niko Hulslander said.

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