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Massilon Washington High School Powerlifting
By Steve Studer, Strength and Conditioning Coach Mass
Published: Summer 1998

To give you the full picture of how our power lifting team has evolved, I must go back to the summer of 1985. Our school had just hired a new head football coach. His name was John Maronto. When John came to Massillon, the school weight room consisted completely of exercise machines, one bench, and a bar. That was when I met him and he asked me to be his strength and conditioning coach.

The first thing on John’s agenda was to “Bring Coach Shepard in and put on a Bigger Faster Stronger clinic”. We did, and the day we had that clinic our strength and conditioning program was kick started. Through the years it has blossomed to where we have strength and conditioning classes at the school for all of our athletes. In those classes our kids can weight train, work on speed training, agility, flexibility, and learn about basic nutrition. They get this work done throughout the day, in class, and receive a credit and grade for the course.

As the years have passed since that BFS clinic, I have watched so many of our boys turn into men both physically and mentally. In 1994, a handful of those kids told me that they were interested in power lifting meets. I told them that I would help them out only if we participated in drug free contests. They agreed, and we started by having some fund raisers. Those kids worked their fannies off. Twelve kids raised enough money to buy their own squat suits, bench shirts, knee wraps, and entry fees for a drug tested meet. They even raised enough to cover their hotel bill for a weekend! Those guys got power lifting started at our school.

Our athletic board watched what those kids had done and voted to have power lifting as a varsity sport! We now have our own schedule every winter. We host our own meet here at the school where we invite three other high school teams to compete. We call it the “Lou Young Memorial”, named after a former superintendent who was very supportive of our strength training program. Next year we will hold the fifth annual Lou Young Memorial power lifting championships.

After competing for two years, we traveled to Springfield Ohio in 1996, to compete in the N.A.S.A. State Championships. There was some great competition there, and we won the Division I championship. The following year, 1997, we traveled to the I.P.A. High School Nationals and took first place at that competition. Our 148 pounder, Josh Wood, a junior, set I.P.A. high school national records in the squat, bench press, and total. He was picked as the “Best Lifter” of the tournament.

This year we decided to enter an A.D.F.P.A. meet. Our team goal was to win three drug free titles, from three different power lifting associations, in three consecutive years. Our motto for the season was, “Bring home the triple crown”!

In January we lifted against Akron Springfield, New Philadelphia, and North Canton High Schools at the Lou Young Memorial. We took first place. Then in February we traveled to Cleveland and competed in the A.D.P.F.A. “Battle of the Great Lakes Championships”. We lifted great, set some new state records, and won the tournament. Josh Wood had moved up a weight class and took first place at 165. He took home the “Best Lifter” of the meet again for the second year in a row!

Pound for pound, Josh Wood is the strongest athlete I’ve ever coached. As a junior at 148; his best lifts were a 465 squat, a 320 bench, and a 400 deadlift. As a senior at 165; his best lifts were 505, 335, and 430. Along with his strength, I have timed him at 4.2 in the pro agility drill consistently. His quickest time is 4.19. He can also consistently reach 32” in the vertical jump. When you combine his athletic ability with his work ethic and mental toughness, it is no wonder that he is a champion. He played short corner on our football team this past season, but I loved watching him fly down field on the kick-off team. With his speed and explosiveness, you can imagine some of the great collisions that happened out there. They were fun to watch. As you can see, having a power lifting team at our school has been a great success.

Our whole strength and conditioning program has progressed drastically since that 1985 BFS clinic. We now have six classes with twenty-five athletes in each class. That’s a total of 150 athletes. We also have 200 athletes that train in our weight room daily.

In closing, I would like to say that the people at BFS have done a super job. I know some of our opponents in football use the BFS system. We had a war with Miami Southridge when we played them. This year Glenn Mills is coming to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium during week six of our season. The BFS story on them was most impressive, and that match-up looks to be a great one! Thanks Bigger Faster Stronger for all you do.

Front row: Marc Wiles, Brad Dean, Jason Clemens, Nate Istnick, Rico Person, Josh Wood, Drew Feucht, Jason Jarvis, Alex Borbely, John Schneider. Back Row: Head Coach Steve Studer, Assist. Lance Hostetler, Dustin Clawson, Ellery Moore, Jason Weick, Greg Dickerhoof, Chris Turner, Dan Studer, Seth Stefanko, Athletic Director, Jack Rose, Assist. Ath. Director Jeff Thornberry, Principal Bob Rohrer
The beautiful and well equipped Tiger Weightroom with Coach Steve Studer.
Coach Steve Studer with Massillon Co-Captains Rico Person (Left) and Josh Wood
Josh Wood at a recent meet. Joshs’ best Parallel Squat is 505 at only 165 pounds.
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