The weightlifters at Cannon Falls High School are not on the same schedule as most student athletes.
You can only catch them in the early hours of the morning in the fieldhouse. There you’ll hear weights hitting the floor, clanging together, and an occasional grunt with AC/DC or Led Zeppelin playing in the background.
What separates these athletes from the others? Self-motivation, Coach Tad Ulrich said.
“I always say, if you’re going through all of that work, you might as well get stronger,” Ulrich said.
Seven weightlifters will head to state competition on April 10 in Moorhead. They’ll compete at a junior varsity and varsity level, hoping for a chance to make the most out of the abbreviated season they’ve had.
Addison Richter, Ruby Reardon, Maggie Bahr, Dylan Anderson, Lance Mlsna, Drew Stachowski, and Colton Otto will compete this weekend.
Ulrich said they’ve had two meets and one last-chance meet this season. Normally they’d begin in December and have state in March. This season was delayed a month because of COVID-19 restrictions.
But Ulrich said the squad has made the most of their opportunities and has seen a tremendous level of commitment.
So how does Ulrich keep his lifters motivated? For the most part, they do it themselves.
“After all these meets, we have rankings that come out, so you can see where your ranking is, and that seems to be motivation enough,” Ulrich said. “That’s the good thing about weightlifting is you’re mostly competing against yourself dn gravity. They want to get a new max, they want to get stronger, they want to get better. If you’re moving up in the rankings, even better.”
Throughout the season, they have a six week training cycle. At the end of each week, they have a “peak day,” where lifters will push themselves a little further than they usually would.
For beginners, Ulrich and the rest of the staff stress technique. At a certain point, the body will learn and take over the repetitive movement. Once a young lifter demonstrates this, then more weight can be added.
Ulrich has been impressed by his beginners and their progression throughout the season. He looks forward to seeing their progression throughout the offseason this spring and summer.
To watch the competition, visit spuds.tv.