Hoisting state championship trophies has become an annual tradition for Montesano’s powerlifters.
The Bulldogs, however, will need to overcome tough competition — including another team from Grays Harbor County — if they hope to continue that tradition this weekend.
Montesano’s boys will be seeking their 11th consecutive team title at the state powerlifting meet on Saturday at White Salmon. The Bulldog girls, who regained the team title last year after a hiatus of a few years, will be bidding for their second straight crown.
Competition begins at 10 a.m.
Monte’s boys survived a tight duel with Shelton in the all-classification meet last May. While the Bulldogs have outscored the Class 3A Highclimbers in all but one meet this season, the exception came two weeks ago at the Shelton Invitational. With two Bulldogs failing to make their opening lifts, Shelton outscored Monte by some 21 points.
Montesano coach Eric Stanfield is expecting a down-to-the-wire battle for teams honors this time around.
“It was a heavyweight fight with them last year and it will be the same this year,” Stanfield said. “We were senior-led last year and they are senior-led this year. But we have experienced lifters who know how to lift smart and we’ll be right there toe-to-toe with them.”
Tanner Birdsall is Montesano’s only returning state individual champion from a year ago, although teammate Noah Ewing has won several Outstanding Lifter awards at invitational meets this season.
Led by three returning state champs in Rayna Ashlock, Ashley Laney and Chazlyn O’Bannon, Montesano’s girls have been unbeaten in invitationals this season.
“We have (only) 11 girls, three of them seniors, but it is a very strong 11-girl (team),” Stanfield affirmed. “It is one of the stronger Montesano girls teams.”
Montesano’s toughest girls competition figures to come from Class 2B North Beach, which boasts a solid corps of first-and second-place punch but may lack the Bulldogs’ depth.
North Beach’s Shyanne Morrow has won multiple state and invitational championships.
Elma also figures to produce state placewinners.
While an unlimited number of lifters per school can compete at the state level, only 10 per gender can score points in the team competition. Much like in fantasy football, each coach selects his 10-person teams prior to each meet (although the lifters usually aren’t informed of those selections), creating a scenario in which a state champion potentially would not contribute to the team total.
Stanfield said that at least partially refutes the theory that Montesano is winning state championships on sheer numbers.
“We do take a lot of kids, our kids have bought into our weight room,” the Bulldog coach said. “But it still comes down to 10 boys and 10 girls.”