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Lennox boys & girls powerlifting teams take runner-up honors at State- Journey Noisy-Hawk Ellis, Lilly Meyer claim Individual State Championship titles

Pictured above are members of the Lennox girls’ team that captured runner-up honors. They include, from left to right, (back row): Braelyn Baloun, Madison Buehner, Maggie Jacobson; (front row): Katelyn Vargas, Abbie Wildeboer, and Lilly Meyer.

12 of 14 Lennox athletes reach podium at State

On Saturday, March 16, powerlifting teams from across the State converged at Sioux Falls Lincoln to compete in the 2024 State Powerlifting Meet. 

The Lennox Powerlifting team was among those competing and saw great success with Journey Noisy-Hawk Ellis and Lilly Meyer capturing Individual State Championship Titles and Lyncoln Leo, Abbie Wildeboer, Maggie Jacobson, and Clayton Barrett taking State Runner-up honors. Meyer also captured third place overall by coefficient (pound-for-pound calculation). 

Others finding the podium included third place finishers Madison Buehner and Jayden Hopf; fourth place finishers Katelyn Vargas, Shayden Olean, Gavin Horner; and fifth place finisher James Hermanson. Also competing for Lennox was Jacob Richert and Jacob Capon. 

With the strong individual showings, the Lennox boys team took home the State A Runner-up title with 45 team points, with Baltic just edging out Lennox for the title with 48 team points. Third place honors went to Mitchell with 36 points. For the girls, Lennox capture Runner-up honors with 45 team points. Dell Rapids won the State title with 48 team points. Leola Federick took third with 34 points. 

“The Lennox Powerlifting team’s clinching of the State Championship Runner-Up Boys and Girls titles in the fiercely competitive South Dakota Class A category is huge,” said Coach Jona Leo. “We lost several Seniors last year due to graduation, but instead of rebuilding, we reloaded. The 2024-2025 season will be ready as we return everyone but one senior returns to the line-up. I am so proud of the resilience of our athletes. We faced adversity throughout this year but persevered. Leaving a big void in Saturday’s line-up was Emory Lefers. He may have missed this year, but next season, he will emerge as one of the premier lifters in South Dakota.”

Leo was also impressed with lone senior, Katelyn Vargas

“I want to recognize Katelyn who made huge strides, became a silent leader, and was often the hardest worker in the room. The work paid off, as she improved her squat by 75 lbs, her bench went up 45 lbs, and she added 20 lbs to her deadlift since the December 2nd competition,” added Leo.   

Vargas is just one of the examples of hard working Lennox powerlifters. 

“Our athletes have shown what it truly means to embody the spirit of powerlifting – it’s not just about the medals; the dedication, discipline, and heart were evident in the results,” said Leo. “As a Coach, I’m proud that we emerged as true champions in the eyes of their supporters, embodying the essence of sportsmanship and camaraderie.”

As part of that camaraderie, the Lennox team partnered with athletes who didn’t have teams or coaches of their own. They welcomed Sioux Falls Christian’s Paul Hoekman, who became the 242 pound class State Champion and Parker High School’s Braeyln Baloun, who garnered the 114 pound Runner-Up State Champion spot.  

Coach Leo was quick to point out the team’s success wouldn’t not have been possible without the supportive parents and great assistant coaches who helped these athletes.

“Hats off to Coaches Matt Luze, Scott Meyer, Jordon Bents, and Matt Wolf,” said Leo. “The 48 student-athletes remained injury-free as they trained for 14 weeks without a significant setback. That speaks volumes about their attention to technique and detail. It was evident at the State Championships as Lennox lifters succeeded on 115  out of 126 attempts this past Saturday. The program goals include keeping athletes safe, increasing confidence, producing results, and having fun. I feel we hit all those objectives this season.”


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