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Start of something new: Inaugural Mitchell Powerlifting Invitational runs smoothly

Avery Laursen, of Mitchell, waits for the call to rack the weight after squatting 100 pounds during the Mitchell Powerlifting Invitational on Saturday in the MHS auxiliary gym. (Matt Gade / Republic)

It took a little luck and a lot of teamwork, but the Mitchell Powerlifting Club was able to host its first ever competition on Saturday.

Five-year head coach Andrew Priebe has been waiting for the right time to host one, and the opportunity fell into his lap when a scheduling conflict prevented Sioux Falls Lincoln from holding its annual December meet. That allowed for the Mitchell Powerlifting Invitational to be born in Mitchell High School's lower-level gym, with 10 schools and 105 lifters competing.

"It was just kind of one of those things, having been on the other side of the meets for so many years, I just wanted the kids to have a home meet," Priebe said.

It took a plethora of volunteers to make sure everything went smoothly, though. Sioux Falls O'Gorman coach Chris Isaacson brought platforms and competition equipment to Mitchell on Thursday, along with a "network of Mitchell High School and Mitchell Powerlifting Club members (being) a core group" of volunteers, according to Priebe.

A few Dakota Wesleyan University football players also helped set up the equipment on Friday, while also serving as spotters and loaders during Saturday's competition in front of a packed gym.

As a result, it received glowing reviews.

"A lot of the coaches from the other schools that attended had asked us to consider putting on the state meet in the future, so it went over very well," Priebe said.

Priebe hopes hosting a state meet is in Mitchell's future. However, before that happens, it needs to figure out the logistics of potentially moving to a bigger gym to compensate for more lifters.

"What I would like to do, maybe next year, host it at a different venue here in the community just to see (if) that changes the dynamic," Priebe said. "There were some real benefits having the high school weight room 30 feet away where teams could warm up."

It helps that Priebe now has an idea of what he wants future meets to look like as he hopes to make this an annual competition, especially since hosting more meets has greater benefits than giving Mitchell a home-field advantage.

It also encourages west river schools to travel east since they won't have to travel all the way to Sioux Falls, which "will be huge for the high school powerlifting scene," per Priebe.

That was seen on Saturday as Mitchell competed against Dupree for the first time since Priebe started coaching. He hopes this encourages more schools between Rapid City and Sioux Falls to host meets, too, noting Chamberlain as an ideal destination. However, he's also fine having Mitchell be that center school.

"If no one else from here and Rapid wants to pick it up, we'll definitely see if we can put our name in the hat every year," Priebe said.

As for the competition, Tristen Hildebrant posted a 315-pound total to win the 43-kilogram class (94 pounds), while Jared Street took bronze with a 985-pound total in the 93-kilogram class (205 pounds). Lauren Sparks lifted 455 pounds to finish fifth in the 57-kilogram class (125.5 pounds).

"It was nice to get the first meet jitters done on our home floor," Priebe. "They're home, so that adds that nice little element of comfort being home so when we head to Sioux Falls, they're seasoned veterans by then."

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