Three Spring Grove powerlifters in this group of five earned medals in the group’s first official competition of this season at G-E-T in Galesville, Wis. Shown left to right are Coach Jean Happel, Matt Schleich (partially hidden by coach), Keenan Siminski, assistant coach Kyle Kampschroer, Caleb Happel (who placed 1st in varsity action), Harrison Speltz (who placed 1st in JV) and Zach Sanness (who placed 2nd in varsity).<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Photo courtesy of Jon Speltz
Three Spring Grove powerlifters in this group of five earned medals in the group’s first official competition of this season at G-E-T in Galesville, Wis. Shown left to right are Coach Jean Happel, Matt Schleich (partially hidden by coach), Keenan Siminski, assistant coach Kyle Kampschroer, Caleb Happel (who placed 1st in varsity action), Harrison Speltz (who placed 1st in JV) and Zach Sanness (who placed 2nd in varsity).

Photo courtesy of Jon Speltz
Two athletes earned first place honors as the Spring Grove powerlifters opened the 2013 season at G-E-T High School in Galesville, Wis., There were a few nerves, reported coach Jean Happel. "We brought along five lifters and another five to see if they would like to compete as a powerlifter."

Most of the local competitors were returning from last season - Zach Sanness, Matt Schleich, Harrison Speltz and Caleb Happel - but were joined by new lifter Keenan Siminski.

"We were short Larry Schulte due to a shoulder injury. We also took along an extra coach this year, Kyle Kampschroer," Happel said.

Some amazing lifts resulted in several medals. Caleb Happel was questionable for this meet due to the ankle injury received during football. His performance was exceptional especially since he had not practiced a deadlift or squat for two months. His squat was 395 with a bench of 315 (a personal best in a meet) and a personal-best deadlift of 500 lbs. for a total of 1,210 and good for a first place finish.

Sanness also competed at the varsity level, improving over last year with a squat of 305, a bench of 215 and a deadlift of 315 for a total of 835, which placed him second. Every lift was a personal best for him, Happel pointed out.

Schleich is lifting varsity this year and placed fourth. He performed well and raised his total by 50 lbs. from the last meet in 2012. His squat was 255 with a bench of 205 and personal-best dead lift of 415 for a total of 875.

Lifting at the junior varsity level, Speltz surpassed each one of his goals. He had a squat of 345, a bench of 245 and a deadlift of 415 for a total of 1,005 and first place. "He surprised all of us including himself!" exclaimed Happel.

Siminski performed well for his first meet, finishing fourth in JV competition. His squat was 285 along with a bench of 155 and a deadlift of 315 for a total of 755.

"It was a great day for our lifters and a great learning experience for Kyle as well," Coach Happel said. "He was very nervous prior to the meet as it was a completely new experience for him. He did a great job and was a knee-wrapping machine! We were all very fortunate to have him.

"Also with us was a wonderful photographer Jon Speltz. He captured some great moments. To the parents and students that came over to join us, thank you; it means a great deal to our lifters," Happel added.

The next meet is Saturday, Jan. 26, in Holmen, Wis. "We are looking for another great performance from our core group, and we will have a few new faces as well!

In response to many inquiries, the coach said nationals this year will be held in Aurora, Colo., April 5 - 7.

"Caleb is already qualified, but we have another lifter that will very easily qualify, and that is Harrison Speltz.

"Time will tell if any others will be able to join us on that venture! I will keep the updates coming."