The 2011-2012 has brought plenty of new and exciting changes for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) and its member schools. The association added two non-sanctioned sports: Cheerleading and Powerlifting. The Cheerleading program has excelled this school year becoming one of the LHSAA’s events with the most participants – more than 1300 athletes! In December, the association held the first ever statewide cheer and dance competition. It was one of the school year’s most anticipated and liveliest events yet. We also added powerlifting to the list of sports this year and much like cheerleading, it’s off to a fantastic start as well.
Last year, the LHSAA began allowing member schools to field teams in the interscholastic Powerlifting pilot program for boys and girls. The association wanted to offer a new activity for member school students to participate in, and so far, it has had great success.
Now, we’ve gotten quite a few side eyes and raised eyebrows with folks wondering just what is powerlifting? The sport actually began in the United States and Britain during the mid-1950’s after the number of participants and fans began declining for weightlifting. In the sport of powerlifting, participants are separated based on their gender and weight, and they compete against others who are in their same classification. The athletes take turns lifting different weight amounts, which are measured in pounds. It’s much more than lifting heavy weights off of the ground; there are a variety of different lifts such as the dead lift or squat lift. The sport may seem relatively easy, but just like any other extracurricular activity, the athletes undergo rigorous training and practice in order to excel.
During the pilot program, the powerlifting regional and state competitions will be conducted under the auspices of the Louisiana High School Powerlifting Association (LHSPLA) and not as an official state tournament sanctioned by the LHSAA. After the 2011-2012 powerlifting season, the sport will be studied to determine whether to declare it a state championship sport or to continue to classify it as a pilot program.
Regional powerlifting meets will be held on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3, 2012 at various locations throughout Louisiana. The State Championships for Division II will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell. The Division I State Championships will be held Thursday, March 29 through Saturday, March 31, 2012 at Alexandria Senior High School in Alexandria.