Glencoe, Sports

State meet at New Trier is as uplifting as they come

Trevians powerlifters take home state championship on girls side and runnerup on boys

Brianna Wylie and Dylan Jeppe have competed in a number of spaces, from soccer matches to track meets to Friday night football.

And they agree: Nothing is quite like powerlifting.

“I think it’s unlike any sporting event you’re going to see,” said Jeppe, a recent New Trier High School graduate. “It’s a different environment. Even though you’re going against other people, they are like your teammates on that day. It’s one of the more supportive environments you can be in.”

While a competitor is attempting a lift, especially challenging ones, the entire room often gets behind the person, no matter what colors they are wearing.

Wylie, also a 2024 NTHS grad, enjoys the psychology of it all. She has noticed that a lifter will achieve more — even more than they think is possible — when met with vocal support.

“It’s crazy to find a team like this in such an individual sport,” she said. “… Comparing when people are cheering you are on versus when you are lifting alone, it is such a big difference. It’s such a cool thing that your brain does. You think your physical limit is somewhere, then you get support of people you care about and your limits change.”

Brianna Wylie (left) is congratulated by former Trevians power lifter Camille Rose during the meet.

The supportive atmosphere filled up New Trier’s Winnetka athletics facility on May 18 for the annual Illinois High School Powerlifting Association state championships.

Nearly 250 student-athletes from dozens of high schools competed in the event, which was split into two divisions based on team size. The New Trier girls team won the 2A team title, while the boys took second in 2A behind Lockport.

New Trier’s powerlifting team was established 15 years ago, and both it and the sport have come a long way since. The program rosters close to 50 student-athletes.

Coach Jim Davis felt a lot of pride on May 18 — and not because of his team’s award-winning performances.

“I am thrilled with how the (the competition) went, and New Trier specifically, I am equally thrilled,” he said. “We track athletes’ progress and everyone was hitting (personal records). We had everyone just about hit a meet-total PR.

“They have trained really hard, bought into the work, bought into each other. The culture on this team was really unique; we had kids from all corners of the school.”

New Trier’s Gianna Sanchez with a deadlift en route to a state championship in her weight class.

Wylie and Jeppe were two standouts for the Trevians during the competition. Wylie was a state champion in her weight class to help lead the girls team to a team title. She also set a new state bench press record (175 pounds) in her weight class.

Gianna Sanchez also earned a state title, while Rae Fineberg and Emily Athanasakos were runnerups.

“It feels awesome,” Wylie said of the team championship. “Obviously it’s very exciting in my senior season. It’s a great capstone for our season.”

Though Jeppe did not place, he set a personal record in total weight, and “undoubtedly he made the team better with his intensity and support,” Davis said.

“When that guy walks into a room, he can change the mood of that room,” Davis added. “He’s a very natural leader and does it in such a positive way. It’s been a gift to have him on the the team.”

Will Clancy won a state championship at 132 pounds for the boys, while Aaron Morales (114 pounds), Luciano Orta (165) and Liam Fitzgerald (308) each picked up second-place medals.

Trevians co-captain Lily Cottingham gets support from teammates Emily Anthanasakos.

New Trier’s program is as decorated as they come. It again was named the Natural Athlete Strength Association national champion following the meet on April 13-14. The overall team win is New Trier’s fourth straight in NASA’s national competition. It also earned titles in 20232022 and 2019 (no NASA meets in 2020 and ’21, because of the COVID-19 pandemic). The 2019 title was the program’s first in eight years of participation in the meet.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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