Season of Firsts for Powerlifter

Junior Hailey Schwobe gets set for her squat at the state powerlifting meet. She successfully squatted 135 kilograms.

Sophie Brandt

Hailey Schwobe, a junior at CHS this year, became the first female member of Chilton’s powerlifting team to qualify for the Wisconsin High School Powerlifting Association State Championship and the first person to place at the state meet for the team in its roughly 70 year history.

She is also the first to make it to state for the team in 16 years. Despite all her success, this is only Schwobe’s first year competing, and it was in her very first competition that she met the requirements to qualify for the state meet.

Powerlifting has been a school sport since the early 50s, but records have only been kept since 1968. There are very specific outlines and regulations, especially for those going to the state-wide competition.

The first meet of the season was held February 2, at Neenah High School, and after her first three months in practice, Schwobe was able to qualify for state with a 670 pound total, a combined number from her bench press, squat and deadlift. This was safely over the 595 pound requirement for state.

“Hailey is an extremely hard worker,” said Mr. Michael Arendt, coach of the powerlifting team and a CHS physical education teacher. “When she sets her mind to something, she gives it everything she’s got. I was never worried about Hailey getting her workouts in throughout the year because she knew that if she wanted to improve she would have to do them and push herself during her workouts.”

And push herself she did. Schwobe improved by almost 100 pounds to a total of 749 pounds, placing fourth at the powerlifting state meet, which was held at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton on March 3.

“Mr. Arendt first told me about powerlifting last year during my weight training class. At the time, I didn’t feel confident enough to compete, so I just lifted for my weight training class,” Schwobe said. “Fast forward to this year. I had started lifting a bit for softball when Mr. Arendt asked me if I was going to do powerlifting. At first, I was very hesitant to say yes because I hadn’t been training for the competitions. Eventually, I decided that I would compete, even though I had only been lifting for about one month.”

Schwobe’s performance at state made her not only CHS’s first female qualifier, but the first CHS student ever to medal. She was five pounds away from placing third and also close to the second place holder.

“State was a brand new experience for me,” Schwobe said. “I was so nervous to compete. I had only competed one other time, so I had no idea what to expect. The building was huge and there were so many people, which made me very anxious.

“I started warming up, and I immediately felt at home. The other competitors were so nice and welcoming. My platform was ready to go, and my flight started. I felt my heart drop, and my hands got all sweaty. As soon as I successfully completed my first lift, I was no longer nervous. I was flooded with adrenaline and happiness. I was so glad to be there.

“In between each lift, I would talk to other girls I was competing against, and we talked like friends. We were happy for each other’s success. I met so many amazing people at state.

“I also was so thankful that I had such a huge support system sitting out in the crowd. They really helped me feel more confident and relaxed. Overall, I had an amazing experience at state this year, and I cannot wait until next year.”

All of Schwobe’s achievements have made her coach proud. “I was absolutely ecstatic for Hailey!” Mr. Arendt said. “I always knew she was a great kid who would do what was asked of her, but it is always great to see the finished result when hard work comes into play.”