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Tucker, Ratliff-Becher win state powerlifting titles; Tucker breaks state record

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Louisburg senior Kiefer Tucker stands atop the podium after winning the Class 4A state powerlifting title at 200 pounds. Tucker also broke a 24-year-old state bench press record.

BASEHOR – Two Louisburg High School weightlifters made their way to the top of the podium Saturday during the Class 4A State Powerlifting Meet at Basehor-Linwood High School.

Louisburg senior Kiefer Tucker and junior Reilly Ratliff-Becher both earned state championships in their respective weight class. Senior Jonathan DePriest finished third overall and several other Wildcats also earned individual medals.

Not only did Tucker win a state title in the 220-pound division, he also broke a 24-year state bench press record as he recorded a bench of 375 pounds to surpass the old mark of 365. He also won the squat competition at 505 pounds and had a total of 1,165 pounds to run away with the crown.

Tucker’s total was the highest three-lift mark at the entire state meet in all weight classes.

“We had a very successful day,” Louisburg weightlifting coach Ty Pfannenstiel said. “I was proud of how our kids competed and represented Louisburg. I am excited for Reilly and Kiefer. Nobody works harder than those two in the weight room. Their consistent effort day in and day out is why they are state champions. For Kiefer to break a 24-year-old state record is an amazing feat.”

Louisburg junior Reilly Ratliff-Becher won the Class 4A state title in the 182-pound women’s division Saturday in Basehor.

As happy as he was with the state title, the state record will stick with Tucker for a long time.

“I had messed around with 375 and 385 before on bench, so I was confident that I could lift it if I had the chance,” Tucker said. “I was more worried about my first lifts on bench at 345 and 365 because if I messed up on those attempts then I would not have had the change to even attempt 375. It was definitely a sigh of relief when I finally locked it out.

“It was a great feeling to beat the state record. To put Louisburg up on the record chart definitely brought a smile to my face.”

Ratliff-Becher had a big day in the women’s division as she won a state crown in the 180-pound weight class. She finished with a three-lift total of 575 pounds.

The Louisburg junior took first in bench press with 155 pounds, first in clean at 150 pounds and second in squat with a 270-pound lift.

“Winning the state title meant a lot to me,” Ratliff-Becher said. “I have put in a lot of time and effort in weights class, so it’s nice to see it has paid off. But, also because I feel as if I put out a message to girls that it’s cool to be strong physically. I know that being sometimes the only girls in a class with a lot of strong guys is intimidating. Weightlifting is all about your own personal growth and seeing how far you can push yourself.

“I was honestly surprised I won because there are lots of very strong girls there and it’s good competition. It’s also fun to meet new people that have the same interests and motivation as you.”

Louisburg senior Jonathan DePriest finished the 4A state meet in third place at 242 pounds.

DePriest also had a strong day for the Wildcat lifters as he had a three-lift total of 915 pounds in the 242-pound weight class to take third. The Louisburg senior was second in clean at 265 pounds and third in bench at 245 pounds.

Three other Wildcats also earned state medals for their efforts.

In the 148-pound weight class, Dylan Knipp was first in the bench press with a 235-pound mark on the men’s side.

In the women’s division, Camdyn Clark was second in bench in the 132-pound division with a lift of 135 pounds. In the 140-pound weight class, Melia Rice was third in bench press at 130 pounds.

Louisburg saw a big jump in participants at the state meet this season. The Wildcats took 28 athletes this year compared to just nine last year and Pfannenstiel is excited to see interest in weightlifting grow.

“Last year was our first year of powerlifting so it’s still pretty new to Louisburg,” he said. “We took a van and nine athletes last year. This year we took a bus with 28 athletes. It’s exciting to see how it’s grown in popularity in just one year. Next year we hope to take even more kids. 

“Our kids at Louisburg work hard in the weight room. I’m glad there is a sport like powerlifting that allows them to compete and show off their hard work. I was proud of every one of them.”

A total of 28 Louisburg athletes competed in the Class 4A state meet last Saturday at Basehor.

Ratliff-Becher, like many of the other competitors, is appreciative of what Pfannenstiel has done to help create a powerlifting culture in Louisburg.

“I’m very thankful to have a weights coach like Mr. Pfannenstiel,” she said. “I feel like he doesn’t get enough credit sometimes, but he is a big part of why we did so well at the meet. He spends a lot of time giving us workouts every day to become stronger. He always knows what to say to get me believing in myself.”

As for the meet itself, it was a great experience for the Wildcat lifters to participate in and is different than most state competitions. It is also a good way to help prepare athletes for different athletic avenues.

“The whole meet was a great experience overall,” Tucker said. “Just to be able to see and go up against other great lifters was a fun time. Everyone there had a great attitude and wanted to see you succeed even if it meant beating them. To be able to win my weight class and lift the highest total out of any weight class was a great feeling.

“It wouldn’t be right for me not to give credit where credit is due, so I owe all of this to the football team. The program, the coaches, and my teammates taught me how to not only be physically strong, but more importantly how to be mentally tough. I owe it all to them and I’m just glad I was able to represent this town in a good manner.”

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