Team JCC competes in difficult, but fun state meet

Published 3:26 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The 2018 powerlifting state championships had a problem.  The meet was so big, more judges were needed.  Gene Berry and his brother Ray are certified referees. They decided it was best if they judged. Gene and Ray sacrificed their chance for a state title for the good of all the lifters. Gene coaches and organizes Team JCC (The Jarvisburg Church of Christ) Powerlifting Team. Gene and Ray are the reason the Zak family is proud to be members of Team JCC.

Team JCC had five women competing.  Ashley Christiansen, Anna Zak, Lori Bailey and Jennifer Zak each took first place. Lauren Cooper took second. Team JCC has never had more than two women win at a state meet, this year the team had four. Out of possible fifty points, The JCC women had scored forty seven.

Team JCC still had a huge challenge. A full team has ten members. Team JCC only had nine. Without Ray and Gene, Team JCC was down to seven. Could the last two lifters score enough points to win? At 148, Ben Zak won the state title. Team JCC had one lifter left, David Sobota. If David took first, Team JCC would win the team title, if he took second, Team JCC would finish second out of four teams. David struggled in the squats and he trailed the entire meet. David ended his day with a 485 deadlift. The top total was 1,080; David ended with a 1,085 total. By less than half a percentage point, David had won his first state title and allowed Team JCC to regain the state title they lost in 2017. This was Team JCC’s fourth powerlifting state title in five years.

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In 2017, a team division for the curl was added.  A lot of JCC’s lifters focus on this event. Ashley Christiansen, Anna Zak, Jennifer Zak, Lauren Cooper, Ben Zak and John Cooper all took first place. Ray and Gene don’t normally compete in the curl, but they knew we needed team points so they both entered and both finished in second.  Raymond Classings would also finished in second.  It was enough to earn Team JCC their second consecutive curl title.

Lifters under fourteen aren’t allowed to compete in the open division or score team points. Youth lifters must compete in their age groups. Most of JCC’s youth lifters took first. Youth champions were  Devin Sobota, Marshall Cooper, Cayden Cooper, Carly Cooper, Dylan Cooper, Brooke Zak and  Mackenzie Grace Taylor. If Devin and Marshall had been fourteen they would have won the open title as they beat everyone in their weight class, regardless of age.

Team JCC set 38 state records. Anna Zak and Brooke Zak set seven records, Mackenzie Grace Taylor set six, Devin Sobota set five, Jennifer Zak and Aaron Pickrell set four, Lori Bailey set two, Lauren Cooper, Ashley Christiansen and Ben Zak each set one state record.

What’s next for Team JCC? For the last two years, the world meet has been in Pennsylvania. In 2018 the world meet will be in Virginia Beach, Va. This October Team JCC will try to win the world title in the curl and in powerlifting. Team JCC won the powerlifting world title in 2015.

Submitted by Ben Zak.