Athlete of the Week: State champion

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Avery Grail finished his winter season as a champion, taking first place in the 194-pound weight class in the Michigan High School Powerlifting Association State Meet.
“It was quite an experience because we led the team to states last year and had a bunch of people place through Clarkston Powerlifting,” said Grail, a senior at Clarkston High School. “It was cool to see the team was able to start from nothing, then lead the team to states.”
He finished with a total of 1,300 with 445 in squat, 350 in bench and 550 in dead lift.
Grail explained he got into powerlifting during his freshman year after playing football and competing in wrestling.

Avery Grail, right, with Clarkston High School Powerlifting Coach Lucas Sanders. Photo provided

“I was excelling in those sports. It was my life at the time,” he said, adding he had suffered multiple concussions. “Eventually the concussions hit me, and I had to find a new passion because I wasn’t able to play those sports anymore. It was detrimental to my well-being. I heard a guy say when one door closes another one opens. I took advantage of the opportunity, and I found powerlifting.”
Grail added he is thankful he had the concussions because powerlifting changed his life.
“It showed me discipline. It showed me dedication. It is something I enjoy doing,” he said. “It’s more than a hobby. It showed at states. It showed my dedication towards it.”
The powerlifting program at Clarkston High School ended in 2007 and Grail wanted to get it started again. He added he had meetings with Clarkston Athletic Director Jeff Kosin, CHS Assistant Principal Amy Quayle and the club sport director and by his junior year he put a team together and recruited athletes interested in powerlifting.
“Everything came together and we found a coach, Lucas Sanders, who is a football coach with a lot of powerlifting experience,” said Grail. “I am very thankful, and the team is thankful we have him as a coach. If we didn’t have him, we probably wouldn’t be where we are today.”
He also qualified for the 2020 USA Powerlifting High School National Championships in Killeen, Texas, which was rescheduled for June 20 – July 2.
His advice to aspiring athletes interested in powerlifting is to enjoy it like they would any other sport and also not to be intimidated.
Grail plans on studying at Oakland University where he will pursue a career in medicine. He plans to go into orthopedic surgery.
“I am trying to take advantage of my powerlifting days right now because I don’t see myself fitting in a professional powerlifting career on top of studying medicine,” he said, adding it’s not impossible to do both. “ I am choosing to follow medicine. My goal is to be able to operate on athletes who suffer lesser skeletal injuries and disorders.”
During his free time he likes to hunt, shoot skeet and hang out with friends.
Grail also likes to take advantage of all the opportunities life throws his way and to live his life to his fullest potential.
“It’s just the way I am, I like to take advantage of opportunities and see where it leads me and the worlds it opens for me,” he said. “I like to put 100 percent of my effort into whatever I do.”

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