By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Gauge Heikkinen had a strong finish in the Michigan High School Powerlifting State Meet winning his back-to-back championship in the 275-pound weight class.
“It’s awesome,” said Heikkinen, a senior at Clarkston High School, about winning the championship. “I am really glad to bring some attention to my team.”
He finished with a total of 1,500 pounds. His bests out of three attempts were 575 pounds in squat; 320 pounds in bench; and 605 pounds in deadlift.
Last year he won the same weight class with a total of 1,415 pounds.
“We checked and no one in the school’s history has done it before,” Heikkinen said. “It is pretty cool having that personal ability to do so. I will have my name on the wall even when I am outside of high school and that is pretty cool.”
He added it was great to represent Clarkston and his community at the state meet.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I love being around all the different schools and putting Clarkston on the map for hopefully more years to come. I hope other people inspire to represent their community, too.”
“I‘ve had the opportunity to coach Gauge since he was in freshman football,” shared Lucas Sanders, head coach. “I’ve gotten to see him evolve over four years. I am unbelievably proud of him. Being a state champion once is a feat by itself. It’d be easy for anyone to try and cruise after such an accomplishment. But that’s not Gauge. His ability to motivate and push himself is why he’s won it twice. It puts him in an elite category. I can’t wait to see what doors that passion opens up for him.
Heikkinen started powerlifting in his freshman year after the football season was done.
“I was just a 14-year-old kid looking to start on JV football the next year. It was an honest start,” he said. “My weights were really low. I stayed consistent with it and my weights came up.”
It paid off and the last two fall seasons he was he was a starter for Clarkston Varsity Football.
He shared he enjoys the personal progression and mindset it gave him for every aspect of his life.
Heikkinen added he hopes his success gets more students interested in the powerlifting program at Clarkston and shared a message for those hesitant to join.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do or what your limits are,” he said. “Just give it a shot. You’ve got nothing to loss. My main takeaway is believing in yourself. You never know where it will take you. I see so many people who have championship lift capabilities in them. All they have to do is stay consistent, put in the work and they can be successful. They can do that in life as well.”
Heikkinen plans to attend Michigan Tech next year where he will continue playing football. He plans on studying economics, sharing there are a lot of directions it can take him.
“Thank you Gauge for giving back,” Sanders shared. “You’ve been a huge inspiration to our younger guys. I can’t wait to watch them grab for that brass ring like you have.”