CHS Powerlifters wrap the season at the state meet

By Wendi Reardon Price
Staff Writer
— Four Clarkston High School seniors Patrick Gruca, Manny Miller, Ryan Rector and Noah Zabinski proved their strength during the Michigan High School Powerlifting Association State Meet at Lake Orion High School, March 9.
Zabinski fifth place in the 155-pound weight class with a total of 1,100 with 375 in squat, 240 in bench and 485 in deadlift
“My goal this season was to place in the top ten in the state meet,” Zabinski shared. “A personal highlight was with my squat, bench and deadlift getting to an 1,100 pound total. A struggle I faced was being overweight prior to the meet, because of this I had to load water in order to make weight on the morning of the meet.”
He added his teammates helped him this season by pushing him to work harder in every workout and showing up everyday.
Zabinski joined powerlifting three years ago.
“I started because of my friends in football wanted me to lift weights with them and I stuck with it,” he said.
Rector finished in eighth place in the 181-pound weight class with a total of 1,145 with 390 in squat, 265 in bench and 490 in deadlift.
He shared the highlight of his season was placing in the top ten at the state meet. He added he achieved his goals by qualifying for the state meet.
“I had struggles with getting sick which held me back by losing some of my weight and strength gains,” Rector shared. “My teammates pushed me in the weight room to train my hardest. It was like a side-by-side competition constantly trying to better each other and keep the intensity high.”
Rector has been on the powerlifting team for two years and shared he joined because of football.
He added Clarkston Powerlifting Coach Lucas Sanders was a big help.
“I want to add a thank you to Coach Sanders for really toning me and bringing out my best this powerlifting season. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Miller finished with a total of 1,175 in the 207-pound weight class for his first year on the powerlifting team. He finished with 435 in squat, 235 in bench and 505 in deadlift.
“My goals this season were to make it to states and improve daily,” he said. “I have achieved both of these goals I placed 11th in the state in my weight class and have improved drastically. I would say my personal highlight was making it to states – as that was a goal. A struggle I had was getting sick a week before the state competition and losing six pounds. I had to gain the weight and strength back for the competition.”
Miller shared he joined the powerlifting team this year because he was already lifting on his own and thought why not compete.
“My teammates have helped add some humor to the competitions and the lifting days, definitely made it a lasting experience,” he said.
Gruca finished with a total 1,115 in the 181-pound weight class for 15th place with 375 in squat; 250 in bench and 490 in deadlift.
It was his first year on the powerlifting team, which he joined because all through high school he was told he should compete.
“So I did,” he said. “Also, it seemed interesting to lift against other strong kids around the state. My goal for this season were to make it to the state meet, I’m glad to say I did.”
Groca’s personal highlight for the season was taking first place at the Utica Ford meet.
“A struggle I had was overcoming my plateau on deadlift, I’m glad to say I overcame this struggle by relaxing and not letting my mental block psych me out,” he shared.
“My teammates have helped me stay consistent and accountable throughout the entire season. I also thank my coach, the legend himself, Lucas Sanders, for helping me lift for sports and powerlifting. I would not be the person physically or mentally I am today without him.”
After graduation in June, Zabinski plans to continue his education at Michigan Technological University. Rector plans to attend Lawrence Tech University where he will play football.
“I will continue to get stronger,” he said. “After college I plan on continuing with fitness and lifting.”
Miller plans to compete in a bodybuilding competition and see where his path goes from there.
Groca plans to keep lifting, hit new max lifts and make new friends along the way.
“I’ve made as much friends as I have gains in my time lifting at Clarkston and I am extremely grateful for that,” he said.

From left, Ryan Rector, Manny Miller, Clarkston Powerlifting Coach Lucas Sanders, Noah Zabinski and Patrick Gruca. Photo: Provided by Lucas Sanders

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