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The North Wind

The North Wind

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Annamarie Parker
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I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

TIMES ARE CHANGING — FAFSA announced changes to its filing system in February.
Editorial — The "better" FAFSA
North Wind Editorial Board February 27, 2024

USOEC excited for Thunderdome Challenge

With the 2012 Olympic Trials around the corner in March, the USOEC men’s and women’s weightlifting team has been preparing rigorously.

The team will hold the Thunderdome Challenge in the Superior Dome next week. Senior Allie Henry said she is looking forward to it because it’s the only competition here in Marquette.

“Some people need this competition to qualify for nationals, but most of us are competing for fun because we are already qualified,” Henry said.

Normally coaches play a huge role in weightlifting competitions, like tracking who is lifting what and timing warm ups. Henry said it is going to be different having to track all of that by herself.

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“It’s definitely going to be a learning experience,” Henry said.

Head coach Vance Newgard said though coaches are usually always there, it doesn’t hurt to prepare for a situation where they may not be there.

“Normally we load the bar, tell them when and what to lift, and keep track of their attempts for them,” Newgard said. “It’s good to give them the chance to keep track of everything themselves in case we aren’t there to do it for them.”

While the Thunderdome Challenge isn’t the competition he wants his athletes to peak at, Newgard said it is a good opportunity for some last minute adjustments before bigger competition.

“It’ll basically be a tune-up for the athletes,” Newgard said. “It will allow both myself and the individual athlete see where their training is and where they need to be for the next couple weeks before Nationals and Trials.”

The first major competition of the year was the Twin City Open in October where, out of the 15 USOEC athletes that competed, nine of them placed first in their respective classes.

Taking first place for the men’s team was freshman Ryan Borges, junior Andrew Vrabel, junior Mathew Fraser, junior Marc Spurlock, junior Dan Gorelik, and junior Chris Lenahen. On the women’s side, finishing first Vanessa McCoy, senior Allie Henry, and sophomore Jerilyn Smith.

The athletes are now training for Junior Nationals from Jan. 27 through 29 and the National Weightlifting Championships that will be held alongside the Women’s Olympic Trials from March 2 through 4. The United States was unable to qualify a men’s weightlifting team for the Olympics so when a female athlete lifts at Trials, those lifts will count towards their National lifts totals.

Newgard was just named to the head coaching position for the USOEC after former coach Andy Tysz accepted a coaching education job at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Vrabel said the transition has been easy for most of the athletes.

“Andy is still helping out through the semester so people who were on his programs won’t have to switch mid-season,” Henry said. “The staff change hasn’t affected the athletes at all.”

Both coaches believe in the same basic coaching philosophies so when all the athlete lifting programs are written by Newgard it won’t be a shock to the system. Newgard said there is only one big difference between the two coaches.

“My school of thought keeps athletes lifting higher volumes for longer periods of times,” Newgard said. “I think it keeps your strength up longer during the training period.”

Since he has been at the USOEC for five years, Newgard doesn’t feel much different either.

“It’s been a fairly natural transition for me because of my history here,” Newgard said. “I just have a little more responsibility and a different title, and I am looking forward to it.”

The USOEC Thunderdome Challenge will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday Feb. 3 in the Superior Dome. Newgard said the athletes would love to see fellow students there to cheer them on.

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