February 25, 2023

By Jeanne Tucker
Hickman Mills C-1 School District

Coach Badali spoke about the weight lifting season for Ruskin High School. He said, “Ruskin weightlifting has competed in two meets so far this season. The 2023 Leavenworth Powerlifting Meet and the 16th Annual Basehor-Linwood Bobcat Powerlifting Invitational. Every athlete that has competed for our team has broken a personal record. Numerous athletes placed in the top 10 in their weight class. Our last meet of the season will be at North Kansas City High School on February 18th, 2023.”

“The best weight lifters at Ruskin High School at this time are as follows:”

Dalyn Harden, who is currently being recruited for powerlifting, is our team captain and most seasoned lifter. He has been in the weightlifting program since its inception.

Darius Harden, current junior is an up and coming lifter making waves in the 198 lb weight class. Darius has broken several personal records and is on every top 5 school leaderboard.

Dominic Johnson, current junior and multisport athlete has surprised many with his tenacity and strength.

Alex Vanvollenhoven, current junior, joined the weightlifting team this year. He is the current school record holder in the bench press.

Jaden Epanty, current sophomore, was a pleasant surprise this season. Jaden is also a multisport athlete that has a very bright future in weightlifting and powerlifting.

Alana Harris Hathaway, current freshmen, shattered the school record for clean at her last meet by 25 lbs! Alana has a very bright future in Weightlifting and Powerlifting.

Jordyn Tinsley, current freshman, has broken three personal records at every meet she has attended so far. Jordyn is a multisport athlete that will lead the future of Ruskin athletics.

Our up and coming freshmen to keep an eye on are: Teon Woods, Antwon Leaper, and Devone Rollins.

Coach Badali’s goal every single year is to increase the participation numbers. Ruskin currently has 16 students-athletes participating and he looks forward to more participation next year.

Many people are not aware of this sport. Coach Badali commented on some of the rewards and benefits.

He said, “Weightlifting and powerlifting competitions are a great opportunity for those that are not currently competing in a winter sport. These competitions and training can help improve the student-athletes’ athletic performance. This training is not sport specific which means any student-athlete wanting to improve their athletic performance can benefit.”

Coach Badali was asked, “If a student is expressing an interest in weight lifting, what would you say to them?”

“I welcome male and female athletes to the team. To participate in the Ruskin High School weightlifting program, a student in the district must have an up to date physical and the annual form filled out.”

Medals Can be Awarded
“Each student-athlete is weighed prior to the meet. They are then put into a weight class. Top three in each lift bench, squat, clean, and total receive a medal. Students with the highest amount lifted in each lift and combined total receive a 1-3 medal,” said Coach.

Competitive Weight Lifting
Outside of the district, students can compete in USA Powerlifting and USA Weightlifting. Both organizations allow student-athletes to compete at a national level.

Ruskin Students
Currently, Coach Badali does not teach a weightlifting class. However, he is hoping to teach one in the future.

The Ruskin program is conducted after school and it begins at 2:45 p.m. The program concludes at 4 p.m. This season training takes place on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

“I am hoping with increased participation, we will be able to compete for first place team finish,” said Coach Badali.

Annual Meets
The Annual Basehor-Linwood Bobcat Invitational draws student-athletes from around the states of Missouri and Kansas. This meet can be seen as a preliminary state championship. The best of the best in Kansas participate in this meet.

At the 16th Annual Basehor-Linwood Bobcat Invitational, there were close to 1,000 student-athletes competing.

As a whole, Ruskin Athletes take an average placing of 6-7th in their Weight Class. Each year they have been improving as a Team and the coach is looking forward to growing the sport as a whole in South Kansas City.

Missouri does not currently have a conference championship, district championship, or state championship titles.

How did Coach Badali get involved with weight lifting?

He has competed in strength sports since the age of 17. “I have always loved strength sports and would like to reach as many student-athletes as possible,” said Coach.

Weightlifting and powerlifting enables anyone who participates to improve their self-worth.

Coch Badali has been coaching weight Lifting for a while. He has 15 years of experience in strength and conditioning. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.

Weight Lifting as a Sport
Weightlifting and powerlifting are regarded as two of the safest sports currently available for student-athletes. Coach Badali said, “For Ruskin High School to be a first place contender as a team, we must get student-athletes involved as early as possible. I look forward to the growth of the Ruskin High School weightlifting team,” said Badali.