Women’s powerlifting wins collegiate nationals

The Nicholls Women’s Powerlifting Team won the women’s division of the 2004 Collegiate National Powerlifting Championships for the first time in school history in early May. The men’s team placed fifth and the women and men’s team placed second overall.More than 65 students competed in the women’s competition, hosted by USA Powerlifting in Omaha, Neb. “It means a lot, especially as my experience as a head coach and the only coach for the majority of the year,” Jon Magendie said. Magendie, who is no longer employed by the University as a strength coach in athletics, served as the team coach this past year but is unsure of whether he will be returning as the powerlifting coach.

“It’s shocking,” Ashley Millet, mass communication junior from Marerro, said of being a member of a national championship team. “We’ve been working for it for so long and for it to become a reality is still pretty much a shock.”

Weighlifters Jamie Johnson, freshman from Edgewater, Fla.; Kelly Louque, math junior from Hester; and Ashley Matherne, nursing junior from Destrehan, were also invited to the 2004 Junior World Powerlifting Championships in Pretoria, South Africa in September. They are currently seeking sponsors to help raise the $9,000 of anticipated travel expenses.

“The key (to winning nationals) was team work and dedication, practicing even on holidays and having a coach that did very well,” Matherne said.

Magendie said he founded Nicholls’ powerlifting team, which operates as a club sport, in late 1999. “I coached it very much like a varsity team, which accounted for its success over the years,” Magendie said.

Team members are continuing their training with Magendie at Riverside Academy in Reserve this summer. Competition will begin in October.

Matherne said she thinks the team’s success has brought more student recognition to the sport and will bring more students to the team. At the end of last year, there were approximately 18 lifters.

“Our goal for next year is to get more people to come and lift with us and keep the championship in our name,” Matherne said. “We want to stay together and fight for the championship again and not let Louisiana Tech get it back.