Power lifter Harrison working alone
Gus Harrison, a sophomore outside linebacker at McLouth High, has found a productive way to spend his offseason.
Representing McLouth by himself, Harrison has been training for and competing in power lifting meets across the state.
On March 1 at the Basehor-Linwood Invitational, he swept the 172-pound junior division by taking the gold medal in bench press (230), squat lift (370), clean lift (225) and overall performance to win the light-heavyweight championship at the meet.
He followed that up on Saturday by finishing second in his teen division at a national meet in Hoisington.
On Saturday at Jefferson County North, Harrison placed third in squat, tied for third in bench and garnered a second-place overall finish.
Because few high schools have varsity lifting teams, Harrison is in a unique situation, competing as the lone Bulldog wherever he goes.
But he did get a hand from MHS football coach Harry Hester. Hester finds the competitions for Harrison and helps him get signed up.
Harrison said he first became interested in power lifting as an eighth-grader. While he was too young for such competitions at that time, he didn't let go of the idea.
Inspired by some friends of his older brother, Ripp, Harrison was intrigued by the idea of competitive strength events.
Last year as a freshman he got a taste of the sport, but a couple of broken fingers and canceled meets limited his exposure to it. This year, as his recent finishes have indicated, is another story.
Harrison said the time he has spent training has paid off.
"I usually lift after school and I go over to the Tonganoxie gym and lift there sometimes," he said, referring to Unlimited Fitness.
While competing somewhat anonymously can be a bit of a task, Harrison said his football coach makes sure people around school find out about his feats.
"I come back and tell coach Hester how I did and he kind of (spreads the word)," he said.
With a March 29 state meet looming and nothing on the schedule for this weekend, Harrison said he plans on getting some extra training in while he enjoys spring break.
"If state was this weekend, I probably wouldn't try to get any stronger, but with two weeks I'll probably try to work on my squat since that's my best event," he said.
Now he only has one more goal to look forward to this season.
"I'm pretty confident and I hope I can win a banner for coach Hester," he said.