By Brady Ambrose
If you’re looking for something a little different to take in this weekend, Caledonia High School might just have what you’re looking for.
On Feb. 23 Caledonia will host the Caledonia Last Chance High School meet, the final opportunity for high school age weightlifters to qualify for the upcoming Minnesota State High School Weightlifting Championships, which will be held March 9 in Lakeville. In attendance will be somewhat of a recent celebrity and a familiar face around town. Warrior sophomore Trece Frank, who along with several other weightlifters from Caledonia coached by Ernie and Eddie Hodges, recently competed in the Blaze Invitational in Burnsville Feb. 9, where Frank set three new state records in the junior varsity girls division.
Not only did Frank set the records, she blew away the competition in the process. Frank lifted 62 kilograms (136.4 lbs.) in the snatch and 76 kg’s (167.2 lbs.) in the clean and jerk. Her total amount lifted of 138 kg’s (303.6 lbs.) was 11 kilograms better than Alicia Vogel’s total of 127 kg. Vogel (Lake South) placed second to Frank in all three events. Vogel’s best effort in the clean and jerk was 75 kg, and her best lift in the snatch was 52 kg.
Coach Ernie Hodges said, “You really have to go and see them do it. It is so technical – they are moving a lot of weight very fast – it’s almost like an art form.”
Hodges and his son Eddie team up to coach the Caledonia lifters. In fact, Eddie was responsible for the success of several other Caledonia lifters at Burnsville. Devan and Madisyn Heaney, Rachel Welch and Danny Dunbar all finished in the top five in their respective weight classes with Devan and Madisyn both placing first, Welch placing second and Dunbar fourth. “Trece has been mine since she started,” Hodges said. “But I told Eddie you take the Heaney girls and work with them; they will be your first students and your protégés.”
Hodges, who is the force behind the weightlifting program at Caledonia, started the program in the fall of 1995, he said. In the beginning kids would show up at his garage, but later the program moved to the high school and has been a cornerstone of the success of Caledonia athletics ever since. Hodges has coached Frank since she started about four years ago, he said. That time frame includes a national championship a year ago. At the National Youth Championships in Dearborn, Michigan in June, Frank, who was making her second trip to nationals, lifted a total of 130 kg. She snatched 60 kg and lifted 70 kg in the clean and jerk. With this total she claimed the national title by a full 23 kilos over her next-closest competitor.
At the Minnesota state meet a year ago, Madisyn Heaney placed first in the 44 kilo division with a total weight of 65 kilos. Rachel Welsh placed second in the same class with a total of 60 kilos, and Frank placed second in the 69 kilo class with a total weight of 131. On the boys side Devan Heaney placed third in the 56 kilo class with a total weight of 91 kilos.
Saturday’s meet at CHS starts at 9 a.m. with weigh-ins for the junior varsity boys and girls. The varsity lifters will weigh-in from 11 a.m. to noon with the lift starting at 1 p.m. Junior varsity lifters are age 16 and under, and varsity lifters are above the age of 16. There are seven different weight classes, and the meet is sanctioned by Minnesota Weightlifting and sponsored by the Caledonia Touchdown Club.