Three Phillips powerlifters qualify for national meetSubmitted: 03/16/2018

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PHILLIPS - The Phillips powerlifting team makes the most out of what it has.

Just like Rocky in Rocky IV, the Phillips powerlifters don't have the fanciest of gyms.

"We kind of like to compare ourselves to the Rocky movies. Where he trains, and then where the Russian trains in these other gyms with all the high tech gadgets and the new equipment," said Phillips Powerlifting Coach Steve Mealman.

But these lifters don't seem to mind.

"We have this small gym, and it's all you need," said senior powerlifter Kenzie Svoboda.

It's all they needed to send four lifters to the state meet, and three to the national meet.

But their gym and their sport give these athletes more than just a place to train their bodies.

"You have to have the self-discipline to make yourself better. You have to want to get better," said senior powerlifter Brice McClay.

McClay actually attends Chequamegon High School, but lifts with the Loggers.

Hi and his teammates learn self-discipline and self-confidence.

"You walk up to the bar and tell yourself you're not going to get it, you're not going to get it," said junior powerlifter Virginia McMillan.

Those are lessons that extend outside of the weight room.

"That feeds on to everything else. You know everything else in life. Teach them what they can do here and hopefully they'll take it with them," said Mealman.

For new state deadlift record holder, Kenzie Svoboda, that fact rings true.

"I was really anti-social when I started powerlifting. Powerlifting really brought out my personality and who I really am," said Svoboda.

It's who she really is, and who they really are.

Through an individual sport, it's something they've discovered together.

"[There's] a lot of teamwork involved in it," said McClay.

"Our team is family," said Svoboda.

And because of that, they don't plan to change a thing.

Svoboda, McClay and McMillan will compete in the national powerlifting meet March 22-25 in Appleton.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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