2014 Formula Evaluation
Since starting PowerliftingHigh.com in January (2014), we have had many twists, turns, adaptations, and we have had to develop strategies on the fly. It has been quite challenging, but it has been fun!
To be completely honest, we had one huge surprise! We were expecting more people to challenge the formula that we created. Either readers: 1) believed we actually created a viable formula that compares lifters from all over the country, 2) didn’t really care, or 3) thought that we were crazy (and never told us).
We did have a few critics early in the season (January launch) and late in the season (after final rankings). We made sure to take the time to communicate with those that were concerned. A couple of coaches made valid points.
Launch of PowerliftingHigh.com was in January, however, we started creating a database and formula in October (after Jr Worlds in Killeen,TX). I’ll conservatively estimate that we spent 100+ hours setting up and back testing the original database and the rankings formula. We will use this article to publicly reflect on the performance of our formula.
Final Rankings vs. Preseason Rankings
1. Lauren Lent – 123 – HS Whitnall, Greenfield, WI 2nd
2. Taylor LaChapelle – 97 – Adams-Friendship HS, Adams, WI 6th
3. Jaelynn Clark – SJR – SHW – East Central HS, San Antonio, TX 16th
4. Sam Machuca – 105 – San Benito HS, TX 10th
5. Ashley Garay – 105 – Los Fresnos HS, TX 18th
6. Ariel Bulmash – 123 – S. Forsyth HS, Cumming, GA 1st
7. Aree Dezort – 132 – Iola HS, WI Not Ranked
8. Marissa Martinez – 123 – Calhoun HS, Port Lavaca, TX 41st
9. Denisha Melancon – 148 – Lutcher HS, LA 3rd
10. Brytany Ybarra – 114 – Southside HS, San Antonio, TX 23rd
11. Kailee Guth – JR – 114 – Adams-Friendship HS, Adams, WI 15th
12. Tracy Escamilla – 97 – Rio Hondo HS, TX 32nd
13. Angelica Fuentes – 148 – HS Ballinger, TX Not Ranked
14. Alejandra Avila – 114 – Silsbee HS, TX 4th
15. Amanda Lopez – 105 – Crystal City HS, TX 7th
16. Kristian Villegas – 132 – Calhoun HS, Port Lavaca, TX 25th
17. Johannah Theisen – 198 – Regis HS Eau Claire, WI 8th
18. Tristyn Hutchins – 105 – HS Necedah, WI 39th
19. Crystal Olivarez – 132 – Rio Hondo HS, TX Not Ranked
20. China Storks – SHW – Lutcher HS, LA 5th
21. Carley Miller – 148 – Kasson-Mantorville HS, Kasson, MN 21st
22. Cindy Galvan – 181 – East HS Weslaco, TX 24th
23. Lorraine SanMiguel – 97 – Crystal City HS, TX Not Ranked
24. Cory Nutall – 123 – HS College Station, TX Not Ranked
25. Kassy Zamorano – 97 – HS Los Fresnos, TX 35th
1. Michael Rodriguez – 242 – Kingsville King HS, TX 2nd
2. Dalton La Coe – 114 – Abington Heights HS, Clarks Summit, PA 10th
3. Joshua Bickham – 198 – Covington HS, LA 1st
4. Ryan Gray – 181 – Eau Claire North HS, WI Not Ranked
5. Rudy Flores – SHW – United South HS, Laredo, TX Not Ranked
6. Ashton Rouska – 181 – Brandeis HS, San Antonio, TX Not Ranked
7. Jordan Ruiz – 148 – Seagraves HS, TX Not Ranked
8. Enrique Lugo – 242 – Jourdanton HS, TX 12th
9. Tyran Garrett – 181 – Covington HS, LA 6th
10. Mitchell Fountain – 220 – Woodlands HS, Conroe, TX 16th
11. Cory Adamczak – 148 – Necedah HS, WI Not Ranked
12. Andrew Bator – 198 – Meridian HS, MS 29th
13. Colton Bramlett – 198 – Pontotoc HS, MS 11th
14. Tristan Pelitire – 165 – Jones HS, Beeville, TX 4th
15. Drake Ambroch – 220 – Whitnall HS, Greenfield, WI 9th
16. Ben Neveres – 181 – Edcouch-Elsa HS, Edcouch, TX Not Ranked
17. Bailey Wray – SHW – Pontotoc HS, MS 5th
18. Lushawn Ware – 132 – West Monroe HS, LA 7th
19. Dakota Cooksy – 242 – Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, TX 17th
20. Raynard Taylor – 181 – Canyon HS, New Braunfels, TX Not Ranked
21. Tyler Kinder – 220 – Alexandria Senior High, LA Not Ranked
22. Matt Garcia – 220 – Ben Bolt HS, TX 3rd
23. Christian Dunn – 165 – Ouachita Christian HS, Monroe, LA Not Ranked
24. Wilfredo Juarbe – 165 – Glenn Mills HS, PA Not Ranked
25. Justin Bigelow – 275 – Denison HS, TX Not Ranked
About half of the “not ranked” lifters were in our preseason database. However, at the time we could not confirm that they were still in school. The other half, just came out of nowhere. When we release our 2015 preseason rankings in December, they won’t include lifters who have worked the hardest this summer in the gym!
Post-High School Nationals Post Evaluation
If we were comparing apples to oranges during the year, what happened when they lifted on the same platform at the USAPL High School Nationals in Killeen, TX?
I extracted the top 35 girls and the top 35 guys from Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Texas based on results from the national meet. I then compared each lifters performance to their performance at their respective state meet (Yes, this is a small sample size, but this is what we have to work with).
Note: Average increase and percentage increase are linear measurements. However, we know that the relationship of bodyweight to the total is a non-linear relationship. Our formula used to rank lifters is a non-linear formula.
All Girls (N=35) on average lifted 6.3lbs (1%) more than their respective state meet and scored 12.3 points higher in our formula.
All Boys (N=35) on average lifted 11.4lbs (1%) more than their respective state meet and scored 8.5 points higher in our formula.
Louisiana ONLY Lifters (State meet was 1 week earlier)
All Girls (N=7) on average lifted 9.3lbs (1%) more than their respective state meet and scored 14 points higher in our formula.
All Boys (N=10) on average lifted 25.3lbs (-2%) less than their respective state meet and scored 5.85 points lower in our formula.
Thought #1: The majority of the girl lifters analyzed were from Lutcher. They only went about 85-90% at their state meet the week before.
Thought #2: The majority of the boy lifters analyzed were from Covington (who won the national team title). They went 100% the week before at the LA state meet. Several of them even attempted 4th attempts at that meet.
I don’t blame them for putting on a show at the LA state meet. The LHSAA/LHSPLA and Louisiana media provided a great deal of media coverage for that meet, and (rightfully) Covington got their fair share! Newspaper reporters and TV crews from as far as 285 miles away traveled to report on the meet. The meet was also live streamed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Network. I was part of a three person production team that produced that broadcast. Covington lifters were seen by curious watchers from across the nation.
Texas ONLY Lifters (Girls lifted two weeks prior, and Boys lifted one week prior)
All Girls (N=9) on average lifted 14lbs (1.5%) more than their respective state meet and scored 15.7 points higher in our formula.
All Boys (N=9) on average lifted 23lbs (-2%) less than their respective state meet, but scored 24.4 points higher in our formula.
Thought #1: As we back tested our formula with results from the last several years, the trend of the boys from Texas, lifting at Nationals, shows a significant decrease in total (albeit small sample size). However, this year (with the meet in Texas) we saw that gap tighten. This is a positive sign! From these results we are adding two additional variables to our 2015 formula to help compensate for the closing gap.
Thought #2: The level of competition at the boys TX state meet is much deeper than at nationals, so these lifters were fighting for their life two weeks in a row. Just like the LA state meet, the TX meet is well covered by media too. It is a wild show!
The greatest variable: Texas high school powerlifting has many variables. Just comparing lifters within the state is tough. Because of the number of lifters, size of the state, inconsistent weigh-in times, differences in levels of equipment use (mostly economical reasons), and differences in judging, our formula errs on the side of caution when comparing them to lifters from other states. Once again, we are making slight adjustments to the 2015 formula to help with this. Don’t take this as knock against the TX high school powerlifting associations. They do an amazing job. Don’t forget they are the largest powerlifting organization in the country!
Wisconsin ONLY Lifters (lifted three weeks prior)
All Girls (N=19) on average lifted 15.1lbs more than their respective state meet and scored 9.8 points higher in our formula. 15.1lbs will seem low once you read below.
All Boys (N=16) on average lifted 53.5lbs more than their respective state meet and scored 8.5 points higher in our formula.
Thoughts: We think we have the Wisconsin formula pretty close. You can tell we fully expected this huge increase in the boys totals based on only improving 8.5 points in our formula (exact same as the top 35 overall average).
“Pressing” a little deeper!
Wisconsin lifters do not use bench shirts during their season. For most, high school nationals is the only meet they use bench shirts. So how much did they improve their bench press after adding a shirt? We looked at all of the Wisconsin lifters (N=106) who competed at both the state and national meet.
Boys (N=46) on average gained 37lbs (15%) increase on their bench press. Only 1 lifter (of 46) bench press decreased by more than 5 lbs from the state meet to nationals. Did the top lifters get more? Not really. Those who finished in the top 3 in their weight class (varsity division, N=17) gained the same average of 37lbs.
I did find a difference (low sample sizes) in teams! The schools of Whitnall and Racine-Horlick were way ahead of the other teams in increasing their bench press by using a shirt.
Girls (N=60) on average gained 22lbs (18.8%) on their bench press. Only 2 lifter (of 60) bench press decreased by more than 5 lbs from the state meet to nationals. Those who finished in the top 3 in their weight class (varsity division) got slightly more, 25.3lbs (20.2%) from a bench shirt.
Team differences (I was surprised)? Neenah’s team, coached by Joe Lewis, got the most out of the bench shirt. The biggest surprise is the the teams of Omro and Necedah (National Team Champions) got the least from the addition of the bench press (with the exception of Tristyn Hutchins). If there is such a thing as a flaw or weakness of the Necedah team, maybe this is it. Maybe it is sampling error. Or, is this just an area that they will improve on and separate themselves further from the pack?
Let’s look at a few head-to-head interstate battles. We tried to highlight the differences.
44kg/97lbs Class Results (and pre-meet rankings)
1st Stephanie Rattunde – Necedah, WI – 292.5kg/645lbs (#30)
2nd Marian Marrero – Racine Horlick, WI – 290kg/639lbs (#63)
3rd Ashley Mitchell – ASH, LA – 267.5kg/590lbs (#45, went for win on last deadlift)
52kg/114lbs Class Results (and pre-meet rankings)
1st Ashley Garay – San Benito, TX – 367.5kg/810lbs (#7)
2nd Brytany Ybarra – Brooks Academy, TX – 362.5kg/799lbs (#14)
3rd Kailee Guth – Adams Friendship, WI – 347.5kg/766lbs (#8, also went for win on last deadlift)
67.5kg/148lbs Class Results (and pre-meet rankings)
1st Denisha Melancon – Lutcher, LA – 420kg/926lbs (#9)
2nd Carley Miller – Kelly Walsh, MN – 420kg/926lbs (#32)
3rd Teagan Schwab – Neenah, WI – 107.5kg/898lbs (#27)
82.5kg/181lbs Class Results (and pre-meet rankings)
1st Stephanie Brown – Wills Point, TX – 425kg/937lbs (#70)
2nd Lacey Winters – Necedah, WI – 412.5kg/909lbs (#59)
56kg/123lbs Class Results (and pre-meet rankings)
1st Danny Voelkel – Whitnall, WI – 437.5kg/965lbs
2nd Jorge Saldana – Natalia, TX – 437.5kg/965lbs
Neither of these two lifters were ranked in our top 100 on March 26th. I went back and looked through the database to see where they were. To my surprise they were separated by only 1.5 pts (Jorge with edge) in our formula. Jorge competed at 114 during TX season. He bumped up to 123lb class for a better chance at a win. It was a close one!
82.5kg/181lbs Class Results (and pre-meet rankings)
1st Ryan Gray – Eau Claire North, WI – 753kg/1,660lbs (#3)
2nd Ashton Rouska – Brandies, TX – 735kg/1,620lbs (#18)
3rd Tyran Garrett – Covington, LA – 710kg/1,565lbs (#8)
4th Raynard Taylor – Canyon, TX – 682.5kg/1,505lbs (#78)
90kg/198lbs Class Results (and pre-meet rankings)
1st Josh Bickham – Covington, LA – 800kg/1,764lbs (#2)
2nd Keaton Rodriguez – Slidell, LA – 707.5kg/1,560lbs (#26)
3rd Jordan Plantiko – WI – 707.5kg/1,560lbs (#37)
4th Montel Leggett – Glen Mills, PA – 682.5kg/1,505lbs (NR)
5th Colt Grow – Covington, LA – 672.5kg/1,483lbs (#80)
If you read all of this, you deserve a prize! Once again, we are far from perfect. Thanks for following and providing feedback; we are working hard to promote High School Powerlifting.
1) …believe we actually created a “viable” formula that compares lifters from all over the country.
2) …really don’t care (doubt you will be reading this far down).
3) …think we were crazy. Now is the time to tell us!