2013-06-25 / Sports

Pumping iron

Young enjoys coaching, competing in powerlifting
Staff Writer

Duane Young Duane Young No challenge is too heavy for Duane Young.

Whether coaching the Lampasas girls’ powerlifting team or pursuing his own goals as a competitive lifter, Young is always looking for ways to maximize athletes’ potential.

Young is the head coach for the Lady Badgers’ powerlifting team. He also competes for USA Powerlifting. He holds the organization’s state record for his age and weight class with a deadlift of 200 kilograms – just over 440 pounds.

He has been lifting for decades and has coached powerlifting in Lampasas for four years.

Young grew up in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., where he was active in several sports. He ran cross country and track in high school, and also participated in wrestling and rodeo.

Afterward, Young attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He enjoys a variety of sports, but powerlifting and wrestling have long been his favorites.

Although he still lifts competitively, Young has stopped wrestling “by chiropractor’s orders.” The coach said he also enjoys hunting and going to the lake.

After college graduation, the Wisconsin native came to Texas in 1983, “just kind of on a whim,” he said. He taught at Hyde Park Baptist High School in Austin, before leaving the teaching profession for a number of years.

Young returned to his home state, where he was a wrestling coach at Rhinelander High School in northern Wisconsin. In addition to coaching wrestling, he assisted with the football and powerlifting teams.

His wife Rhonda, a Texas native, convinced him to return to the Lone Star State.

“She wanted to move back to Texas, so I ended up at Marble Falls as a teacher,” the coach said. “There I coached football for one year [at the freshman level], and then I was one of the powerlifting coaches. And then I took the job here in Lampasas.”

Young began his career at Lampasas High School in 2007, when he accepted a position as assistant principal. Although he wasn’t hired initially to coach powerlifting, he was a natural fit for the job.

“I was just going to all the powerlifting meets because I absolutely love the sport,” he said. “They finally said, ‘Why don’t we just pay this guy?’ Four years ago they made me the head coach of girls’ powerlifting.”

Young got his start in competitive powerlifting in 1987.

“I was lifting at Gold’s Gym, and some guy came up to me and said, ‘You’re pretty strong. You ought to powerlift,’ ” Young said. “So that was a start.

“I entered my first meet, didn’t do well at all, but I was hooked. I ended up lifting for Gold’s Gym Powerlifting Team, experienced some success, but I’ve been lifting ever since.”

Young has accomplished a number of memorable feats, both as a coach and as a lifter. Competing for USA Powerlifting, he has won a state championship in Wisconsin as well as in Texas. One of his proudest moments occurred earlier this year.

“My son and I were both state champions in powerlifting,” Young said.

He and his son Zachary, 11, each placed first in their respective age and weight classes at the Texas championship, held in April in San Antonio. Zachary Young also competed at the national meet last Friday at Killeen.

This past season was a highlight for Young as a coach, as he led 15 girls to the regional powerlifting meet.

“That was our goal, to get as many girls as possible to regionals, and we got more than a team,” he said, adding that only 11 girls can count for team score.

The coach’s goals for the upcoming season are high but attainable, in light of last year’s success.

“I would like to get a trophy at regionals,” Young said.

Trophies are awarded to the top three teams at the regional meet.

“We were fifth last year, so we’re right there,” he said.

The coach also hopes to have at least one athlete earn a medal at state. This past season, Scotti Franklin was the lone Lady Badger to reach the state meet, where she placed ninth.

Powerlifting has long been one of Young’s favorite activities, and he describes it as one of the purest sports, “because of the fact that it’s you against a chunk of iron. You either pick it up, or you don’t.”

Young added that he would like to see more girls join powerlifting. He said that a lot are hesitant at first, but they enjoy the sport once they begin competing. Young said many girls are surprised at how much they can lift, and he enjoys helping his athletes realize their potential.

“When you see these girls winning medals and doing things they never thought they could do, it just gets you pumped,” the coach said.

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