The 'world's strongest sport' returned to Holmen High School on Saturday, offering a chance for area high school powerlifters to punch their tickets to the state meet in La Crosse.
Nearly 300 athletes from 19 schools competed in the 15th West Coast Regional, part of the Wisconsin High School Powerlifting Association. State will be held at La Crosse Central High School on March 11-12.
Lifters were organized by weight class and gender. While advancing to state is a big goal, many athletes participate to stay in shape for other sports.
Holmen powerlifting coach Chris Sepich said the event also generates confidence.
"It isn't about self esteem, it's about confidence," he said. "First time that somebody benches 135 pounds, which is the bar and a big plate on each side, they get up like 'look what I do.' A 500-pound squat, which is happening multiple times today, they do that, nobody's ever going to be able to take that away. They can always say this is what I did and they can prove it. It brings about confidence."