The Prior Lake weightlifting team lifted up some championship hardware March 7 in Cannon Falls.
The Lakers had seven athletes competing in the Minnesota High School Weightlifting State Championships and three earned state titles — Victoria Tupy, Sophie Sanden and Jovian Tupy.
It's just the second year that the program has had multiple athletes competing, so big strides have been made. Last year, Prior Lake had four lifters at state and three came home with silver medals.
"The program has come very far in only its second year," Lakers Coach Pete Mortenson said. "These kids get a lot more than just physical strength and fitness out of Olympic weightlifting. It proves to be a very mentally taxing sport.
"These athletes go through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows each day and week in training in competition," Mortenson added. "If they miss a lift in competition, they need to have the mental fortitude to come back and hit that lift in a short amount of time. It teaches them to celebrate the highs and learn from the lows and how to move on quickly."
The MHSW season starts in December, and there are eight competitions for athletes to qualify for the state championships.
Victoria Tupy has dominated the 71-kilogram division this winter in the snatch and the clean and jerk. The snatch requires the athlete to lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion.
In the clean and jerk, the lifter moves the barbell from the floor to a racked position across the deltoids, and then raises the barbell to a stationary position above the head.
Tupy won both those lifts at the varsity level at the state competition. She snatched 172 pounds and lifted a weight of 214 pounds in the clean and jerk.
Tupy lifted the highest total of weight in the state for all the classes this season. She holds the record in both lifts at the state level and at the USA Weightlifting junior level (172 pounds in the snatch and 220 pounds in the clean and jerk).
"She is getting close to qualifying for Team USA at the junior level," Mortenson said.
The Tupys are two of a dozen siblings. Jovian, an eighth-grader at St. Michael Catholic School, said he started lifting about a year ago after following along with his sister.
The pair have local and national competitions coming up and said commitment and accountability were key to their successes.
"You're surrounded by a community of other lifters," Victoria Tupy said.
Sanden was also a double state champion at the varsity level in the 64-kilogram class. She lifted 151 pounds in the snatch and 168 pounds in the clean and jerk.
Jovian Tupy won two junior varsity titles at 96 kilograms, winning the snatch with 156-pound lift and the clean and jerk with a weight of 194 pounds.
Colin Fjelstad and Mckenna Davis also completed at state at the varsity level for the Lakers, as did Aidan Fjelstad and Ashley Greenfield in the junior varsity competition.
Colin Fjelstad was the runner-up at 81 kilograms in both lifts (225-pounds snatch and 289-pound clean and jerk). Davis was fourth at 71 kilograms (112-pound snatch and 150-pound clean and jerk).
Aidan Fjelstad was second at 67 kilograms (146-pound snatch and 187-pound clean and jerk). Greenfield was fourth at 59 kilograms (99-pound snatch and 110-pound clean and jerk).
Victoria Tupy and Colin Fjelstand will be competing at the junior level in June in the American Open Series 2 Championships in North Carolina. Davis, Greenfield, Aidan Fjelstad and Jovian Tupy will also be there, qualifying for the USAW Youth Nationals.
Other members of the Lakers' team this season included Jennifer Lein and Reagan Montross. Scott Fjelsted was also a coach with Mortenson.