White River’s Yulisa Martinez-Ponce dead lifts 245 pounds on the way to a state powerlifting championship. Photo courtesy Ella Moyer

White River’s Yulisa Martinez-Ponce dead lifts 245 pounds on the way to a state powerlifting championship. Photo courtesy Ella Moyer

White River girls second, boys take fourth at state powerlifting

J’Kira Wolbrecht and Yulisa Martinez-Ponce took titles with 655 and 500 pound totals, respectively

The White River High School powerlifting program has added to its status as one of the best in the state.

During the 2021 state championships, staged May 22 at Shelton High, the Hornet girls placed second and the boys took fourth.

Aside from the strong finish in the team standings, the Hornets – under the guidance of longtime coach Juan Garibay – walked off with two individual championships. J’Kira Wolbrecht took the title at 165 pounds, using a 310-pound dead lift to total 655 pounds for the three events (squad, bench and dead lift) to push past Sky Cochran of Tacoma’s Charles Wright Academy. At 148 pounds, White River’s Yulisa Martinez-Ponce totaled 500 pounds to earn her title.

The Hornet girls also received second-place performances by Ella Moyer and Makayla Cambra; third-place finishes by Nathalia Senestrari and Madison Blain; and a sixth-place showing by Tatum Armstrong.

The White River boys were paced by second-place efforts by Levi Grasley and Payne Plaster, a third-place finish by Sam Coria and sixth-place showings by Vin Ibanez and Taylor Tjossem.

White River’s teams have consistently landed in the Top 10 in recent years. There was no competition last year (due to COVID-19 concerns) but, prior to that, the Hornet girls finished second in the team standings in both 2017 and 2018, were third in 2015 and 2016, and placed fourth in 2017. During that same six-year span, the boys’ team finished fourth in 2018, claimed fifth-place honors twice, took sixth twice and had a seventh-place effort.


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