Two Natchitoches Central High School Powerlifters went to Oklahoma and competed in the 33rd NASA High School Nationals March 25-26. Kayla Jackson and Lawrence Irchirl Jr., both did an outstanding job.
A week prior to the competition in Oklahoma they competed in the Louisiana State High School Championship in Monroe. Jackson, who competed in the 97 lbs. weight class, set a new state squat record of 282.5 lbs. Both lifters placed second in their weight class missing the gold by a few pounds.
Determined to win the gold at the NASA Nationals Championship, Kayla Jackson and Lawrence Irchirl, Jr. had their hearts and minds focused on being the 2017 National Champs. Once each lifter stepped on the official weigh-in scale, the game was on.
Jackson, weighing in at 95 lbs. (2 lbs. lighter than she weighed in at the state competition) competed in the 97 lbs. weight class. She set a National squat record of 286.60 lbs., National bench press record of 121.25 lbs., and deadlifted 264.55 lbs. Finishing with a National total record of 672.4 lbs. in the 97 lbs. weight division, Jackson crushed the old record by more than a 100 lbs. Winning first place and bringing the gold medal back to Louisiana, Jackson became the first female lifter from NCHS to become a National champ.
Irchirl weighing in at 121 lbs. competed in the 123 lbs. weight class. He set a National squat record of 413.36 lbs., bench pressed 214.95 lbs., and set National deadlift record of 429.90 lbs., Finishing with a National total record of 1058.21 lbs. Irchirl crushed the old records by more than 50 lbs. Winning first place in the 123 lbs. weight division and bringing the gold medal back home to Louisiana, Irchirl became the third male lifter from NCHS to become a National champ.
Each lifter set three out of four National records in their weight division that had been in the record books for more than ten years. Jackson and Irchirl also earned a spot to compete at the NASA World Cup Championship in August 2017.
The lifters were coached by their fathers, Lawrence Irchirl, Sr. and Fred Jackson, who are two former NCHS Powerlifters. Lawrence Irchirl, Sr. was a two-time state champ and a state record holder. Fred Jackson, who is in the LHSPLA Hall of Fame, is a two-time state and National champ and a state and national record holder. Fred Jackson also set three world records at the same National Championship 22 years earlier.
Keeping it all in the NCHS family, there were several former NCHS lifters judging at the Louisiana State High School Powerlifting Championships. Pictured from left are Fred Jackson, Emily King (2013), Katarina Pope (2012), Lori Cedars (2006), Derek Toro (1999) and others not pictured.
“When I was lifting in high school I knew I wanted to go to Northwestern State, but they didn’t have a powerlifting team and I wanted to continue being involved in powerlifting after high school,” said Pope. “So at my last State meet my senior year, they made an announcement that if any senior lifters were interesting in becoming referees to come talk to them and they would tell us how to get certified. So I took a written test and a visual test where I sat with a certified referee through an invitational meet to make sure I passed for my certification and now I’m on my fifth year judging high school powerlifting meets and I love it. I was a state champion lifter from my sophomore to senior year so I definitely know a lot and have a passion for the sport.”