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New Mustangs head coach maintains Lift-a-thon tradition
Nathan Clark
Mustangs head coach Nathan Clark (right) welcomes parents to Saturday’s Lift-a-thon.
The top class winners in Saturday’s Lift-a-thon are (from left) sophomore Louis Hicks (So), senior Austin Blaske, junior Jake Kerns and freshman Jamari Fields.

GUYTON — The South Effingham football team participated in its annual Lift-a-thon on Saturday. For new head coach Nathan Clark, the event was more than just fundraising. 

Clark was impressed with how many athletes took home first-place honors in a variety of categories. The squad participated in lifting and running events.

There was no shortage of energy.

“It was a good time. I think we raised a lot of money and we had a lot of winners,” Clark said.

Clark kept a close eye on the players who came ready to compete and Jamari Fields didn’t disappoint. The freshman won five events in his class, including the vertical jump, pro agility shuttle and the bench press.

Junior Jake Kerns clinched three victories but it was the senior class that proved to be most impressive.

Austin Blaske finished first in the bench press (330 pounds), clean (300 pounds) and squat (605 pound). Stephen Kraeling, who was a state placer in the high jump this past spring, stayed true to what he does best, jumping nine feet and nine inches in the broad jump to grab first place.

Winners were awarded t-shirts, a jacket, pants and more. And Clark put his own twist on the event, hoping to add a new experience.

“We measured them in all different categories,” Clark said. “Everyone showed up at the same time and we divided them into three different groups. Some were in the gym, on the field and some were in the weight room. They had one hour at each station.

“In the weight room, we tested for the clean, bench and squat. In the gym, we got their height and weight, and tested them for the vertical and broad jump. On the field, we tested for the forty-yard dash and pro agility shuttle.”

It was made known to Clark that the Lift-a-thon has long been a significant event for South Effingham football squad and it was imperative to keep it going as the investment from the community plays a vital role in the financial resources needed to sustain the team.

 For Clark, it was a no-brainer to keep the Lift-a-thon going.

“I think it was a good event,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. When I first got here, everyone told me I had to keep this thing going. I tried to figure out what they did last year and how I could improve it. I tried to put my take on it. It was a little different, but I think the kids liked it.

“Overall, it was a success.”