Raising the bar

Tolleson thrives in new sport after suffering concussion


Kimberley Marks/Courtesy

Jordan Tolleson is new to powerlifting this year.

Meghan Helton, Copy Editor

Sophomore Jordan Tolleson is still competing, but instead of diving to save a black-and-white ball, she balances hundreds of pounds on a metal bar across her shoulders. After suffering three concussions in her main sport, Tolleson found a safer alternative to soccer: powerlifting.

“I got knocked out of contact sports until I’m 18,” Tolleson said. “I had lifted before during a lot of training, so I just decided to come to powerlifting because you can’t really get concussed there.”

The transition from a team sport to an individual one is not easy. However, Tolleson manages to find the bright side in working alone.

“It’s definitely a lot different, but I do really like it,” Tolleson said. “It’s a lot easier to see the progress (that I make). And when I played soccer, I was a keeper. So, it was already more individual than what they’re doing on the field, because I would be practicing by myself multiple times a week. In lifting, you can see your progress because it’s all numbers and it’s really nice.”

Powerlifting coach Bill Davison has overseen Tolleson’s training and practices since the beginning.

“She’s done very well,” Davison said. “She’s been a big boost to (the program). This is her first year to lift and she’s come in every day, she’s had fun. And she’s also starting to emerge a little bit as a leader with the group. It’s definitely been good for her.”

Tolleson’s hopes were high for the regional powerlifting meet that took place on March 4, despite being new to the sport. The sophomore placed sixth in her weight class and was 35 pounds shy of advancing to state.

However, Tolleson set a personal record of 165 pounds in the bench press and had a three-lift total of 790 pounds.

“It was a really good experience, and it was different from all the other meets I’ve been to,” Tolleson said. “(Coach) bumped me up to 350 (in the deadlift), but I couldn’t lock it up and then she did, so I ended up finishing sixth in the region.

“I would like to go to state next year, and I feel like that is pretty possible, just based on how well my first year went. I would really like to go to regionals again and then hopefully make it to state.”

McNamara headed to state 

Freshman Charlotte McNamara will be Rider’s lone representative at the state meet March 20 in Corpus Christi after finishing second in her Class 5A region.

McNamara tied her personal best at regionals with 725 pounds and is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’m a freshman, so it kind of shocked me. I just worked hard,” she said.