Powerlifters take home hardware at nationals

A new squad of lifters at MVRHS turned heads in Louisiana. 



Having been introduced to the sport less than two years ago, four powerlifters from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School are already among the best in the nation.

At the 2024 USA Powerlifting High School Nationals in Louisiana this weekend, MVRHS sophomore Syius Rivera squatted, benched and then deadlifted more than 587 total kilograms (1,294 pounds), winning the 90 kilogram, junior varsity (underclassmen) weight class outright.

Vineyard sophomore Harrison Lazarus (82.5 kg), sophomore Cris Cardoza (82.5 kg), and junior Josh Salop (75 kg) followed suit, returning to the Island as the fourth, fifth and 47th best in their respective weight classes — each powerlifting more than 490 total kilos of mass.

Rivera was especially potent in his third and final deadlift attempt of 257.5 kilograms. He was able to put up 20 kg more than the next closest competitor. Meanwhile, Lazarus had the third-highest bench press (115 kg) of anyone in his class, and Cardoza had the second-highest squat (185 kg).

The powerlifters were prouder with their results than they were surprised, and attribute their success to the long hours they’ve put in alongside one another.

“It was awesome,” Salop said. “Last summer we realized we could really succeed at it, and it just snowballed from there. It creates a really special bond, meeting up and pushing each other to our limits. It’s something everyone should experience.”

Rivera, Salop and company were introduced to powerlifting through the MVRHS football program in late 2022, when alumnus and part-time strength coach Kyle Rollins noticed their raw potential.

Formerly a top-ranked high school powerlifter and currently a junior at Louisiana State University, Rollins decided to pay his passion for the sport forward and show the teenagers the ropes over that winter break. Rivera and company took it from there, continuing to push one another and ultimately qualifying for nationals at off-Island meets this winter.

“I admired their strength right out of the gate,” Rollins said. “I love helping them with their progressions and their form, and they’ve done [the rest] on their own. They’re go-getters. It’s incredible.”

Rollins has continued providing pointers to them during his time home from school, and serving as their long distance mentor. Coincidentally, this year’s nationals were held right in Baton Rouge near LSU’s campus, so Rollins had the opportunity to coach them live.

“It was amazing,” Rollins said. “It’s two totally different sides of the [country]. So much of it is based on them, and the time they want to put into it. If the next nationals are within a car drive, I’m definitely going to have to make it.”



  1. Congratulations. That represents a lot of (often lonely) hard work. Andi love seeing the oak bluffs B Strong shirt at the national Stage!

  2. These boys are not only strong physically, but solid everywhere. They are kind, empathetic, caring and generous, genuine people. Proud to know them!

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