A powerlifting juggernaut in Toms River
The Monsignor Donovan powerlifting program has racked up state titles, national titles and hundreds of national records. Watch a profile on the Griffins!
TOMS RIVER – Under the gym at Monsignor Donovan High School is a gateway to excellence. The Griffins weight room is a great sense of pride to head coach Mark Deppen, who boasts some of the best weight room equipment in the Garden State thanks to tireless fundraising. Powerlifting isn’t on the mainstream radar when it comes to high school sports, but you can’t help but have the upmost respect for what Monsignor Donovan has done in competition.
The Griffins have won the last three straight state powerlifting championships and a long list of records. Danielle Ross was recruited by Deppen to come to the weight room in her freshman year and she just completed a stellar high school career. Ross originally competed at 148 pounds, but dropped down to 132 pounds where her she had 215 pounds in the bench press, squatted 285 pounds and 305 pounds in the dead lift. Her combined weight of 805 pounds has her ranked in the top ten nationally. She’s off to compete at the collegiate level at Texas-San Antonio. Ross hopes that powerlifting can become an NCAA sport by the end of her collegiate career.
Powerlifting and football go hand in hand. Nyeem Calhoun, who’s beginning to get interest from FBS and FCS schools at defensive end, is greatly benefiting from his summer powerlifting workouts. Coach Deppen is also a coach on the Monsignor Donovan football team. His Griffins powerlifters finished in third place in the state in his first year coaching powerlifting and has grown to one of the most successful programs in all New Jersey high school sports.