'Small town, big lifters'

Published 7:38 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2008

By By Matthew Nascone
They may be classified in Class 3A of the Florida High School Athletic Association, but the Northview Lady Chiefs weightlifting team has 25 powerful females nonetheless.
"Our motto is, "Small town with big lifters,'" NHS head coach Stephanie Elowsky said. "All these girls have worked very hard all year and we had everyone reach a personal best this year."
The team competed in five matches this year and won three. Elowsky said the two squads that beat Northview both had girls make it to the state meet.
The Lady Chiefs had five girls place high enough in the district meet this year to move on to sectionals. Senior Camden Loncar, juniors Jessica Mothershed and Stormy Hayes and freshmen Sarah Killam and Ashley Digmon all competed earlier this month at Pine Forest High School.
But the success at the end of the year for Elowsky, and the team as a whole, was that every girl improved upon their personal best weight in some form or fashion. A weightlifting meet involves the bench press and the clean and jerk.
"I have competed in weightlifting for four years and I have gotten better each year," senior Kasey Baggett said. "I always pushed myself hard and wanted to do better than I had done before."
And improving upon that personal best is not easy.
"I started the year benching 80 pounds and now I can push up 100 pounds," senior Kirsten Robinson said. "Whenever we would go workout during P.E. I would always gradually put more on the bar. I never stayed at one weight, I would always move up slowly."
Elowsky said this was the case for most, if not all, of the girls. The 25-member squad is the biggest Elowsky has had at Northview and she said it is great to have that much interest.
"Overall we have had a great turnout this year," she said. "All these girls have done a tremendous job. We had a lot of new faces that really stepped up and helped the team win. We had the maximum two girls and one alternate per weight class except the 101-pound weight class."
The last 101-pound weight class participant from NHS was Hannah Gunter and she went on to compete in the state meet in 2006.
"This is definitely a growing sport at Northview and I would love to see the same interest next year," Elowsky said.
There will be a core group of underclassmen returning to next year's squad, including four of the five girls who competed in sectionals this year.
Sarah Killam is one of those girls.
"I did a lot more than I thought I could do in my first year lifting," Sarah Killam said. "I got up to 95 pounds on bench and by the time I am a senior I would love to have improved even more."

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