Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mayer piles up marks

E. Greenbush weightlifter sets four world records

By DAVID REYES, Special to the Times Union
First published: Friday, August 10, 2007

ALBANY -- Like most teenage girls, Rachael Mayer feels like there's a lot of weight on her shoulders. The difference is, she can tell you exactly how much.

Mayer, an East Greenbush resident, set world records in every category she competed in Saturday at the world championships in Chicago. She squatted 325 pounds, bench-pressed 215 and dead-lifted a 292 pounds -- all records, as was her total of 832 pounds.

The victory added to her already-impressive resume, which includes three world championships at two different weight classes, 132 and 148 pounds. The fourth came at a third weight class and the heaviest she has competed at -- 165 pounds.

"The weight gain wasn't as drastic as it seems because I had a whole year to prepare for it," Mayer said.

Rachael, 17, and her mother, Patti, attribute a lot of her weightlifting success to gymnastics training she received when she was just 9. "Gymnastics made it easier to understand what the trainer would want me to do as far as discipline and technique," Rachael said.

Her weekly workout consists of two days of weightlifting, sometimes for up to four hours, and two days of boxing, not to be outdone by the mental training of sticking to a low-carb diet.

"Once you make weight, it's a relief, and the day after you can eat whatever you want," Patti said.

Having only two opponents in the competition didn't make winning so fulfilling. Instead, it was the respect Rachael got from past and present athletes that was one of the best feelings.

Compliments came from male competitor who squatted about 800 pounds and another who said her facial expressions showed great determination. "It feels really good to be able to be recognized," Mayer said.

She will spend most of her immediate future juggling her priorities. Mayer just sent in her application to the state as she tries to obtain a clerical position, and she plans to attend Hudson Valley Community College to pursue a cosmetology license.

Mayer said she also plans to drop below the 148-pound weight class to pursue modeling, a path she briefly took two years ago, coming in second place for a "Got Milk?" campaign in "Seventeen" magazine.

David Reyes is an intern at the Times Union and a student at the University at Albany. He can be reached at 454-5414 or by e-mail at DReyes@timesunion.com

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