Monday, February 18, 2008

Collins and Battle Place at Girls Weightlifing Finals - Wakulla County - real estate, homes, news and politics

Collins and Battle Place at Girls Weightlifing Finals - Wakulla County - real estate, homes, news and politicschelsea collins with medal-1.gifWakulla High Senior Chelsea Collins placed 5th in State in the 169 pound weight class at the Girl’s Weightlifting Finals in New Port Richey on February 9, 2008. She lifted 175 pounds in bench press and 160 pounds in clean and jerk for a total of 335. This tied her for 4th place but her opponent weighed less; therefore, she placed 5th. This makes her second placement in the top six at State Finals and her 4th appearance at State. In 2006 she placed 4th in State in the 183 pound weight class with the same 335 total. She is the only girl from Wakulla to have ever placed in the top six in weightlifting. Collins also received 1st place at the Tallahassee City Champs Meet at Godby High School on February 2, 2008 in the 169 pound weight class.

hannah, coach cook, chelsea-1 250 gih.gifWakulla High Senior Hannah Battle also attended State Finals and placed 20th in State in the 119 pound weight class. She lifted 105 pounds in bench press and 120 pounds in clean and jerk for a total of 225. This is her 2nd appearance at State. In 2007 she placed 17th in the 119 pound weight class with a 230 total. Battle also received 2nd place at the Tallahassee City Champs Meet at Godby High School on February 2, 2008 in the 119 pound weight class.

Thanks to Coach Diane Cook and Asst. Coach Windy Jones for all of their help and support throughout the season


Helen jewell is bidding to lift her career to new heights with a big performance at the UK Invitational Weightlifting Tournament in Birmingham today.

The former Ivybridge Community College student (pictured right) competes in the 58kgs body-weight category at the Warley event where she plans an assault on her competition-best result.

In Jewell's scope is a 169kgs total which would easily eclipse her best career performance.

But more importantly for the 2012 Olympic hopeful, reaching the total would secure for her the qualifying mark for April's European Senior Weightlifting Championships in Italy.

Also for Jewell, who is dominant in competitions nationally, competing in Lignano, near Venice, between April 11-20, would be her first appearance as senior international.

The 19-year-old has already swept the board on home soil, having won both the senior and junior British championships but has only lifted a combined snatch and clean and jerk total of 163kgs before in tournaments.

Nevertheless, in training Jewell has been lifting 166kgs and has a previous best snatch of 76kgs and 90kgs lift in clean and jerk - but not together at the same tournament.

"It looks like a big jump to make up but I'm confident of getting there or thereabouts," said Jewell.

"I've managed the 166kgs total in training and so I know I'm capable.

"Yes, there's a big difference of reaching the total in competition but knowing what's on offer is a massive incentive for me.

"The 169kgs total is my goal at the UK tournament and I'll be giving it my best shot.

"Basically the total equates to a 77kgs in the snatch and 92kgs in the lift - both of which will mean new records for me. So, it's fingers crossed."

It is a big ask for Jewell, but she won't want for support in her bold bid. Jewell's mentor and former teacher at Ivybridge Community College, Michaela Breeze will also be competing at the Harry Mitchell Leisure Centre, but in the 63kgs body-weight category.

Wales' Commonwealth gold medallist in Australia two years ago has been training and coaching with Jewell at the Welsh Institute for Sport near Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Jewell, in her first year as a physiotheraphy student in Cardiff, has one more tournament to concentrate between today's UK Invitational and the senior Europeans. At the end of March she will compete in the British Junior Cha

Los Angeles Times: Trainer on 'Loser' gains insight

Los Angeles Times: Trainer on 'Loser' gains insight


Trainer on 'Loser' gains insight

By Janet Cromley
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

February 18, 2008

Kim Lyons is a human liposuction machine. As a trainer on NBC's hit reality series, "The Biggest Loser," Lyons routinely helped morbidly obese contestants rid themselves of hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, emerging from her training program thin and lithe as cougars. She's been featured in scores of national newspapers and magazines, including Shape, Us and Health, has an endorsement deal with Jennie-O Turkey, and has just released her first weight-loss book, "Kim Lyons' Your Body, Your Life."

Did your strategy for working with morbidly obese people change after you started on "The Biggest Loser"?

On "The Biggest Loser," I am as much a life coach as I am a trainer to my team. This has given me a closer look into the mental aspects that often lead to obesity and strengthened my belief that emotional support goes hand in hand with weight loss.

When it comes to the training and the nutrition, my "no excuses" strategy remains strong and consistent. Of course, I'm always updating and expanding my training library and creating healthy recipes to keep things exciting, but in the end, it comes down to good old-fashioned hard work and proper nutrition.

Can you tell us a little about your own personal workout strategy?

Many people think I am "genetically" blessed and don't have to work out. Trust me, I have to work very hard. Before I became a personal trainer I was 25 pounds heavier with 26% body fat. I worked with a trainer who changed my body and my life and inspired me to do the same for others. Through the years, my personal workouts and goals have changed a million times. I like to mix it up with different activities that are as much fun as they are work. My experience working with obese people has put many things in perspective for me. I tend to be a lot less critical of myself and never take my health for granted.

And can you tell us about your current diet? How many meals/calories a day?

My diet consists of three small meals and two snacks a day. I focus on having a balance of protein, carbs and fat every time I eat. For example, for breakfast I'll have a few egg whites with some turkey bacon in a whole-grain tortilla. It's a perfect on-the-go balanced breakfast that I can wrap up as I run out the door. For a snack, I'll grab an apple and a few almonds, or some low-fat string cheese.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Over the years I have learned to find healthy alternatives for some of my favorite foods. For example, I always use . . . ground turkey instead of beef in my burgers, tacos or spaghetti sauce. It's a simple way to cut down on fat and calories without feeling like I'm on a diet.

You recently married bodybuilder Gunter Schlierkamp. Are there things that you've added or deleted from your workout as a result of observing what he does? Are there things about diet and fitness that he's learned from you?

It is great to be married to someone that is also so into living a healthy lifestyle. Instead of watching TV on weekends, we'll go for a bike ride or out for a hike. We keep each other motivated when the other is having a tough time getting to the gym. We work out together a lot, and we always learn from one another and share ideas. Gunter will pick on me when I'm lifting "light" weights, and I'll critique his form, all in fun.

What one thing can get you to play hooky, and not work out?

My world stops for a good sunset. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the craziness of my day, and then I'll look out over the ocean and see the beautiful orange sky. It always reminds me to just stop and take a deep breath at the end of a long day.

CANOE -- Winnipeg Sun: - Famous figure

CANOE -- Winnipeg Sun: - Famous figure

Ainsley McSorley's rapid ascent continues.

When we last caught up with the buffed Winnipegger, she was placing first in the Fitness and Model Expo's annual North American championships' pro bikini category down in Miami late last year.

Today, coming up to two years in the sport of bodybuilding and fitness training, the nutritional sciences student is focussing on promoting and preparing for Ainsley McSorley's FAME Model Search Championships on May 24 in Winnipeg.

Yep, the folks at FAME were so impressed with her work ethic and performances that they made her the poster girl for the spring event.

"FAME hosts a lot of regional shows across the country in pros' names and they chose me," the 24-year-old said yesterday. "I was pretty honoured."

Participants will be competing in three categories -- bikini model ("fit and healthy" look), fitness model for male and female ("lean, fit, toned, athletic" look) and muscle model for male and female ("good muscle tone, not as lean as a bodybuilder.").

The show will be the final Canadian qualifier before the FAME worlds, this summer in Toronto.

Those who place first in each category will receive pro cards and the top five in each category qualify to participate in the advanced division at the worlds.

As for McSorley, she's been doing a lot of promotion, answering a ton of questions and will be presenting awards at the show.

She will also participate in a couple of clinics to go over posing and judging before the show.

The first is March 2 at Impact Fitness Studio and McSorley will host along with fellow local fitness guru Mindy Karuk.


So does all this work mean a little less gym time for McSorley?

"I wish," she said with a laugh, noting it's never too early to begin training for the worlds.

"My trainer has me on a volume program right now so I'm eating a lot of carbs as we're trying for a higher calorie, high carb diet for muscle building."

McSorley encourages those who have thought about competing in the past but haven't to come down and enjoy the experience.

Adorning FAME posters across the country and beyond, McSorley is doing her best to become one of the most recognizable fitness faces in Canada.

Snd she's been doing this for less than two years.

"My goal is to get my foot in the door in the fitness model industry so I'm open to spending some time in Toronto after I graduate in December," she said.

"I'd love to do some photo shoots and get my name out there."

For more information on McSorley's show, visit her Facebook group or

Monday, February 11, 2008

Florida Girls Lift Weights, and Gold Medals (archived)

Florida Girls Lift Weights, and Gold Medals
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — She was an Atlas of the exurbs, hoisting a 210-pound barbell over her ponytailed head and holding it there, arms just barely aquiver, while the high school gymnasium exploded in cheers.

At that moment on a recent Saturday, Jessica Reynolds, 17 and weighing in at 261 pounds, broke the state record for girls’ weightlifting, a high school sport sanctioned only in Florida and embraced, improbably, by girls of all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities.

At an age when appearance often seals reputations, they squeeze into tight singlets, step on scales while their peers watch and grunt their way through bench presses, clean and jerks and other decidedly uncute moves.

“It might not have been the most, like, girly or cool thing,” said Hannah Feliciano, a willowy freshman at Sarasota High School who started lifting last fall. “But I like the fact that I can prove to people that I also have, like, a rough side.”

Or as Sara Hansell, a senior at St. Cloud High School who won her second consecutive title in the 154-pound weight class explained her passion for the sport, “I get to say I’m stronger than most of the boys in my school.”

No other state has officially adopted weightlifting for girls, as the Florida High School Athletic Association did in 1997, a sign that the perception endures of weightlifting as a sport for he-men and the occasional bodybuilding queen who slathers her preternaturally bulging biceps with baby oil.

“I find it very surprising,” said Jackie Metcalf, the weightlifting coach at Sarasota High School. “because it’s a great way to get girls involved for gender equity. You don’t have to be a skilled athlete to do this.”

The presence on many teams of cheerleaders — who become better jumpers and fliers after lifting — has helped remove the stigma from the sport, several girls said. Many wear bows in their hair at competitions, and at a recent meet, one wore pearls with her singlet. They share weight rooms with boys who admiringly call them “beast.” T-shirts emblazoned with “Silly Boys, Weights Are For Girls” and the like are de rigueur.

“In our school, it’s pretty much understood that weightlifting is O.K. and you’re not a boy and you’re not gross if you do it,” said Leigha Nave, a senior at Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange who is the state champion of her 119-pound weight class.

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Extracurricular club programs for girls have sprung up around the country since women’s weightlifting became an Olympic sport in 2000. But Florida, with 170 high school teams that have produced two Olympians and several dozen world team members, has “set the gold standard” for the sport, said Rodger DeGarmo, director of high performance and coaching for USA Weightlifting in Colorado Springs, the governing body that oversees Olympic lifting.

“I think it’s awesome for this group of girls because there’s so many times you have to be tall, slender,” said Judy Miller, Jessica’s foster mother. “With this, you can be any size.”

At the state finals here, where Jessica captured the title for the third year straight, 240 girls competed in the bench press and the clean and jerk, in which a barbell is swiftly raised from the floor to shoulder height and then, after a pause that is harrowing to watch, overhead.

Some chugged bottles of honey before they lifted — the sugar high helps, they said — while others sat silently in a corner of the gym, summoning their strength. They ranged from 93.6 pounds to 379.1, from featherweight cheerleaders to hulking softball players and even girls who never before dabbled in sports.

“It doesn’t matter how much you lift,” said Jessica, a senior at Booker High School in Sarasota, after collecting her gold medal. “It just matters that you’re trying to make yourself better.”

Some coaches have to recruit aggressively to build a team, correcting misperceptions along the way.

“A lot of girls think if you do it you’re going to get all beefy,” said Alexa DeCristofaro, a senior at New Smyrna Beach High School who won first place in the 199-pound weight class. “Well, you really don’t. If you do it, you get toned, which is different from getting totally muscular.”

In the decade since high schools here began offering girls’ weightlifting, certain towns — Port Orange (near Daytona Beach), Port Charlotte (near Sarasota), Fort Walton Beach (near Pensacola) — have become known for their girl weightlifters. Tom Bennett, a coach at Spruce Creek High, said one of his former lifters won a slot at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and others are bent on joining her.

“The girls are very, very competitive — in some cases more than the boys,” said Mr. Bennett, whose team of 30 girls has won every state weightlifting championship since they began in 2004.

The sport is far more popular in North Florida than in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, possibly because South Florida has more wealth and its young athletes gravitate toward “upper class” sports like tennis and golf, Mr. Bennett said. Altha, a speck of a town in the Panhandle, sent six girls to this year’s state finals, while Miami sent none.

Mr. Bennett’s team practices at least 12 hours a week. Like other coaches around the state, he recruits from the school softball, soccer, cheerleading and basketball teams, with the promise that weightlifting will improve athletic performance in general.

“It definitely makes them faster, more explosive, more flexible, stronger,” said Richard Lansky, a member of the board of USA Weightlifting who runs an extracurricular club in Sarasota.

Mr. Bennett, a former state champion himself, said that while he bawled out boys who did not make a lift, most of the girls on his team preferred positive reinforcement.

“You can’t go at them the same way,” he said. “If you yell at a girl when she misses a lift, she’s like, ‘Forget it, coach, I’m not going to do this anymore.’ ”

Some girls sobbed after missing a lift at the state finals in New Port Richey, about 25 miles north of Tampa. Others snarled as loud as any boy as they reached for the barbell, their coaches slapping their shoulders and barking encouragement. The bleachers were packed with parents and other fans, including many boys, screaming, “Drive it!” and “Atsa girl!”

Leigha, the Spruce Creek senior, said she loved the competitive aspect of lifting.

“It’s a rush, it really is,” she said. “We have boards in our weight rooms with the names of all the record breakers, and you’re thinking about how bad you want your name on that record for everybody to see.”

She broke the record for her weight class in the clean and jerk but failed to match her personal best, stalking off the platform with a look that foretold tears.

But then, amid bountiful cheering, she lay on the gymnasium floor and laughed.

Adriane Blewitt

The Associated Press
High school girls weightlifting is unique to Florida, and nobody does it better than the Spruce Creek Lady Hawks.

Some are as slight as 98 pounds and some lift in the 199-pound and unlimited classes, and they're part of a powerhouse that dominates the sport. The Lady Hawks have won the state tournament all four times it has been held, and try for their fifth title Feb. 9.

Only Florida offers girls' competitive weightlifting, with about 3,800 participants at more than 150 schools, and it is becoming "kind of a recruiting ground" for national teams, said coach Richard Lansky of USA Weightlifting.

While no Floridian has yet competed at the Olympics, six have represented the U.S. at world junior and university competitions since 2005.

On a recent Saturday, the Spruce Creek gym was packed as the Lady Hawks played host to a sectional meet for Volusia County.

One by one, the lifters in braided pigtails, spandex singlets and bright lifting shoes came to the iron.

"UP!" the crowd groaned in unison, when lifters struggled to hoist the bar.

Some of the best lifters, coaches say, come from sports like competitive cheerleading or gymnastics.

"They're light. They're explosive," Spruce Creek coach Tom Bennett said. "They're used to doing these explosive movements. And that's exactly what weightlifting is."

Even for Spruce Creek lifters, however, there can be hurdles along the way.

"There were a few girls in the beginning ... they said their boyfriend doesn't want them looking like a guy and all that," said Heather Wolfe, 16. She weighs 108 pounds but can bench press 140 and lift 155 in the clean and jerk. "But I have a boyfriend and he doesn't mind or anything.

"And if he did, that would be his fault."

Boyfriends, Bennett said, are generally not the problem.

"I think each year, we'd probably have 10 or 15 more girls if their parents were OK with it," he said. "We've had some girls who could literally go on to be state champions, but their parents are like 'Oh, you're going to look like a boy' or 'You're going to hurt yourself.'"

JOHN RAOUX | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS JENNA HARRINGTON of Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange struggles with a lift during the district girls weightlifting competition in Port Orange in January. Only Florida offers girls competitive weightlifting, and Spruce Creek High is the four-time champion.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kersey muscles her way to the top

Print Story - networkSaturday, February 09, 2008
BUILDING MUSCLE: Windsor bodybuilder Katie Kersey works out at Jane Awad's Fitness Studio. The mother of two is preparing for the annual Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
CREDIT: Nick Brancaccio, Windsor Star
BUILDING MUSCLE: Windsor bodybuilder Katie Kersey works out at Jane Awad's Fitness Studio. The mother of two is preparing for the annual Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio.

Having been involved in marshal arts her entire life, Katie Kersey knows all about training and self discipline.

However, even she had to kick it up a notch when she moved on from competitive karate to the world of body building and figure competition.

"I've always been into fitness," the 33-year-old mother of two said. "I was looking for something different and this definitely put me to work."

As the daughter of local instructor Lamont Kersey, Katie started karate when she was five years old.

She stopped competing in 1999 and began searching for something else to fill the competitive void.

Her father put her in touch with local trainer Jane Awad, who does professional figure competitions.

Now, Kersey trains six days a week and follows a regimented diet.

She did five competitions in 2007 and is in the midst of preparations for the annual Arnold Classic Feb. 29-March 2 in Columbus, Ohio.

She competes in the 'short class' for those five-foot-two and under, noting "my coach calls me the Hobbit."

After some encouraging results in her first season (a Top-10 at nationals and Top-20 at the North American championships), she's aiming to earn a "pro card" like Awad.

To that end, she'll compete in three major competitions in 2008. Besides the Arnold Classic, which attracts an international field from around the globe, Kersey will enter the Canadian nationals in Montreal in July and the North American championships in Cleveland next September.


"Jane got her pro card within a year and I'm trying to follow in her footsteps," Kersey said.

Professional status opens the door to prize money, sponsors and magazine photo spreads.

As a busy mother of a 12-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter, Kersey sometimes squeezes in her first workout at 5:30 a.m., before the kids get up.

Otherwise, she gets them off to school and then embarks on a daily routine of one hour of weight training, two hours of cardio, followed by teaching karate at her father's school from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m.

"I love it," she said of an ambitious schedule that makes others weary just reading it.

Intersportswire - No experts allowed! - Bodybuilding Doesn't Have Anything To Do With Fitness

Intersportswire - No experts allowed! - Bodybuilding Doesn't Have Anything To Do With Fitness: "t"

Friday, February 8, 2008

Indiana's Michelle McKeehan sets mark in 200 IM

Posted: Tuesday February 13, 2007 2:22PM; Updated: Wednesday February 14, 2007 2:28PM
McKeehan struck gold after setting a national record in the 200-yard individual medley at the Indiana state finals last Saturday.
McKeehan struck gold after setting a national record in the 200-yard individual medley at the Indiana state finals last Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Jim Todd

Each week will select the athlete who displays excellence on and off the field as the Primetime Performer.

Michelle McKeehan, 5-foot-5, Jr., Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.)

Junior Michelle McKeehan was nearly flying across the water when she set a national high school record of 1:58.06 while winning the 200-yard individual medley during the Indiana state finals last Saturday in Indianapolis.

"She's the closest thing I've ever seen to anybody who can walk on water," Center Grove coach Jim Todd said. "She gets high on the water and you have less resistance when you swim high on the water."

The short-lived record of 1:58.28 was set just one week earlier by Mary Beck of Westlake (Austin, Texas), who still has her state meet this weekend. She had topped the 1:58.45 mark, which was set in 2000 by Olympian Natalie Coughlin.

"I was a little in shock. I never dreamed I could go that fast," McKeehan says. "I felt good in the water. Hopefully, I can go faster during the meet in New York. This week has made me more goal-oriented. Hopefully, in the next year or year and a half I'll get stronger and go for it [the Olympics]."

McKeehan, who had broken the Indiana record with a time of 1:59.61 during Friday's qualifying, received a standing ovation at the conclusion of her race and again when she received her award. She also won the 100-yard breaststroke in a state-record time of 1:00.23. It marked the third consecutive year she won both events.

"I knew it was a record and I went crazy," Todd says. "I was screaming and yelling. She turned around, looked at the scoreboard and smiled. She is just so humble. She never wants any attention on her. We did not shave her for the high school meet, because we are focusing on Long Island [the spring nationals]. [If we had shaved her], hopefully, she'd have gone [1:57]."

Perhaps, McKeehan glides across the water so rapidly because she actually is terrified of being under water.

"Usually I have some kind of panic attack. It's scary holding your breath under water," says McKeehan, who carries a 4.1 GPA and has drawn interest from Florida, Texas, Auburn, Indiana, and Northwestern. "Ever since I was little I've had a fear of holding my breath. I'm claustrophobic."

She began swimming when she was 10 because she idolized her older brother, who swam the 500-yard freestyle for Franklin High. Her parents both had been swimmers at Perry Meridian (Indianapolis).

McKeehan claims she "was pretty bad" at first, but by the time Todd began coaching her as a seventh grader at the Center Grove Aquatic Club she had improved dramatically.

"After the second week, I said, 'She's the real deal.' She started primarily as a breaststroker, but the last three or four years, she really has developed all four strokes," Todd says. "Her biggest improvement has been in her increased strength. She is a weight lifter -- body resistance, that kind of stuff. She is powerful and very, very quick. She is a workaholic."

The 5-foot-5, 130-pound star works out about four hours per day. She takes off just one week at the end of March and two weeks in August. Of the four strokes she swims, she says her backstroke needs the most improvement. "That's where people gain some time on me," she says.

Last August she placed fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke during the nationals in Irvine, Calif, qualifying her for the USA Pan American team, which will compete in Brazil this summer.

"She's a great kid," Todd says. "I just love her to death. Even without swimming, she's always going to be a success because of her work ethic."

Super Kid Alumni: Angel Teves

She wrestles boys -- and wins

FORT WHITE -- Zach Cormier hesitated as his sister yelled, "Let's go!" and grabbed him in a headlock.

With his head in one of her arms and her cousin's head in her other, Katlynn Cormier smiled up at the camera.

They were playing around -- but only somewhat. Wrestling is something they do often and with much seriousness.

All three of them are on the same team at Fort White High School -- the varsity boys wrestling team.

Since Katlynn,14, is the only female wrestler in Columbia County, she participates on the boys' team.

"I like wrestling boys because it's more fun," she said.

She competes against boys from sixth grade to twelfth grade

We have to tell the wrestling coach to tell her teachers we don't beat her because of all the bruises," said Jeff Cormier, Katlynn's father.Katlynn wrestled against a boy for the first time at Clay Middle School last year. She was nervous, she said, but ended up winning."The stands went crazy when she won," Jeff said.
Photo By Zak BennettKatlynn Cormier (in red), 14, wrestles Caleb Sanders, a senior at Suwannee High School. She recently placed fourth in the boys' district competition, and is the only girl wrestler in Columbia County.
This year, she won first place for the 119-pound weight class at the Clay Middle School tournament."When they lock up with her, they don't just throw her around, they've got to fight for it," Jeff said.After placing fourth in the boys' district competition last week, Katlynn will go on to compete in the regional competition on Friday."She's pretty tough for a seventh-grader," said Caleb Sanders, a senior at Suwannee High School who wrestled Katlynn in the district competition.If she places at the regional competition, then she will compete in the boys' state wrestling championship.In January, Katlynn went to the girls' state championship and placed fourth.She is the only seventh-grader in state history to wrestle against varsity girls at the state championship, Jeff said."The girls at state did not have the technique that wrestling boys gives Katlynn," he said.Katlynn's signature move is the "crab ride" in which she sits on her opponent's back and intertwines her legs in theirs, forcing them to fall over, Jeff said."It's all about technique; it's not about strength all the time," said Dawn Cormier, Katlynn's mother.
Photo By Zak BennettKatlynn Cormier, 14 stands in front of her many awards that she has won in a variety of areas, from wrestling to cheerleading. Katlynn Cormier (in red), 14, wrestles Caleb Sanders, a senior at Suwannee High School. She recently placed fourth in the boys' district competition, and is the only girl wrestler in Columbia County.
If Katlynn places at the state girls' wrestling championship all throughout high school, then she will be the first in history to ever place five times in a row, according to Jeff."The wrestling coach said that if she keeps her grades up, he could have her signed to a college for wrestling by the time she's in tenth grade," Jeff said.The high school has tried to get more girls to participate in wrestling, according to Dawn.This year, there were four girls in the beginning, but all of them dropped out except Katlynn, she said.While the coaches and students are supportive of Katlynn, her parents get more negative comments than positive ones, Dawn said."People ask us how we can let our daughter wrestle and aren't we afraid of her getting touched inappropriately," she said. "Once the boys lock up on her, touching her is the last thing they're thinking about."This summer, Katlynn will be participating on a national girls wrestling league for the Florida team, Jeff said.The team will travel to Osceola, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., and Fargo, N.D., and get a chance to train with women Olympic wrestlers, he said.Katlynn joined the high school team last year after hearing an announcement at school."It didn't shock us at all that she joined," Dawn said. "She'll do anything a boy does; she's not a girly-girl."Katlynn's brother, Zach,15, got involved with the team after watching one of his sister's tournaments."She's the reason he got into it," Jeff said.Jeff and Dawn have never missed a competition that their children have been in, they said. If their kids have competitions on the same night in two different places, one parent will go to each.After Katlynn joined the wrestling team, her cousin, Rey Ozuna, 14, also joined.Including wrestling, Katlynn holds 35 awards in bowling, T-ball, cheerleading, softball, football, Future Farmers of America, gymnastics, a beauty contest, and ice cream eating."She competes in everything," Dawn said.Katlynn's first wrestling trophy is the biggest one in her collection.Wrestling is her favorite sport and her favorite part is competing, Katlynn said.Earlier in the year, Katlynn was on both the wrestling and cheerleading teams. She has been cheerleading since she was 6 years old, Dawn said.She quit cheerleading when there was a conflict between events for the two sports earlier in the year.The cheerleading coach told Katlynn to choose between wrestling and cheerleading, Katlynn said.She chose wrestling.Next year, Katlynn plans to participate in cheerleading again, along with wrestling and weightlifting.She can currently bench press 110 pounds, almost her body weight, Jeff said.Katlynn, Zach and Rey all plan to participate in freestyle wrestling later this spring.Katlynn will wrestle against the boys as long as she can, but soon she may not be able to wrestle in the boys' state competition, according to Dawn."Girls' wrestling isn't sanctioned by the state yet; once they are, she won't be able to wrestle in the boys' competition," Dawn said. "You have to do one or the other."

Move over, Benko, you could have company

Center Grove's McKeehan can join Olympian as state's only 4-time, 2-event titlists
February 8, 2008

GREENWOOD, Ind. -- Michelle McKeehan is one of the best high school swimmers in the nation, but you wouldn't know it by what's in her room.
The Center Grove senior has won six state championships and gold medals in international competitions and countless age-group events, and she could be on the U.S. Olympic team this summer.
Yet she has a mere two medals -- golds from last summer's Pan-American Games in Brazil -- casually draped around the top peg on a rocking chair. The rest of her trophies, ribbons and plaques are in boxes or drawers.
"I'm afraid if I would see them every day, I would become satisfied and that's something I don't want to do," McKeehan said. "I'm not done dropping time. I'm not done swimming faster.
"I've never been a big trophy person. It has always been about times and how much faster I can go than how many ribbons I can collect."
McKeehan's high school career ends at this weekend's state finals at the Natatorium at IUPUI, and it likely will be historic as she heads back onto the national stage with this summer's Olympic Trials.
McKeehan, 18, can join Olympian Lindsay Benko of Elkhart Central as the only two Indiana swimmers to win two individual titles each year of high school.
McKeehan didn't set out to be a swimmer. As a kid, she wanted more than anything to be like her older brother Nicholas. He played soccer, so she played. He turned to swimming, so she swam.
By her freshman year, she was winning state championships. In 2006, she earned medals in international events in Australia, becoming the first American junior to break 1 minute, 10 seconds in the 100-meter breaststroke with a 1:09.93.
"Michelle has the most unbelievable work ethic I've ever seen for a young girl, or a boy for that matter," Center Grove coach Jim Todd said. "She has a deep desire and passion for the sport, and I think she must have a very high pain threshold. She pushes herself so hard in practice it must hurt."
Most of her life is school -- she has a 4.17 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale -- and swimming. She bakes as a hobby, getting close to perfecting pumpkin bread, and takes care of Molly, her black Labrador puppy.
Every weekday, she drives her hand-me-down Ford Focus to school for practice at 5:45 a.m. She trains four hours a day, finishing around 6 p.m.
McKeehan's parents, Stuart McKeehan and Amy Chase, both swam at Perry Meridian.
"They've always told me, whenever I stopped liking it, that's when I'm able to give it up. That's played a large role in where I am," she said.
McKeehan was in kindergarten when her parents divorced. Both are now remarried, and she splits time between being with her mom in Franklin and her dad in Greenwood.
"My parents have been really respectful of no matter what's happening outside the pool, inside, I'm their focus. They work together and encourage me," McKeehan said. "It's a comfort to come inside and see my parents have that common bond. Whenever all of us are on deck, it's so much fun to have the family together again and just be together."
Said Todd: "When she's swimming, that's her haven. She doesn't have the stress with her family, which sometimes she has."
Each of the past three years, McKeehan has won state titles in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley. She set state records in each event last year. She held the national high school record in the 200 IM before it was broken a week later.
McKeehan will swim the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and the 200 IM at the Olympic Trials June 29-July 6 in Omaha, Neb. The top two in each event make the Olympics, but no matter what happens, she has the eye of U.S. coach Mark Schubert.
"It's not unusual for high school kids to make the Olympic team. That's not an unrealistic goal, but I see her getting a lot better in four years and swimming again in eight years as a professional," Schubert said.
"At this point, she's somewhat of a long shot, but just like she did at the Pan Ams, she can shock the field. She has that ability."
McKeehan, who is headed to Georgia in the fall, wasn't the favorite when she won gold in the 100 breast at the Pan Am Games. She also swam on the gold-medal winning and record-setting 400 medley relay.
"I like the spot I'm in because coming out of high school, I'm going to have the Olympic Trials, then coming out of college, I'll have the Olympic Trials and hopefully the Olympics," she said after a recent practice.
At 5-5, she is often the shortest person on the medal podium. She makes up for that with a well-chiseled physique, honed with 45 minutes of weightlifting every weekday.
"She has a lot of talent other than just the 100 breaststroke," Schubert said. "I think she has a great future in front of her."

Gwendolyn Haley has taken to the sport 'like a fish to water

Three Cypress Ridge coaches offer last-minute instructions to sophomore wrestler Gwendolyn Haley.

Haley signals OK, emerges from the huddle and goes to the

Haley chases her opponent, relenting only when the referee taps her shoulder at each stoppage of action. At 102 pounds, she's quick and flexible. But there's more to her arsenal.

Once Haley is in control of her opponent, her muscular frame flexes to make takedowns easy, escapes implausible. Then Haley turns up the pressure, her biceps and shoulders bulging like those of a bodybuilder as she rolls her opponent to her back.

The referee signals Haley's successful pinfall by slapping the mat. And then the celebration begins as her teammates raise their hands wildly over their heads.

It might seem like an unusual congratulatory gesture, but it's the best way for the Cy Ridge wrestlers to translate the roar of the crowd for a teammate who only hears the sounds of silence.

A fast learner

Although you might not notice by watching her wrestle, Haley is deaf. She communicates primarily through her interpreter/assistant coach Patti Lury, sign language or text message. She also reads lips.

Those who know the Cy Ridge wrestler best call her gifted, a quick study on the mat and even a team leader at times.

Haley helped the Lady Rams secure their place in the state duals at a recent qualifier with a dramatic pin against Katy in the final match. Cy Ridge then tied Waller for the girls dual state championship with a Haley pin in the final.

"She's gone from a novice to having a bona fide chance of making it to state this year," Cy Ridge coach Tim Ray said. "She's like a fish to water."

As a first-year wrestler, Haley, who owns an 18-5 record and three tournament titles, has become one of the top 102-pounders in Region III and a contender for the state wrestling tournament in Austin on Feb. 22-23.

She tries to qualify for state today and Saturday during the Region III championships at Katy's Merrell Center.

"I'm naturally athletic," said Haley, communicating through sign language to interpreter Lury. "My mom and dad were good athletes. But I don't like the weight room. I've been playing sports my whole life, including softball, volleyball and track. Now wrestling.

"Coach Ray has been friendly to me, and (my teammates) help me with techniques. I'm equal on the mat because I pay more attention with my eyes."

Lury, who works for Cy-Fair ISD, communicates through sign language with Haley in class and on the mat.

At most matches, Lury paces the mat furiously when Haley or deaf teammate Chris Warmack — the varsity boys' talented 140-pounder — is competing.

Cy Ridge has operated a regional hub for hearing-impaired students from Waller, Katy, Klein, Spring, Magnolia and Spring Branch school districts for six years, Cy Ridge principal Claudio Garcia said. The school has 37 deaf students.

"Gwen has a lot of determination. I admire her for going out there in such a contact sport as wrestling and giving it her all," Garcia said. "She is a young lady with a disability, but it's not a disability to her. And she is representing her family and school at a very high level."

Starting from scratch

New to wrestling at Cy Ridge last fall, Haley started slightly unsure of the holds, takedowns and defensive maneuvers of the sport. But she has learned a lot in a short time. Haley has many friends on the team who are her teachers, including senior state tournament veterans Jessica Nguyen at 95 pounds and Kendra Lewis at 148.

Although she weighs in at about 100 pounds, don't get the idea Haley is frail. She's cut like a petite bodybuilder with biceps, shoulders and abdominal muscles that are the envy of her physically fit team.

Haley wants to compete at state, which is a big task for a rookie wrestler at any weight in Region III. Actually, she has two goals this season: earning a spot at state and beating Nguyen just once in practice. Nguyen is among the favorites for the 95-pound state crown after placing fifth at 102 last year.

"She's strong, but for Gwendy, her mat awareness is her strength," Ray said. "She knows where she is visually.

"I do expect her to be a leader for us next year."

She already has been an inspiration.

Michelle the Future Olympic Swimmer

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Sports | /2008/02/06/ | Sports | /2008/02/06/

UPON arrival at the Roosevelt gym, travelers beware -- you've entered the personal domain of Dianna Zane.

Whether the Rough Riders' dynamic team captain is fully absorbed in a drill during practice, assisting newcomers to the junior varsity with a lesson on her own time, or going all out in the nearby weight room, Zane's daily presence in the gym is as consistent as the sunrise.

A "Beware of Zane" sign could hang outside and passers-by would nod knowingly. The senior has steadily developed a reputation as one of the hardest-working players in the state and has the game to back it up. She's guided the No. 8 Rough Riders (15-6, 9-3 Oahu Interscholastic Association) to nine wins in their last 10 contests. The reward: a bye in the OIA tournament.

In an rare moment void of activity, Zane waved a hand to encompass her familiar environs.

"This is my second home," she said, then paused before clarifying: "I practically live here. This is like my first home."

Teammate Kathleen Nakata, a one-time JV pupil of Zane's, seconded that.

"Sometimes she'll do defense, or offense if you need somebody to jump in and help out," said Nakata. "It's 'cause she lives here, yeah."

Zane has arrived at the same gym every Sunday since she was 7 to attend -- and later assist at -- Roosevelt coach Bobby Keanini's weekly clinics for kids.

While many coaches have had a hand in the development of the 5-foot-4 guard, Keanini was instrumental in transforming an uncoordinated neophyte into one of the most versatile and imposing players around.

Keanini recounted his first impressions of Zane with a chuckle.

"She walked in, and (JV coach Hinano Higa) said, 'That's the girl that's gonna be on your team,' " Keanini said. "It was kind of funny because ... she was terrible. She didn't know her left from her right. In basketball, I didn't see a thing for her, a future for her in basketball at all."

Today, she combines a perfect mix of excellent handles, reliable jumper, killer instinct and cerebral court vision.

While the assist has been Zane's calling card with Roosevelt's star-studded teams of the last few years, she's since developed the ability to take over in crunch time while still keeping her teammates involved.

During the OIA regular season, Zane delivered with two game-winning free throws against top Red East seed Kalani and put in a coast-to-coast, buzzer-beating layup for a 1-point win at Farrington.

Against Kalaheo in the regular-season finale, she had a near quadruple-double of 23 points, 10 steals, nine assists and eight rebounds to clinch a bye to open the OIA tournament.

The Rough Riders play the winner between Mililani and Kalaheo on Friday.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Some rowing links Royal Regatta 2007, Sunday PM&hi=yes&spons=henley Royal Regatta 2007, Sunday PM&hi=yes&spons=henley Royal Regatta 2007, Sunday PM&hi=yes&spons=henley

Concordia's Thursday Report

Concordia's Thursday ReportLisa-Marie Breton

Concordia Athletics hands out "Buzzies" - Sports

Concordia Athletics hands out "Buzzies" - SportsWomen's soccer midfielder Melanie Poirier added Concordia's outstanding female athlete of the year to an already impressive resume.

Gymnastics Australia

Gymnastics Australia

Official Website for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton - The Scout Newspaper

Official Website for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton - The Scout NewspaperJamie Buffalari wins 'Female Athlete of the Year.'

SAMY's new site.

SAMY 's Homepage

Zilberman, Poirier named top athletes at banquet

Zilberman, Poirier named top athletes at banquet

Hot Pole Vaulter

Follow the link.

Local women turn to rowing for fitness, competition

As rain thrums rhythmically on the tin roof of the Alma Bridge Road boathouse, Norma Andreadis maintains a rhythm of her own. Sitting astride a rowing machine in the early morning hours, she works the oars, slowly inhaling and exhaling in time with her strokes. Against her tank top, the muscles of her shoulders and back - trapezius, rhomboid, deltoid, latissimus, oblique - ripple and dance just below her abundant mane of hair.

Given Andreadis' superb physique, the silvery twinkle of that hair under the lights seems incongruous. Then again, she is 60 years old.

A marathon runner since the age of 29, Andreadis has always kept herself in formidable shape. But the long distances eventually took their toll on her knees, forcing her to seek another fitness regimen. These days, as executive director of the Los Gatos Rowing Club and a member of its masters women's team, Andreadis and her fellow rowers have reaffirmed their passion for exercise and camaraderie - at a time when the rest of the world is fast asleep.

When she was still working as a sales executive at IBM before her retirement, her son Andreas, a 2005 graduate of Los Gatos High School, was a member of the Wildcats' crew team. One sunny Saturday in the spring, the rowers hosted their annual Parents Appreciation Day on Lexington Reservoir, to give their families a sense of what it's like to skim across the water.

"I thought, 'This is neat!' " Andreadis recalls. Her daughter's friend also rowedfor her college team, and showed up at the Andreadis household wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a crew logo. Andreadis admitted she missed the challenge of marathons, and covering daunting distances. "She said, 'You ought to row,' " says Andreadis. "When I told her I was afraid I'd end up all arms and shoulders, she told me rowing is a leg sport. She was right; it really is."

Andreadis first ventured out on the water in 2003, taking one of the weekend "learn to row" classes the Los Gatos Rowing Club offers throughout the year. In almost no time, the self-described "type A" was hooked. "It's really a lifestyle," she notes. "It's not something you just do a couple of times a week, while you're also playing football or tennis. When you're serious about it, rowing becomes a way of life."

Unless Mother Nature whips up a storm of the Jan. 4 variety, Andreadis and her fellow team members, who range in age from their 40s to their 70s, meet four mornings a week at the boathouse at 5:30 a.m., then slide their vessels into the chilly waters of the reservoir. What motivates otherwise rational women to rise at such an ungodly hour and expose themselves to frigid temperatures, wind and rain?

According to Teina Lucas, 50, the benefits are many. Lucas spent her youth on the water in her native Hawaii, and had been a cyclist. But like Andreadis, with age came sports-related injuries. "A lot of people refer to rowing as 'the runners' graveyard,' " Lucas says with a laugh. "Most of us took part in sports when we were younger but can't do them anymore. Rowing offers a way to be athletic without stressing out our joints. It's all about core and leg strength, but low-impact."

"The cool thing about rowing," Lucas adds, briskly ticking off a list on her fingertips, "is that it builds muscle, helps with balance, staves off osteoporosis, depression, dementia and weight gain, and dramatically improves our cardio. And all of that helps us deal better with our kids and our lives. Can't beat that!"

At 57, Penny Morrison is enjoying semi-retirement after a long career in high-tech sales. A veteran of LGRC's masters team, Morrison says her first glimpse of two things was all she needed to get her out on the water: the boats gliding through the dawn mists, and Andreadis' muscles.

"I saw people out on the water in the morning, and decided I really wanted to do that. Then I went down and met Norma and thought, 'Wow, can I look like that too?'

" When Morrison's husband discovered that she needed to be lakeside at 5:30 in the morning, he predicted her newfound enthusiasm would last no longer than the first hour. "Twelve years later, I'm still here," Morrison says proudly.

A few months after Morrison began rowing, she shared her new passion with next-door neighbor Patty McDonald, now 56. McDonald, who describes herself as "a total night person," inexplicably got the bug as well.

"The first time I went out, that was it," says McDonald, who serves as vice president of LGRC's board. "Now I get up every morning at 4:30, even before my alarm goes off. When the end of the season comes, I start having nightmares that I can't find my crew, my uniform's lost or I can't find the venue for a race. But once I get to the boathouse, everything's fine. I guess I'm a total addict."

It would seem to require that type of personality to endure the rigorous training program the racing team adheres to for most of the year. In addition to the hours spent on the water, the master rowers follow a prescribed exercise routine aimed at building strength and endurance: pull-ups, lunges, crunches, arm-curls and more.

Andreadis says the boathouse, which contains an array of fitness equipment and rowing machines, is open year-round. When the roar of rain on its metal roof becomes deafening, team members usually opt to keep the boats (and themselves) inside for their workouts; Andreadis also sees a personal trainer at her gym for additional weight training. "But when you're on the water you get wet anyway," Andreadis says. "A lot of the time when it's raining we just throw on waterproof gear and head out. It's sure better here than in Portland!"

For Lucas, the best impetus for staying in shape is peer pressure.

"If you were just going to a gym and doing your own training, you could easily roll over and go back to sleep," she says. "But when your boat doesn't go out because you're not there, that's really bad form. We all have an inner observer who's saying, 'You've gotta get your butt out of bed or you're going to be a total loser.' "

In addition to the physical benefits, the masters team agrees that there's a significant emotional upside to rowing, too. Put a dozen or so alpha females in close proximity, Lucas says, and there are bound to be differences. But ultimately, those differences are resolved in the name of sportsmanship.

"Rowing is the ultimate team sport," Lucas observes. "There's nothing that keeps a boat balanced other than the people who are in it. It really forces a group mindset. So we row, we bicker, and then the next day we get back in the boat and we're all united again."

Adds Morrison, "In rowing, there are no superstars. Everyone has a function, and everyone is important." She describes the positions in the typical eight-person team: At the bow (front end) of a "sweep" boat (in which each rower has one oar), two people keep the craft in balance. In the center, the "power engine" strokers (like Andreadis, typically the tallest and strongest) move the vessel forward. Back at the stern, the "stroke" (who sits nearest the coxswain, facing the rest of the crew) sets the stroke length and cadence, following the commands of the coxswain, who calls the stroke rate and urges the team on in a race.

Lucas says her favorite spot is in the middle, but appreciates having the chance to switch off with her teammates. "I like having the sense of each seat because they all feel different, and knowing each one makes me more 'marketable.' Sometimes we have to fight for positions," she says. "If only one boat can compete in a race and we have more people than seats, then the coach decides who's in. It gets very competitive," Andreadis says wryly.

Though the masters racing season officially ended in late November, Andreadis and her fellow rowers are busily training for their first contest of 2008 - the 2,000-meter San Diego Crew Classic, to be held the first weekend in April. LGRC attends local races throughout California each year, and competes in such prestigious national events as the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.

With the impending June draining of Lexington (to enable the replacement of the reservoir's outlet pipe) looming in its future, LGRC plans to shift its learn-to-row sessions to Vasona Lake. The masters team may also be looking for a new training venue; Andreadis says the Palo Alto and Redwood City rowing clubs have both generously extended invitations to the Los Gatans.

In the meantime, Andreadis and several members of her team are actively recruiting new participants in the sport. They especially encourage baby boomers, and those who are seeking an athletic life after running.

"Our season is much longer than it used to be, because the interest in rowing has grown so much," says Andreadis. "More and more people are coming in and saying, 'I've run myself to death; I need a new sport.' We welcome visitors, and we'd love to see more people come out here."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

mixed wrestling at it's best

In Fla., high school girls find their strength in weightlifting

Associated Press Writer

High school girls weightlifting is unique to Florida, and nobody does it better than the Spruce Creek Lady Hawks.

They come in all shapes and sizes, some as slight as 98 pounds and some who lift in the 199-pound and unlimited classes, and they're part of a powerhouse that dominates the sport. The Lady Hawks have won the state tournament all four times it has been held, and try for their fifth title Feb. 9.

Only Florida offers girls' competitive weightlifting, with about 3,800 participants at more than 150 schools, and it is becoming "kind of a recruiting ground" for national teams, said coach Richard Lansky of USA Weightlifting.

While no Floridian has yet competed at the Olympics - women's weightlifting debuted at the 2000 games - six have have represented the U.S. at world junior and university competitions since 2005.

"When you think of weightlifting, you don't think of it being a girls sport," said Jessica Fides, a former Spruce Creek lifter who hopes to compete in the upcoming Olympic trials. "But I think, more and more, through programs like Spruce Creek High School, you're able to carry that out into the Olympic-style lifting afterward. It allows you to get the confidence level up."

On a recent Saturday, the Spruce Creek gym was packed with mothers and fathers as the Lady Hawks hosted a sectional meet for teams from Volusia County, on the central Atlantic coast. A former state champion was in the bleachers, rooting for her younger sister. A grandmother watched as girls fiercely compete in a sport that didn't exist when she was in school.

One by one, the lifters in braided pigtails, spandex singlets and bright lifting shoes came to the iron.

Their faces twisted and contorted during the bench press, and each carefully tried to thrust the heavy bar with the flick of a wrist in the clean and jerk. Some lifted with ease and precision. Some nearly crumpled under the weight.

"UUUUUPPPPPPPPPPPPP!" the crowd groaned in unison, when lifters struggled to hoist the bar.

Some of the best lifters, coaches say, come from sports like competitive cheerleading or gymnastics. They possess the quick reflexes and agility needed to pump a bar skyward in the clean and jerk competition and are fiercely driven and focused.

"They're light. They're explosive," Spruce Creek coach Tom Bennett said. "They're used to doing these explosive movements. And that's exactly what weightlifting is."

Even for Spruce Creek lifters, however, there can be hurdles along the way. The sport has long been reserved for the male population, and parents, friends and boyfriends sometimes grow concerned when a girl announces her intent to take up the sport.

"I didn't want to get big-guy looking, but I didn't think that would happen," said Heather Wolfe, 16. She weighs 108 pounds but can bench press 140 and lift 155 in the clean and jerk. "There were a few girls in the beginning ... they said their boyfriend doesn't want them looking like a guy and all that. But I have a boyfriend and he doesn't mind or anything.

"And if he did, that would be his fault."

Boyfriends, Bennett said, are generally not the problem.

"I think each year, we'd probably have 10 or 15 more girls if their parents were OK with it," he said. "We've had some girls who could literally go on to be state champions, but their parents are like 'Oh, you're going to look like a boy' or 'You're going to hurt yourself.'"

When Spruce Creek lifter Sara Cowles was a child, she wore a back brace and took ballet. Her mother, Dee Young, said she was surprised when her little girl grew up and moved from the dance studio to the weight room.

"There's a lot of battling with your own femininity when you come out for this sport," said Cowles, 17. "I've never really held myself to certain beauty standards that other girls do. For me, having muscles and being toned is beautiful."

Some athletes at other schools also use weightlifting as a way to stay conditioned for other sports.

"I tell them that it's going to help them with their cheerleading or their softball or the other sports that they play in,' said Seabreeze High School coach Dave Eddy. "It's a great cross-training sport."

AP Girls Take Third At Travis Todd


Published: February 2, 2008

AVON PARK — Not everything that glitters turns to gold.

"This event isn't about going for the gold," said former Avon Park state champion Anachelle Mejias. "You can't explain what it feels like when you've reached that personal best you've been going after all season. It's just an amazing feeling."

There was plenty of euphoria in Avon Park on Thursday, as eight girls weightlifting teams converged on APHS for the Travis Todd Invitational — an end-of-the-year testament to their hard work.

"It's been tough to schedule this meet the past few years," said former Avon Park weightlifting coach Don Hickman. "But the girls love coming here to this fun meet. It gives them one last chance to go after that personal best.

"For many, this will be the last time they lift competitively."

Personal bests fell like dominos, as the sweat and strain turned into cheers and jubilation rarely seen in weightlifting, a sport that's grown exponentially in recent years.

Sebring's Ashley Waldon, whose made her name on the volleyball court in the fall, placed third in the 119-pound class with a personal-best 220 total weight. She said she's has grown to the love sport and the different terrain to climb that volleyball doesn't offer.

"It's not that I don't love volleyball, but that's a team sport," Ashley said. "In weightlifting, it's just you and the weights. It makes you feel so good when you make it past the weight you've tried so many tries to conquer.

"I'm very proud of myself and had so much fun being here."

Wearing the gold that she earned after years of hard work, Mejias also showed off her coaching abilities, giving tips to the younger lifters who are yearning to wear her hardware one day.

"[This event] makes me feel like I'm inside a meet again," Mejias said. "It's wonderful to be back in this atmosphere again and I love giving the girls some pointers."

Mejias got to the pinnacle in weightlifting in her senior season, surpassing the 200-pound threshold in the bench and posting a state record 215-pound press at the state meet to grab the gold by a whopping 45 points and become the face of girls powerlifting in Highlands County.

But the life lessons that made her a champion has carried over into her post-high school days: Mejias studies architecture at South Florida Community College.

"I learned a lot about life and how to step up to challenges during my days in the weight room," Mejias said. "I accomplished a lot in weightlifting and it taught me that I can do anything.

"My heart will always be in the weight room."

Many first-year lifters enjoyed their taste of the camaraderie and competition that they may have lacked in other sports.

"I played basketball for three years and after lifting this year, I wish I would have done this all through high school," said Lake Placid senior Sarah Norris, who placed third and earned a personal best of 210 total weight in the unlimited class. "This kept me active in the winter, and I grew to love the practices and how the other girls push you to get better."

Some notable finishes by local lifters included Sebring's Samary Camuy and Avon Park's Tykeria Wiley took gold in the 101-pound and unlimited weight classes, respectively, while Avon Park's Andejoua Nixon placed third and Sebring's Michelle Bash finished fourth in the 169-pound class.
Shonkeria Laster earned silver in the 199-pound class to lift the Red Devils to a third-place finish in the team results.

Gladiator is a warrior for fitness - Living - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington

Gladiator is a warrior for fitness - Living - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington

Gladiator is a warrior for fitness

Rich Heldenfels

When you look at Siren on "American Gladiators," besides the costume and the intimidating look, you're sure to notice the sculpted muscles.

Valerie Waugaman sees fat.

"The camera really does add 10 pounds," says Waugaman, the 29-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, resident who plays Siren on the NBC series. But she is not some timid little birdie who thinks of anorexia as a means to a better career. In fact, she is very fitness-conscious.

Her personal eating habits include lots of vegetable and protein supplements. So much so that when confronted with the catering table while "American Gladiators" was taping in November and December, she knew she was going to put on weight.

In her professional life, the graduate of Ohio University admits that even the slight bulking up that occurred with "Gladiators" can be a problem. "I have sort of a skewed perspective," she said in a recent interview.

After all, Waugaman also is a professional bodybuilder with IFBB, or International Federation of Body Building and Fitness. Competing in the figure category, she has won several events and is in training for Columbus' Arnold Sports Festival.

Promoting health

Waugaman came to bodybuilding as a way to promote Octane Cafe, a health-conscious restaurant in Cleveland where she is co-owner and marketing director. Her fiance, Sam Eells, founded the restaurant and hopes to turn it into a franchise.

So Waugaman constantly preaches the gospel of physical fitness and healthy habits. In addition to boosting the restaurant, she hopes her appearances on "American Gladiators" will be a springboard to a larger role promoting her ideas, especially to young people.

As a young person, Waugaman was athletic, she said, and "I was lucky to have good genetics. ... I was healthier than most, but I ate a lot of frozen dinners, cheese and bologna and things that were really not healthy."

These days, she said, "I wouldn't say I'm a vegetarian, but most of my diet consists of vegetables. ... Lots of spinach. ... And lots of fish, tofu, natural protein powder in shakes."

That, and a lot of training, not only helped her in bodybuilding but in feeling good overall. "My skin is better," she said. "My hair is better." And when "American Gladiators" was starting, she was already known well enough in the bodybuilding world that - thanks to a referral from Flex magazine - the show came to her.

Tough job

Not that it's all been easy. Even in training camp, she said, there was a lot of competition. "You want to stand out," she said. "That's the nature of who we are. We want to give 100 percent effort. But at the end, we're shaking hands."

And people really do get hurt on the show. One of the nonprofessional contenders was eliminated by an injury on the first telecast. Waugaman has been sandwiching interviews in between visits for physical therapy. While she is glad to have a chance to compete in athletic events beyond the posing of bodybuilding, she said it has been "emotionally and physically exhausting."

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lady Buc making an impression on the mat

Lady Buc making an impression on the mat

Published February 1, 2008

CLUTE — In her first full year as a starter for the Brazoswood Lady Buc wrestling team, Victoria Hill has surprised a few wrestlers. That includes herself.

Standing 5-foot-1, 122 pounds, Hill has been working to lose a pound to make the 121 class by Saturday. In the last two seasons, Hill has pounded the mat at the 128 class, but wants to drop lo the lower make to improve her chances of going as far as possible in her final year.

“I just think that in a lower weight class I have a better chance at state,” Hill said. “I’m a little nervous of moving from one weight class to another, but I am certain that I can still retain my strength for the district, region and hopefully state meets.”

Despite winning the 128 class at The Woodlands Tournament this season, getting a second place at the Cy Ridge and several third-place ribbons, Hill continues to prosper in a sport she never thought she’d be a part of.

“I got into it in my sophomore year after running into a few of the wrestling girls at the cafeteria,” Hill said. “I knew some of them from powerlifting, and before you knew it, I was in wrestling class trying to learn the moves.”

Still learning the intricacies of wrestling, Hill did not get a match in her sophomore year. But last season she finally made her debut.

“I was so nervous last year in that first bout and I remember thinking that I hope I don’t mess up and I hope I remember my moves,” Hill said. “I was also trying to remember to listen to the coach and I did good, I won my first match.”

But Hill was in a tough position, wrestling in the class already occupied by senior Chelsea Centeno. Still, Hill wanted to prove she belonged on the same mat as Centeno.

“I was always so close to beating her but never got quite there,” Hill said. “Last year was a challenge, but it made me work harder because I really wanted to beat her. One time I came close to beating her at a round robin. I had her on her back and, even though I lost, it excited me because I knew that I was getting better.”

Though she is not being pursued by any schools for scholarships, Hill is hoping to have a good showing in the next couple of meets that might earn her a trip to the state meet in Austin.

“She is a real hard worker who came back from an injury in her sophomore year,” Brazoswood coach Bill Baker said. “With her being behind Chelsea last year, and this year the Waller girl beating her a couple of times, it was a good move for her to go down a weight. Victoria has good tools for a wrestler but she is a jujitsu girl with good mat skills . Hill is good on top and has a lot of good pinning combinations. I hope she does well in district.”

After high school, Hill wants to attend Brazosport College for her basics and then hopefully enter the medical field in some capacity.

“By being a wrestler I’ve learned to never give up no matter what,” Hill said. “It’s also taught me how to be a good sport about winning and losing.”

Hill will be in competition at the District 24-5A meet at Beaumont Westbrook on Saturday.

Lleyton's Little Sis a Hit - Play Tennis Florida

Lleyton's Little Sis a Hit - Play Tennis Florida

Lleyton's Little Sis a Hit

Posted on February 1, 2008

In 2005, Lleyton Hewitt's little sister Jaslyn was your typical struggling up-and-coming Aussie junior. That year when she lost first round as a wildcard at the WTA Tour event in Gold Coast, then failed to qualify at Sydney and the Australian Open, she saw the writing on the wall.

Coming up short of cracking the Top 300, Hewitt retired later that year to take up coaching.

Still living with her parents today, the 24-year-old Hewitt last year entered her first bodybuilding contest (placing second) and is now considering a career in modeling after commissioning some publicity shots.

"It felt strange at first because I'm not a model, but I gradually felt more comfortable in front of the camera," she told Australian media.

The bodybuilding and modeling attention have now opened another avenue, bringing her to the attention of TV producers for an American Gladiators-type show in Australia where she has been asked to audition.