The work that goes on in the Franklin Community High School weight room is starting to gain notice on a national scale.
Next up: Attempting to take it global.
Seniors Shelby Miles and Brittany Hammond, and junior Jennica Baldridge, are among five Grizzly Cubs athletes who spent part of their fall break in Scranton, Pennsylvania, competing at the annual U.S. Powerlifting Nationals.
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All three picked up first-place gold medals in their respective age/weight divisions. Meanwhile, Miles and Baldridge qualified to take part in the World Championships in Killeen, Texas, from June 19 to 26.
Powerlifting competitions are composed of the squat, bench-press and deadlift. Three lifts are allowed in each category.
Fourth-year Franklin strength coach Jeremy Hartman began the process of training certain students from the classes he teaches into lifters ready for competition. It began with specific local venues, but Hartman now thinks bigger picture.
“To do this sport at the level that I demand, it’s a year-around thing. Right now with Shelby and Jennica we’re planning our vacations around training for Worlds because this might be their only shot to go,” Hartman said.
“When we talk about Christmas and breaks and stuff, we don’t have those. There are certain times of the year they’re training three days a week, but most the time they’re training between four and six days a week.”
Miles bench-pressed a national record 189 pounds at Nationals to win her age/weight class (16-, 17-year-old, 158 pounds). Baldridge, who competes at 138 pounds despite weighing six less than that, squatted 248 pounds to win her division.
Hammond captured the 18-19 division at 184 pounds with a top deadlift of 352 pounds. Due to Hammond’s birth date she fell under the next division criteria (19 to 23) and won’t be taking part in Worlds.
Franklin sophomore Kloie Doublin wound up third at 158 in the 16-17 class, while recent Franklin graduate Mia Cano placed second at 138 pounds in the 18-19 division.
Miles, who also is a member of Franklin’s girls tennis team and ranked second in her class academically with a 4.36 grade-point average, admits the competitions themselves tend to accelerate her heartbeat.
“I never really thought I would like it that much. I mean, I liked it in the class because it felt good to be strong. With competing I started liking it because of the feeling that all your work paid off,” Miles said.
“For a weightlifting meet I’m very nervous. In tennis you have a meet two to three times a week, but with this you get maybe four per year.”
Baldridge admits being a powerlifter has increased her confidence level. She credits this for her pursuing a role in the school’s choir this school year.
“I liked lifting in the first place just because I like to get better and get stronger. And I like competing against other people to see what I can do,” said Baldridge, who, too, is an outstanding student (4.16 GPA).
“I do get nervous, mainly before the meets because you’ve been training awhile, and then you’ll have one day to prove you’ve been training.”
Practice sessions in the school’s weight room promise to intensify the closer it comes to traveling to Texas in mid-June. Attendance, however, is a year-round prerequisite.
“These are the ideal athletes that a coach wants. They’ve seen the success and want to take it even further. I’ve had several other athletes where it was too much of a commitment for them,” Hartman said.
“This is something I started because I had some extra kids really putting in the extra time. As a coach when you see that you want nothing more than to develop that talent.”
High school: Franklin
Family: Parents, Kent and Deanna; sisters, Miranda, 26, Lauren, 22, and Sadie, 12; brothers, Landon, 20, and Dane, 19.
Age/weight division: Girls 16-17, 158 pounds
High school: Franklin
Family: Parents, Mark and Debbie; sisters, Cierra, 23, and Addison, 12; brothers, Tyler, 23, and Jacob, 20.
Age/weight division: Girls 16-17, 138 pounds