Throughout the history of Maclay sports, boys varsity weightlifting has always been a prevalent and popular team to be a part of within the upper school community. While this team continues to take school records by storm, one recognizable team that has rapidly made a name for itself resides in the same weight room, the girl’s varsity weightlifting team.
Through methods of recruitment and immense amounts of success, the Maclay girl’s weightlifting team has evolved and nearly doubled its members, going from a team of 13 to 28. Each athlete on the team follows a strict weekly schedule, both in and out of season in order to keep their head in the right place when preparing for their lifts. In order to maintain the strength and consistency these athletes possess, they participate in four lifts a week out of season, and three lifts a week while in season.
Upon his arrival at Maclay School to become the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, Kenyon Boatfield decided he wanted to have all his athletes under one roof, welcoming both boys and girls into the same weight room. This structured, welcoming environment is what draws so many in, leading the team to become the largest girls’ sports team on campus.
“For me personally, being on the girls weightlifting team has taught me to push myself to work harder through seeing how hard everyone else works on the team,” sophomore Elizabeth Dowdy said. “It has pushed me physically by working hard each and every day to get stronger. It has also pushed me to get mentally stronger by learning to always have the right mindset before competing. Boatfield himself teaches us to always have the right mindset of knowing that we can do it.”
While not only does being on the team bring these girls impeccable strength and put them in their most fit shape, the coaches of this team seek a deeper end goal for the girls. Values such as strength, hard work and confidence are characteristics that are ultimately instilled in each athlete.
“I want the girls to learn the values of hard work paying off,” Assistant Girls Weightlifting Coach Kenyon Boatfield said. “I want them to see an end goal and know that working hard will pay off from the start of the season to states in February. I love for the girls to feel empowered and know that it is okay for them to be physically and emotionally strong. I am proud to work with all the athletes and see the influx of female athletes in the weight room.”
Despite the girls doing everything in their power to keep the most positive mindset when working towards their hefty goals, just like every other team, they face obstacles that require copious amounts of teamwork and resilience to tackle.
“The most challenging part of being on the weightlifting team has been that we have many new, inexperienced members this year but also, this season is even more of a learning curve for all of us, not just the new members because they have also changed the way the district, regional, and state meet will be run,” senior Peyton Crumpler said. “So we are all learning a lot together as a team, but because we are so close, it makes it much better and easier for all of us to be able to go through this new season with each other.”
While these adaptations may be hard for some sports teams to accommodate, the girl’s varsity weightlifting team has done so with grace and power through their close connections with one another.
“[One word I would use to describe the team would be] diverse,” Assistant Girls Weightlifting Coach Kenyon Boatfield said. “We have a lot of different characters on the team. I love having a variety of girls and I like that everyone has different personalities.”
Although the athletes that make up this team are not too far into their 2022-2023 season yet, they look forward to working hard and reaping the physical and emotional benefits that come with being a member of this tight-knit team.
“The most rewarding part of being on the weightlifting team is seeing my progress and improvement throughout meets,” sophomore Kate Reichelderfer said. “There are some days that my weights aren’t where they need to be and some days I am able to achieve a PR on my lifts, but knowing that the work I’m putting in during practice is paying off means a lot and keeps me going during the season and into the postseason. Physically, I hope that I am able to get stronger and improve my form on my lifts. For me emotionally, I want to focus on being confident with my weights and form so that I don’t psych myself out before my time to lift.”
After years of going unrecognized and underrated, the Maclay girl’s weightlifting team has made a name for itself. Although they are not far into the season, this large group has already left its mark on Maclay athletics.