“If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.” 

Bret Contreras

On Friday, Jan. 27 at 4:30 p.m., the Maclay varsity girls weightlifting team competed in the girls traditional and olympic 1A region district championship. The meet took place at Suwannee High School in Live Oak, FL. The following 16 girls competed for the Marauders: eighth grader Katie Nation. Freshmen Caroline Couch and Palmer Webb. Sophomores Josey Becker, Isabel Davis, Kate Reichelderfer and Elizabeth Dowdy. Juniors Molly Lamb, Victoria Gainey, Kaitlyn Guyer, Kenley Robinson and Brooke Nohle. Seniors Meghan Goletz, Lilly Phipps, Peyton Crumpler and Heaven Ward. Maclay, with 64 points in the team competition, finished runner-up to Suwannee who had 100 points. Other teams that were competing for the title were Taylor County, Hamilton County, Madison County and Gadsden County. 

The competition is scored as the girls are grouped based on their weight class. Each competitor gets three attempts to bench press, clean and jerk and snatch as much weight as possible. In the 139 pound weight class, Dowdy took first place with a combined bench press, snatch and clean and jerk of 320 pounds. Phipps was 10 pounds behind Dowdy and took second place in the same weight class. Reichelderfer also finished first in the 119 pound weight class, Crumpler finished first in the 154 pound weight class and Davis finished first in the 169 pound weight class.

“I think I had some good lifts,” Phipps said. “Not all of them went my way, but we live and we learn.”

Ward also gave it her all at the district meet. Ward explains that she had to push herself out of her comfort zone and believe that she could accomplish what used to seem impossible. Ward left districts with a new personal weightlifting record. 

“My clean and jerk went extremely well,” Ward said. “It’s surprising because [clean and jerk] used to be my least favorite event. Snatch and bench went well too. Overall, the experience was extraterrestrial, and I know I did my best.” 

The Lady Marauders were led by head coach Evan Gentry. Gentry felt as though the girls had some of their best lifts all year while working to earn a district runner-up title in both the Traditional and Olympic Category. 

“The girls’ competitive spirit shined throughout the day as they were pushing themselves to place as high as they could in their weight class,” Gentry said. “Our biggest improvements will be to be attentive to detail during these big meets.”

Ward and her teammates are aware of how much her coaches have put into this season. Ward loved seeing her teammates meet their goals and demonstrate their strength as she looks forward to additional growth and enjoying the last moments of her senior season in one of her favorite sports she has ever competed in. 

“The team dominated and definitely reached new heights,” Ward said. “We all believed in each other and challenged each other. We left it all in Suwannee and the amount of top three finishers, new personal records, and smiles tells it all.” 

Phipps looks ahead to the region and state meet and is excited to see how many Marauders will qualify. The Girl’s Weightlifting Regional Championships will take place on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Suwannee High School in Live Oak, FL.