All sophomore Mollie McGhee and junior Alexa Encheff intended on doing at the end of soccer season last fall was lift a few weights to help prepare for the 2014 season.
McGhee, a forward, and Encheff, a defender on Genoa’s soccer squad, got more than they anticipated when they started regularly working out at the school’s athletic complex.
“We started working out after school to stay in shape,” McGhee said. “Some of the boys in the weight room suggested we try this Kenton state lifting competition. We didn’t know much about it. We thought about it and we knew no girls from Genoa have gone to this. We thought we’d try it.”
The two girls, at the urging of Genoa football standout and state lifting competitor David Nutter, began training for the state powerlifting meet in Kenton in late October.
|Genoa powerlifters Mollie McGhee and
Alexa Encheff. (Submitted photo)
“We got a lot of help from David Nutter,” McGhee said. “He gave us advice on what to do. We got into it even more towards January. We started seeing our max weights and stuff. Both of us had just been in there to stay in shape during the offseason. We were the only girls in there after school on a regular basis. We just throught we’ll try it and start training for it just to see if we wanted to do it. We ended up really getting into it.”
McGhee, 16, ended up placing fifth at 125 pounds and Encheff, 17, placed sixth at 115 pounds at the Division IV, V, VI, VII girls’ state powerlifting meet March 8 at Kenton High School. Several Genoa boys competed in the same division and took eighth place.
“It was awesome,” Encheff said. “It was cool to see how excited the guys were that we had girls going. We were the first girls from Genoa to do a weightlifting competition. Some of the parents of the other weightlifters were our coaches. They would go off in different areas and give us a pep talk before we did our lift, so that was really cool.”
Each male and female competitor performed three different lifts – bench press, squat and deadlift. Encheff had a 405-pound total after recording a 215-pound squat and 190-pound deadlift. She did not record any weight in the bench press.
Encheff said she benched 95 pounds at the Genoa complex a week before the meet, so she started off with that as her starting weight at the competition.
“I benched 95 at the complex and it was easy, so I put that as my starting weight at the meet,” Encheff said. “I was comfortable at 95. Their weighted bar was different than the one at the complex. At the meet, it was higher (off the bench). I didn’t get the 95, and you can’t go down in weight. I was disappointed.
“The coaches said to look at it as a learning experience, that now I know I need to go a little lower than my max (to start off). Deadlift was last, so I knew I had to do better than I had, and I set a PR. One of my coaches said it looked so easy, I could have gone up to 210. Now I know where to start next year and be comfortable.”
McGhee was fifth at 125 pounds, with three-lift total of 495 pounds. She had a 215-pound squat, 85-pound bench press and a 195-pound deadlift.
“The squat and deadlift were personal records,” McGhee said. “The most I had gotten on the squat was 200. When we squatted in competition, we used leg wraps so we can spring up faster. With those, we were able to do more weight. My max in the deadlift was 185 raw (without wraps). We were really proud of how we did, considering it was our first year. Our goal was just to place in the top five. We really liked it. We’re definitely going to do it next year and we’re definitely going to train a lot more for it.”
McGhee said she and Encheff could have done better if they would have had more time in the weight room.
“We had all those days off from school,” she said, referring to the harsh winter. “After winter break we had a week of cancellations. It was awful. A couple weeks later we had almost a whole week off. Alexa is my ride when we go to work out. She drives me there. Her parents wouldn’t let her go out in the weather, and I couldn’t go either. That was about three weeks that we could have been training.”
Both Genoa girls have their sights set on placing even higher at next year’s meet at Kenton.
“I loved it,” Encheff said. “It was an awesome experience. I like working out every day because it helps you stay in shape and it makes you feel good at the end of the day.”
Genoa boys sixth
Genoa’s boys took eighth in the team standings in Divisions IV, V, VI, VII and had three individual champions. The Comets had a combined lift of 10,305 pounds. Host Kenton won the team title with 13,470 pounds.
Garrett Poiry took first place in the 145-pound weight class, with a three-lift total of 1,190 pounds. Nathan Szymanski took first at 155 pounds (1,320 total) and Garrett Etts took first at 195 pounds (1,445).
Szymanski set new state records in his division with a 555-pound squat and 305-pound bench press.
The Kenton meet recognizes lifters for setting state records if they do their lifts without the aid of either knee wraps for squats or a bench press shirt. Szymanski did not use a bench shirt.
Poiry set a state record in the bench at 285 pounds without the aid of a bench shirt. Etts also set a state record in the bench (385 pounds) without the aid of a bench shirt.
The Comets had three third-place finishers: Eric Traver competed at 125 pounds and had a three-lift total of 880 pounds; Blake Traver lifted 1,160 pounds at 185; and David Nutter had a 1,220-pound total at 225. Genoa’s Owen Dodd was fourth at 250 pounds (1,165 total), and Joey McLear took seventh (1,025) at 225.