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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Clay junior Canen Smith was a wrestler through his eighth grade year, but a

pic-canensmith1
Clay junior Canen Smith

terrible bicycle accident prompted doctors to tell Smith it would behoove him to give up participating in contact sports.

"I was in BMX, and I was bunny-hopping over something and I clipped my back tire and flipped forward and landed on my head," Smith recalled. "I hit the front of my head so hard that I had a three-inch radial fracture. I was in intensive care for two days.

I was really into riding bikes at that time. That was kind of my main thing." 

These days, Smith's main thing is competing with Clay's power lifting team, which trains at Maumee Bay Turf Center, 740 S. Stadium Dr. 

On March 20, Smith took first place the 155-pound weight class at the Ohio High School Division I, II, III State Powerlifting Championships at Kenton High School.

The state-wide power lifting event consists of each lifter competing in the bench press, squat and dead lift. Smith, who was one of eight Clay competitors, bench-pressed 250 pounds to go along with a 440-pound squat and 440-pound dead lift, for a 1,130-pound total.

"I had a real good day," Smith said. "My dead lift was pretty competitive, but I've been training on my squat a lot and I think that's going to go up. I think I can get more in the bench, but I know my squat is going to get better because of the new things I've been doing training-wise."

Smith's title helped Clay, which lifted a combined weight of 8,760 pounds, finish fifth out of 26 teams at the state meet. Marysville took first with 12,515 pounds, followed by Springfield Shawnee (12,180), Kenton Ridge (10,390) and Gallia Academy (8,955).

Teams from Port Clinton, Clyde, Sandusky, and Sylvania Southview also competed.

Smith, whose father, Todd Smith, was the head trainer for Waite's state-championship power lifting teams in the early 1990s, has only been lifting weights for eight months.

"I really wanted to get strong, and I started to get strong," Canen said. "Then the competition came into play. My uncle, Troy Scott, was a national champion power lifter and my dad was a bodybuilder. When I started getting strong, I looked at some of the records in the area and I saw I was pretty close to them, so I decided to enter something to try to win."

Clay's power lifting team usually consists of about 15 competitors.

"We won first place two weeks before the state meet, at a meet at Northwood," said P.J. Kapfhammer, the co-owner of Maumee Bay Turf who also trains Clay's power lifters. "Our totals at Northwood would have taken first place at state. We had five kids who play baseball at Clay who couldn't make it to Kenton."

Of Smith's gold-medal performance at the state meet, Kapfhammer said, "Canen is a very strong kid for his size — unbelievable, actually."

The other Clay lifters who competed in Kenton were seniors Jared Snodderly, Tom Crawford, Nick Staeker, Alex Jude and Dakota Nelson, sophomore Garrett Gray and freshman Devin Dominique

Snodderly competed in the 250-pound division and won a silver medal with a 1,330-pound total. His 345-pound bench press was the second best in his division, behind Crawford.

Crawford, who had a 360-pound bench, took third at 250 pounds with a 1,290-pound combined lift.

Staeker earned a silver medal at 195 pounds, with a 1,155-pound total. Dominique, a 155-pounder, placed third with a 995-pound total.

Gray competed at 225 pounds and took 11th, with a 900-pound total.

"He's a big kid who just started lifting in the last couple months," Kapfhammer said. "He did this for the experience. He and his brother, Jared, are going to be phenomenal athletes. They're seeing where they need to be, so they can work harder."

Jude competed at 195 pounds and took seventh place with a 1,030-pound total. His 290-pound bench press was first in his division. Nelson, a 175-pounder, placed eighth with 930-pound total.

Smith said weight training has helped him in several ways, and he can't say enough about the support he gets at Maumee Bay Turf.

"Lifting has helped a lot of things," Smith said. "I have anxiety, so it helps with that a lot. It's made me happier about how I look. I'm stronger and bigger, and that's kind of cool. Maumee Bay Turf has a good atmosphere. Everybody is friendly and willing to help you."

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