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Junior becomes first Sailor powerlifter to win state

Kendahl MacLaren, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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After becoming the first ever Shores lifter to become a state champion, junior Grace VanArendonk said she is extremely shocked and excited.

“I went into the meet just trying to do my personal best, but I won, and that’s something to be grateful for,” said VanArendonk, who competed with her teammates at the state competition at Crosswell-Lexington High School on March 11.

VanArendonk took first in the varsity women’s 114-pound weight class. She squatted 185 pounds, benched 105 pounds, and deadlifted 305 pounds for a total of 595 pounds.

“A lot was going through my head as I went into the last lift [the deadlift],” she said. “It was a lot of pressure because I knew that if I got it, then I would win; otherwise, I would get second. I really wanted to get first for (coach Matt) Koziak especially and myself.”

That last lift gave VanArendonk a state record for her wight class as she deadlifted 305 pounds, breaking the old record by 10 pounds.

“It was kind of emotional because the girl before me broke the record for 300 pounds, and then, I broke her record,” she said.

However, VanArendonk describes the day as a whole as laid back.

“It seems weird because most people are really nervous, but for me it is more of an extra thing for me,” she said. “I did weight lifting for fun to go along with cheer.”

VanArendonk said this wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of hard work, a positive attitude, and the people who supported her along the way.

“The whole girls’ powerlifting team, definitely (senior Ke’Vonte’A Pegues) and (junior) Breon (Hooper), as well as Koziak and my parents were so helpful and supportive,” VanArendonk said.

Even though she just broke records and became a state champion, VanArendonk is still continuing to set goals for her future in weightlifting.

“My next goal is to hit 600 total pounds,” she said.

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Junior becomes first Sailor powerlifter to win state