Female Powerlifters Proceed To State Meet


Right after school, Jamie Herrell and Abi Reilly walk into the weight room, ready for the afternoon’s practice. They are no longer greeted by the friendly faces of the seven other girls on the powerlifting team. They’re the only ones left, the only girls who have advanced to the state powerlifting meet from Rider High School.

“When everyone was in the gym, [they] pushed you to do your best,” Herrell said. “Even though it’s a team sport, it’s also individual. I felt like my team had my back and wanted me to do good and wanted me to go further. Even though some of the girls weren’t able to, they were still pushing me to do better.”

Even though powerlifting is a male-dominated sport, both Reilly and Herrell said any girl who wants to join shouldn’t be intimidated by the guys in the weightroom.

“Don’t be scared,” Herrell said. “You might think you can’t lift a lot, but I went in not knowing I can do as much  as I can. At first it can be intimidating [with all of the guys in the gym]. We’re always looking for new [athletes].

Herrell regrets that she didn’t get into powerlifting earlier as an underclassman.

“This is my first year in the program,” Herrell said. “Start early as a freshman, don’t wait until your junior year. We’re always looking for new girls — and news guys, too — but especially girls because we don’t have very many. I started out squatting 135 and now I’m squatting 295. Your weight just shoots up — it’s so crazy. Anybody can join. It’s awesome. I love it. I’m coming back next year.”

The girls practiced four times a week after school. They had back-to-back meets early in the season.

“It’s a dedication thing,” Herrell said. “I mean, either you wanna do it or you don’t. It shows who comes to practice and who doesn’t. We have girls that will come but not really work. You can’t go a day off because your weight will keep going down if you don’t go to the gym every day.”

That work ethic paid off with a trip to state.