Elizabethton High fell a bit short of its bid for a team national championship, but the Cyclones returned with an All-American from the power lifting tournament held in Dales, Wisc., earlier this month.
Sophomore Cerri Bradley took fourth place at the tournament and an All-America title — and is determined to do equally well in the varsity bracket in 2013.
“I wasn’t intimidated at all,” Bradley said. “I could hear the crowd and it was big, but once I put my hands on the bar all I could hear was my coach and the ref’s, that’s it. I went to Louisiana last year and it was a good experience, this year not so much. We got made fun of because of our accents a little bit, but it didn’t bother me when I took my turn.
“I got all my openers and all my dead lifts in. I didn’t get all my benches in, and I didn’t feel like I had my best day, but I’m glad how it turned out. The judging was a little stricter than I expected.” —Cerri Bradley, All-American
Freshman Hannah Oliver is a competitor that head coach Alex Campbell sees as having a bright future in the sport.
“Hannah is a tough competitor and she is in a good spot to maybe win it all next year,” he said. “It was a great experience for all the kids. The team finished outside the top five, but we expected to because we couldn’t fill all the weight classes. Some schools had more than one kid in each class, and that’s hard to compete against when you are giving away team points.”
Senior Chelsea Taylor finished 13th while sophomore Elisa Bird took home a third-place finish and had the second best dead lift in the competition and will move up to the varsity level next year.
“It’s much tougher to qualify at the varsity level but I know Bird can do it,” said Campbell.
Sophomore’s Chelsea Williams finished 12th, Whitney Guinn 11th and Shayler Keiffer 15th and all will have to re-qualify at the varsity level next season.
Oliver has already qualified for next year at the junior varsity level and is confident of herself and her ability to compete at the national level.
“I was pretty impressed by the whole thing,” Oliver said. “I was a little disappointed at how things are judged. Two of my lifts were disallowed by the judges, but I feel confident that I can compete at the national level. In fact, I know I can and that’s my goal for next year.
“I know those lifts were good and that’s all I need to remain confident. I’m proud of myself and the effort I gave and I am proud of the whole team.”
Oliver will return to the junior varsity level next year as a sophomore, and will be looking to bring home the gold.
“I thought her lifts were good, but the judging is extremely tough,” Campbell said. “You can’ sway the bar even the slightest bit. I thought Hannah did very well and she is disappointed more in how things are judged than in herself. She is a very confident kid and her attitude that tells me that she is a competitor.”
In one of the biggest meets of all time at the national level more than 440 participants took part and Campbell was proud of the effort his kids gave on the big stage.
“It was huge,” Campbell said. “I could not believe the level of competition and how many kids took part in it. This is a growing sport that not a lot of people know about, but it’s becoming more and more well known. Some of the schools that participated had double or triple the number we had. I’m just really proud of how hard these kids have worked.
“I would like to say thanks to Exalt Gym of Bluff City, who is a sponsor of our program. They help out with uniforms and we even hold some of our meets at their facility. It’s big and allows for more people to attend and they have been very supportive of our program.”