When I think about powerlifting, I imagine massive individuals. Honestly, I think most people do if they don’t know much about the sport…like me. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit with Wylie powerlifters Brylee Ross and Landry Carlton to learn more about the sport, why they have invested three years into it, and the records each one holds.
Both seniors added powerlifting to their list of activities in their sophomore year despite being very involved in many other extra-curricular activities. However, why they began lifting varies.
Ross decided to join powerlifting because of the time she spent with her dad in the gym. “I started going to the gym with my dad in junior high,” said Ross. “I liked lifting and getting stronger.”
Today, Ross said she pushes herself to see how strong she can be. And strong she is – Ross is the first female powerlifter for Wylie to medal in a state meet, placing fifth in her weight class (97 lbs.)
When I asked Ross to explain the sport, she gave me an answer I wasn’t expecting. While the sport itself requires a lifter to complete three different types of lifts – bench press, squats, and deadlift — and combines them for a total weight to get a final score, Ross’s initial response was environment focused. “It’s very encouraging, super motivating, exciting, and fun.” She explained further that meets are very community-centered and that fans cheer for whoever is lifting rather than just for their own athletes.
Ross has enjoyed the sport so much she will compete at the collegiate level when she heads to Nebraska in the fall to attend Midland University.
Along with Ross, Carlton had a great state meet. He now holds the state record in his weight class (148 lbs.) for the highest weight squatted, maxing out at 650 pounds. Not bad for someone who initially felt powerlifting would be a great way to prepare for the football season. Carlton rushed for more than 1,050 yards during this past football season and attributes being strong on the football field to his time dedicated to powerlifting.
Carlton said powerlifting is a sport you really can’t cut corners on because the workout itself is the sport. “The biggest challenge is working out on days you are not motivated on, but doing it anyway,” said Carlton.
Carlton said the process of lifting can be grueling, but achieving your personal best or lifting a new weight is well worth the effort. “It may not be fun in the moment but pushing against adversity to get end results is when the work pays off.”
As for me thinking powerlifters need to be massive in size to be successful. Well, Ross and Carlton very much corrected my misperception as neither fits my stereotypical mold. Carlton said it best, “Being naturally strong helps, but the drive to be successful is a choice.”
By Kristen Johnson