How does an itty bitty girl become a champion power lifter? More importantly, why?
These were just the beginning of questions I had for Kailee Hansmire this week when I sat down to interview her about her recent state championship win in the 105 class power lifting contest, held in Austin, Texas as well as her AAU National Contest win this past weekend in McKinney, a stepping stone on the way to the World Contest which will be held this next October in Las Vegas.
“I guess the reason I got into power lifting was that I decided to quit basketball my freshman year, but I wanted to keep running and cheering,” Kailee began. “When I finished cross country that year, I wanted to stay in shape for track. Since I’ve always gone to the weight room with my dad, I started thinking lifting myself. Plus, I thought it would really help me with my gymnastics because I want to cheer in college, and I have to be great at that to get there!
“During my senior year, I will go to various schools to tryout for cheerleader. I have to be sharp in tumbling, stunts, and dances. Power lifting will make me stronger in these competitions.”
So that’s the why, but it didn’t answer my questions about the power lifting itself.
“I’m in the 105 weight class. It’s for lifters who weigh from 98-105 pounds. I weigh 105,” the petite teen told me with a grin.
Of course, that means that she can’t gain a pound without changing her weight class.
“Each meet consists of three competitions: squats, bench press, and dead lift. My favorite is the dead lift. Competitors have to wear a special suit and knee and wrist wraps, but no spandex. Spandex will get you disqualified.
“Each lift is done in front of three judges, and you want to see at least two green lights at the end of each lift. That means you have a good lift. On the first lift of each contest, you want to choose a pound that you are positive you can get. On the second lift in that same contest, you want to lift what you think is your max, and then on the third lift, choose something that is beyond your max, but still reasonable.
“With three contests, everyone gets a total of nine lifts. The winner is the one who gets the most combined pounds out of the best three lifts in each contest.
“The reason I like it is because I don’t have to depend on anyone else…just me and the bar so it is up to me whether I succeed or not.”
Okay, all of that sounded really positive up until this point, but I had to know. “What’s the bad in all of this?”
“Well, I do have to watch what I eat to stay in my weight class, and to compete well, I need to be sure I stay there. That’s not always fun. Then, there are the suits. They are so tight that they leave me with bruising and marks before each contest is over. That is very uncomfortable.”
All I can say about that is that it must not be too awful. Kailee entered a total of five contests this year, and she won all five, with the last two being the state meet and then the AAU National Meet.
“I’m in what is called the light lifters class, and I received the best light lifter award in four meets this year. Light lifters range in weight from less than 97 pounds up to 148 pounds.”
So how much can she lift? I’ve listed the totals of her last meet below.
Dead Lift- 285, which was 15 pounds shy of her state lift; however, it was enough for Kailee to bring home the gold, thus punching her ticket for Vegas, Baby!
And my final question was simple.
“Have you maxed?”
“No! That I know for sure!”
From the absolute determined look in her eyes, I would have to say that I know it for sure also. Kailee Hansmire has positively not lifted her max yet!”