Abigail and Julianna Beltz are each other’s personal cheerleaders.
The sisters, ages 15 and 17, have been powerlifting since they were in middle school and have grown to love the sport and compete together. Julianna had suffered a fractured femur and starting powerlifting in addition to her rehabilitation routine. Abigail followed suit and the duo has participated in four meets total.
Julianna, a junior at Westminster High School, was named the top lifter on the girls side at the sixth annual Carroll County High School Powerlifting Meet Saturday at Winters Mill. Her combined lifts between squat, bench press, and dead lift totaled 700.6 pounds. Abigail totaled 640 pounds and took first in the 165-pound weight class.
“It’s important to do this with family because it’s very much an individual sport, but having your coaches and family, your friends, and especially having my sister here is great,” Julianna said. “If she’s going up for an attempt, it might be more than me but I wish the best for her, I want that for her, it’s awesome.
“We’re different ages and different weight classes so we are competing against each other in walks but in our separate ways. Having her here is definitely awesome.”
Julianna hit a personal record in the bench press and set records for each attempt as well. She set another record in the deadlift and currently holds two Maryland records in bench press for weight class (132) and two age groups.
She failed on her final attempt at deadlift, but said making the attempt and having fun matters most.
Abigail, a Westminster sophomore, squatted 260 pounds on her second try and attempted 275 on her third, but didn’t make it. Julianna said Abigail would have set an American record if she had hit 275 for that age and weight class.
No matter, Abigail already holds seven Maryland state records — squats, bench, deadlift and total for her age and weight class (165), including squat, deadlift and total for the same weight class but in the age group above her.
“It’s a whole different world than just lifting versus actually competing because you have to make sure everything is perfect,” Abigail said. “You don’t want to psych yourself out because it’s a total mental game. I psyched myself out so bad in my first meet and that cost me because I failed my deadlift when I totally had it.”
The girls train at Westminster Strength and Conditioning under the guidance of Steve Barker, Beau Bryant, and Eric Shugars. Bryant opened the business in 2010, Barker and Shugars joined the staff and together they train local high school athletes.
“We wouldn’t be here without them,” Julianna said. “They give us that push, that confidence to do this, especially as females. No one is confident in doing this in front of a bunch of people at first and it’s not the common theme to be strong, big women. Everyone wants to be skinny, so we say ‘Strong, not skinny.’ “
Mikayla Reed was the other girls’ champ (148-pound class, 535 total pounds).
Winters Mill senior wins top boys honor
Nathan Martin has been powerlifting for about six years and he took home the top boys honor at the meet with a total weight of 1,340 pounds (540 squat, 525 deadlift, 275 bench).
Martin broke two high school records Saturday, a county record for his weight class (220) in the back squat and a meet record.
“Everyone is really nice and it’s like a family,” Martin said. “No one is like ‘Oh, he beat me’ and it’s nice to have something to work towards. It gives you motivation to be here.”
Hunter Anderson, 19, attended South Carroll is currently a student in the post-secondary program at Carroll Springs School. He donned a black and gray shirt with the words “RESPECT” spelled out in capital letters at the meet.
Anderson finished third in the 148-pound weight class with a total weight of 635 pounds and broke two high school records in the process.
“Everybody is very nice to me and I have good coaches and friends,” Anderson said. “I’ve never been beat before and I never give up. When you give up you're ruining yourself every day.”
Anderson started powerlifting two years ago and worked out with the Cavaliers’ football team as well. He competed in a Special Olympics Powerlifting meet last year and participated in the Carroll County meet.
“Hunter always does a great job,” Barker said. “He’s always really positive and confident and comes in and says he’s going to do well. I always have such a great time with Hunter and it’s a very fulfilling experience to help him out. His family is wonderfully nice and it’s a lot of fun all around.”
Others boys champions were William Kranzler (132-pound class, 665 total pounds), Nicholas Hoff (148, 785), Connor Bittner (165, 920), Sebastian Sanchez (181, 1,090), Nicholas Bloch (198, 990), and Ben Blum (275, 1,065).