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Havre de Grace alum Kateri Peters may just lift herself to an Olympic games

Kateri Peters of Aberdeen goes through a training workout at her mom's gym, The Fitness Center of Havre de Grace, Tuesday afternoon. Peters is an Olympic lifter with hopes for a chance at the Olympic games in the future.
Kateri Peters of Aberdeen goes through a training workout at her mom's gym, The Fitness Center of Havre de Grace, Tuesday afternoon. Peters is an Olympic lifter with hopes for a chance at the Olympic games in the future. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

College graduation is a big moment for any student after putting in two, four or more years of hard work.

For Kateri Peters, though, some harder, or should we say heavier work, is laying ahead.

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Peters, who will graduate May 29 from Wesley College in Delaware, will do so with an exercise science degree. Perfect for a young woman who lives for fitness, weightlifting and all that encompasses.

Peters, a 2015 graduate of Havre de Grace High School and Aberdeen resident, is an Olympic weightlifter with an eye on an bright future and it all seemed to start that freshman year in high school.

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“The very beginning was my freshman year. During that time I got involved in Get Fit-Boot Camp of Harford County and they introduced me to agility, sports performance and also weightlifting. That’s when I got really into powerlifting. That’s when I really started to develop a love generally of just exercise and fitness. That just kept to leading to more, to finding other things that I really liked,” Peters said.

Powerlifting became the real focus.

“I think initially the powerlifting, it was so, I guess I was drawn to it because it was something that I naturally had, I was just naturally good at it. All my life I was apt to being strong and so to be able to capitalize on that, was very beneficial and was very satisfying to be able to see success in it.”

And she had success, rather quickly.

“I think it was my first powerlifting meet, I was able to get three world records, which was obviously, really exciting,” she said. “After that, I felt like I was good at it, I felt like I could help others with it. It just felt like it was where I was supposed to be.”

Kateri Peters of Aberdeen goes through a training work-out at her mom's gym, The Fitness Center of Havre de Grace Tuesday afternoon. Peters is an Olympic lifter with hopes for a chance at the Olympic games in the future.
Kateri Peters of Aberdeen goes through a training work-out at her mom's gym, The Fitness Center of Havre de Grace Tuesday afternoon. Peters is an Olympic lifter with hopes for a chance at the Olympic games in the future. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Powerlifting is done in three forms. The dead lift, back squats and bench press. At the start, Peters had a 305-pound dead lift; 345 pound back squat; and a 245-pound bench press.

The powerlifting went on for three years and the weights mostly went up. The dead lift was 335 pounds; squats stayed steady at 345 pounds and the bench press rose 55 pounds to 300 pounds.

Even with the improvements and successes, Peters moved on.

“From powerlifting, I got interested in CrossFit, because of the modality of it and how intense, it’s all encompassing,” she said. “Since CrossFit had such an emphasis on Olympic lifting, I got to get better at it and I realized I could be, I could potentially be good at it.”

Apparently she was right.

“Olympic lifting just kind of took flight for me and now it’s definitely something that I want to keep doing and I think I could be potentially pretty good at it,” Peters said. Olympic lifting is comprised of the snatch and clean and jerk.

She does have a coach in Baltimore in Jason Morstein of BASA gym. “His goal for me is the 2024 Olympics. It’s essentially a four-year plan," Peters said.

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So, some 5-6 months ago, Peters did her first Olympic lifting competition with two months of training. “Two months of intense Olympic training and I unexpectedly qualify for American Open finals,” she said.

Peters then went to the Open and qualified for nationals. That event was scheduled for this month, but obviously canceled due to Covid-19. “I was training for nationals, but it got canceled into December,” Peters said. “Now, I have a lot more time to train for it, which is kind of good.” The nationals are to be held in Georgia.

Covid-19 has also forced Peters to alter her workout schedule. Her routines have been forced inside a garage at her boyfriends house in Delaware and for the ‘heavy’ days, she will come to Havre de Grace and lift in her mother’s gym, The Fitness Center of Havre de Grace.

A sign on the window of the Fitness Center of Havre de Grace where Kateri Peters of Aberdeen goes through a training work-out Tuesday afternoon. Peters is an Olympic lifter with hopes for a chance at the Olympic games in the future.
A sign on the window of the Fitness Center of Havre de Grace where Kateri Peters of Aberdeen goes through a training work-out Tuesday afternoon. Peters is an Olympic lifter with hopes for a chance at the Olympic games in the future. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Currently, in Olympic lifting, Peters, who competes at 167-pounds, snatches 200 pounds and her clean and jerk total is 255 pounds.

“The goal is multi-faceted. Obviously the main goal is potentially, to one day go to the Olympics, be there on the stage. Everything that I learned doing this and from competing is directly correlated to my career,” Peters said.

Peters is a CrossFit coach at her home gym in Delaware. “So everything that I’ve learned, when it comes to my fitness, whether that be Olympic lifting, powerlifting, whatever it is, I can use that information,” she said. “What I had to do to get through it and the things that helped me, I can use that as information for my numbers and the people who walk through the door seeking the same information that I was at one point.”

Peters is very realistic about the future, her future. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re doing powerlifting, Olympic lifting, if you’re just trying to get through college, there’s a certain tenacity and work ethic that is required. I want to be able to instill in some of my members because it’s so rewarding to push yourself like that and you can’t do it alone,” Peters said. “Regardless if I get to the Olympics or not, I’m just gathering a ton of information that’s only going to enable me to help people in my career.”

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