BY BRIAN BESCH
After totaling 1,230 pounds at the Texas High School State Meet in Corpus Christi, Livingston High School's Cheyenne Kennedy has won a state championship.
"I'm really excited," Kennedy said. "I wanted it to happen and it did happen, but I never thought it actually would. It's definitely a dream come true."
The senior lifter was able to squat 510 pounds, dead lifted 420, and had a bench press of 300.
Though she did not reach the state bench press record she desired, a first place finish in the lift was a nice consolation.
"I can't remember at the end how far the next girl was behind me, but after squat and bench press, I was 70 pounds ahead of her, Kennedy said. "She gained a lot on dead lift, so it made it really close."
The Lady Lion finished 40 pounds ahead of her closest competition, Lexi Harris of Cleburne. For the meet, Kennedy won Best Lifter, Best Bencher, and Best Squatter at the highest level of competition.
Livingston Athletic Director Brian Broussard said the accomplishment is one that will be a boost to the entire athletic department.
"It is fantastic and a great accomplishment for her," Broussard said. "Cheyenne has worked hard all year. It is a breath of fresh air for the entire athletic program. We really needed this and it is something that we can look to and build off of. It is an outstanding accomplishment for her and we could not be more proud of her. She definitely deserves it."
Kennedy said results are generally announced following the meet, but one of her biggest motivators keeps tabs on how the event is progressing.
"For me, Coach (Zach) Skinner keeps track of my lifts, whether or not I get them, and my competition's lifts," Kennedy said. "It tells me how far I am ahead of them or how close they are and I kept up with it throughout the whole meet."
Skinner, Livingston's head powerlifting coach, has been as dedicated as Kennedy to help her reach the sport's ultimate goal. For the past two months, Kennedy's employment has kept her from staying after school for workouts. To compensate, they are both in the weight room at 4 a.m. for workouts.
"He was telling me how all of my hard work has finally paid off and how he was so happy and proud of me," Kennedy said.
She also received support from a group she could be joining in the fall.
"Sam Houston had some lifters that came to the meet and was watching me lift," Kennedy said.
"Two of the lifters were down on the court where we were lifting and they kept me motivated and focused through the whole meet, as well as my coaches."
The Lady Lion said that she would decide between the University of Houston - Downtown and Sam Houston State University at a later date. She hopes to have a decision made by the end of the school year.