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Beljour brought home ‘the’ medal

Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 6:00 am

All-County Girls Weightlifting

Lifter of the Year: Virginie Beljour (OHS, Sr.)
All-county team: St. Cloud: Kaylin White, Essence Tornabene, Yohalil Aldana, Maria Sandoval, Kiana McCalmon. Liberty: Karla Fragoso, Kelly Benson, Amara Morales, Khadijah McClean, Destiny Washington, Juliaris “JuJu” Roman. Osceola: Ana Luciano. Harmony: Madison Ewen.

 

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

When you’re on the high school weightlifting team, the reason you’re lifting, nine times out of 10, is to enhance your conditioning for performance in another sport — football, basketball, or, in Virginie Beljour’s case, track.

Based on how she lifted in weight room the winter, it should be a pretty darn good spring on the track.

Beljour, a senior going into her final competitive season, went out with a bang on the platform in Panama City Beach on Jan. 26, when she won the state championship at 101 pounds.

News-Gazette photo/Ken Jackson
Virginie Beljour, who joined the Osceola weightlifting team three years ago as conditioning for the track team, captured the 101-pound Class 2A state title this year. Eric Pinellas coaches both girls weightlifting and girls track for Osceola.

Standing 4-foot-9 and weighing in at 93.8 pounds, she led the entire weight classes with her final bench press (135 pounds) and clean and jerk (150) to capture the gold medal by 15 pounds over another local, St. Cloud’s Kaylin White. Beljour hit all six of her lift attempts.

“I was confident but really nervous, I just trusted my training,” Beljour said, noting she started the state meet with a 140-pound clean and jerk, her personal best going in, then hit 145 and 150 to set new personal records. “Experience helped in not being nervous, I knew what to expect. I’m wasn’t having everyone drive up (to the Panhandle) and not get ‘the’ medal.”

While her hard work during the winter weightlifting season may show out during track season this spring, it was plenty enough to earn this year’s Osceola News-Gazette Girls Weightlifter of the Year honor.

“Nothing’s ever promised, I still work,” she said. “When coach said my second clean got me the state title I knew it wasn’t over. I didn’t really feel it and celebrate until I hit the last lift.”

Beljour’s diminutive size doesn’t reflect her drive and determination, which OHS girls weightlifting and track coach Eric Pinellas has seen for the last three seasons, watching Beljour outwork most of his athletes.

“It all came from hard work, she had no background in weightlifting or track before coming to me,” he said.

As one of the faces in the crowd in the OHS weight room, she was content to be part of the team until finishing seventh at last year’s state 2A meet, missing a medal by five pounds (125-125—250). Somewhere along the line, a champion was born,” Pinellas said.

“She came back and her determination to win the whole thing and her training went to a whole another level,” he said. “She didn’t just want to get through the workouts, she wanted to defeat the workout. All the while she was teaching the newbies all the proper technique.”

Beljour now wants to pounce in her track specialties, the 800 meters and anchoring the Kowboys’ 4×800 relay team.

“I want to be known as an athlete. I don’t want people thinking I care more about weightlifting than track because I won the state title,” she said. “I still work hard at track and stress about wanting to win.”

Pinellas feels confident that will come.

“Winning has taken her confidence level to a higher level,” he said. “This is the best year she’s had in practice, any workout we do now, she excels in.”

Probably because her excelling this year began in November in the weight room, not in February on the track.