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Diana Gatlin keeps pushing

Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm

News-Gazette Photo/Donald Lamb  Celebration’s Diana Gatlin placed fourth at the state weightlifting meet at 101 pounds.

News-Gazette Photo/Donald Lamb
Celebration’s Diana Gatlin placed fourth at the state weightlifting meet at 101 pounds.

Lifter first to place at state meet for Storm
 Rick Pedone
Sports Editor
Diana Gatlin competed at a different school during the weightlifting season, but her results at the girls state weightlifting meet were better than ever.
Gatlin, a Celebration High senior, put together lifts of 125 pounds in the bench press and 135 in the clean and jerk for a total of 260 pounds, good enough for fourth place at the state meet at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
That topped the 120-125-245 total lift she produced as a junior at St. Cloud, when she placed sixth.
“I felt like I was making              progress,” Gatlin said. “I felt like I was getting better.”
Gatlin has been a multiple-sport standout throughout her high school career. She played volleyball, weightlifted and competed in track at St. Cloud, and she is      continuing her hectic athletic pace at Celebration.
“I couldn’t play volleyball at Celebration because I wasn’t eligible (because she transferred),” Gatlin said.
Lifting for Coach Joel Fox at Celebration, Gatlin became one of the team’s top athletes the moment she stepped into the Storm weight room.
“It’s a little different (than at St. Cloud). There are not as many machines here, so we do a lot more workouts with the hand weights,” she said.
Fox said it was a benefit to the Storm program to have a lifter of Gatlin’s talent in the weight room.
“We’re so proud of Diana for what she’s accomplished and it was great to have her as a member of the team,” Fox said.
Gatlin said she enjoyed competing against St. Cloud after she moved.
“I know those girls, so in a way, I almost felt like I was still part of their program,” she said.
St. Cloud lifting coach Lonnie Beckel said that he remains a fan of Gatlin’s.
“I wish she had never left our program, but that’s the way things turn out. I’m happy that she was able to place at the state meet again. I really enjoyed working with her,” Beckel said.
Gatlin said she may continue lifting now that her high school career has ended.
“Not so much with regular lifting, but more as a power lifter,” she said. “I might start working with (St. Cloud boys) Coach (Cory) Aun’s USA program,” she said.
Gatlin remains busy this spring competing in a variety of events for the Storm track team.
She runs the 300 low hurdles and competes in the high jump as well as the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
“I’m versatile. I’ve been doing (track) a long time, so I probably like that a little better,” she said.
Gatlin has attracted attention from several colleges and universities for both her weightlifting and track skills.
Among the options she is considering are Coffeyville, Kansas, Community College, a junior college track powerhouse, as well as Florida Atlantic University and Bethune-Cookman University.
She plans to study biology with the goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.