All-County girls weightlifting
Lifter of the Year: Kaylin White (SCHS, Jr)
All-County team: St. Cloud: Maria Sandoval, Liana Torres-Rosario, Kiana McCalmon, Zayanna Henry. Celebration: Maya Cusumano. Osceola: Jaeda Ray, Alliann Johnson, Isabella Pancake, Jaylah Harris. Harmony: Madison Ewen. Liberty: Emalee Stephens.
Five feet tall and about 100 pounds. Those are the dimensions for a gymnast, or diver, capable of competing at a high level.
In some cases, that’s also the makings of a top-level high school weightlifter.
In Kaylin White’s case, three out of three ain’t bad.
The St. Cloud girls weightlifting star, despite a diminutive size, made her third trip to the Class 2A state meet this year, earning her second straight second-place medal. She was Orange Belt Conference, district and regional champion along the way.
As a sophomore she was second in 101 pounds to Osceola’s Virginie Beljour, and this year she bench pressed 145 pounds and clean-and-jerked 165, for a 310-pound total to again get second in an incredibly competitive 110-pound class. That 165-pound mark matched her school record, earned at 119 at the OBCs.
Despite hitting on all six of her lifts in both years, White said she’s still gritting her teeth a little bit about being runner-up a second time. Instead of looking back in anger, she’s looking ahead.
“I know I can work to get first place next year, and I’m already working toward it,” said White, the Osceola News-Gazette Girls Weightlifter of the Year.
White spent 10 years competing in gymnastics before the sport took its toll on her body and she stepped away. During that time she took up diving and has been a quick study — she was the Orange Belt Conference champion last fall.
After two years away from the gym, White said she realized it was too late to return to gymnastics, but needed another competitive outlet.
“I liked lifting weights for gymnastics, so I figured, ‘Why not do it competitively?,’” she said. “Gymnastics has its benefits toward weightlifting, flexibility and muscle groups.”
The rest of her spring and summer are dedicated to the club season with USA weightlifting. She’ll work with Coach Cory Aun, a fixture in both St. Cloud’s weight room and on the club circuit. He said White is “absolutely built for the sport.
“Competitive weightlifting is absolutely terrible if you really want to reach the pinnacle. Every sport uses weightlifting to get better and most probably don't like lifting,” he said. “It takes another level of dedication and attitude to do what Kaylin has done. She is an unrelenting force in the weight room. She easily could have made the 101-pound weight class for the state meet this year and won by a mile, but we decided to stay at 110 because we knew the competition would be a lot tougher.”
White, who hopes to bench 160 and clean 200 next year, admits to getting odd looks for doing what she does at her size.
“Oh yeah, I’ve gotten the looks, the questions,” She said. “Since I’m tiny, I get asked if I’m ‘on anything.’ But the successes outweigh all of that.
“I hear of girls say they’re too tiny, or they’re not cut out for the weight room, but everyone should give it a try.”