Carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders: Junior keeps positive attitude, strong work ethic to lead by example

While most high school sports are characterized by the cheering fans or screeching whistles, sports like powerlifting are often overshadowed. Powerlifting is a unique sport in which athletes compete in weightlifting competitions in the squat, bench, and deadlift. Junior Shelbie Walker is an example of a student athlete demonstrating her potential in the realm of powerlifting.

Shelbie began powerlifting during her sophomore year when coaches and friends felt she would be successful in the sport.

“I thought of trying powerlifting in eighth grade because my middle school coach thought I would do well in it. However, I didn’t participate when I first started high school,” Shelbie said. “My dad finally let me do it sophomore year, and other friends helped push me into it.”

Shelbie stands out as a powerlifter because she has a desire to work hard and put in the time needed to excel.

“Shelbie leads by example and always lends a helping hand whenever she sees someone who needs it,” junior teammate Kaywin McCall said. “She shows the younger members on our team how to work hard and never complains.”
While powerlifting can often be difficult and straining, Shelbie maintains a positive attitude in order to
keep her teammates motivated to reach their goals.

“Shelbie has gotten stronger and more confident since last year,” Kaywin said. “She’s setting personal records and has been a light on the team through her example and positive attitude.”
Not only does Shelbie strive to be successful herself, but she expresses an attitude that shows she cares about her teammates’ success.

“Shelbie’s teammates look up to her because she is the model of what a teammate should be,” coach Robert Jesurun said. “She takes more satisfaction in the success of others than her own.”

Shelbie illustrated her talent by attending the regional powerlifting meet last year as a newcomer to the sport and has also qualified for this year’s meet.

“When I competed at the regional power meet, it was intense,” Shelbie said. “It surprised me that I made it my first year in powerlifting because I figured there would be a lot more girls in my weight class since powerlifting is about bulking up and having muscle.”

In addition to balancing the intensity of competition, Shelbie has learned to balance her academics and other extracurricular activities.

“I think one of the most difficult parts of powerlifting is balancing it with school and athletic training,” Shelbie said. “There is so much conflict with timing and scheduling. I handle it by working on my time management skills and sacrificing some things for others. Powerlifting is worth the sacrifice because it helps me as an athlete and as a person.”

Shelbie has shown what hard work can accomplish as she continues to improve as the season goes on.

“Powerlifting has taught me to persevere and push through things, as well as facing conflict head first,” Shelbie said. “I have improved a lot as an athlete because I have already hit goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and I’m starting to hit my potential.”

Shelbie has proven to be successful in the sport by consistently reaching her weight maxes and working hard to set new goals.

“Some of my personal goals for powerlifting have been to hit certain weight maxes in my squat and deadlift,” Shelbie said. “One of my goals was 300 lbs on squat, which I’ve attempted but haven’t gotten yet, but I’m on my way to reaching that goal.”

Shelbie will further her accomplishments by attending the regional power meet for the second year in March.

“I have performed well for myself and for my team,” Shelbie said. “I have placed in the top three at every meet this season, and I’m going to be heading to regionals on March 3.”

While Shelbie may come across as a strong and intimidating athlete, she never fails to bring her contagious smile and enthusiasm to every practice and meet.

“Coaching Shelbie is wonderful. She always has a hug and a smile,” Jesurun said. She’s a great leader on the team, and I’m excited knowing she has another year to compete.”