Islander muscles way into national powerlifting meet

Sherry Phay displayed both her strength and quickness while winning her division in the Sleighin’ Weights powerlifting meet Saturday at Dungeon Fitness in Bremerton.

That effort qualified Phay for the United States Powerlifting Association national championships in June at Charleston, Va.

Saturday, Phay first flexed her power.

Competing in the 40-44 age group at 82.5kgs, Phay put up 112.5kgs in the back squat, 77.5kgs in the bench and 137.5kgs in the deadlift for a total of 327.5kgs.

Each surpassed the Class II national qualifying marks (110.5, 72.5, 125; 307.5).

Then came her speed.

Phay qualified for the national meet last year but the competition was full by the time she submitted her entry.

“That was pretty disappointing,” Phay said. “But on the plus side, the sport is growing in popularity, (which is) a good thing.

“Needless to say, I learned my lesson and am planning my meets with, hopefully, a large lead time to the event.

“That being said, they’ve already opened up registration for nationals in June, (and) I was literally registering for nationals before the awards ceremony at the end of this meet to secure my spot.”

Phay, who lives in Greenbank, began lifting four years ago but didn’t concentrate on powerlifting until February 2016.

In her first competition in May 2016, she set several state records and improved on those marks seven months later.

Phay still holds the records in all three lifts in both the 82.5 and 90kgs weight classes.

Phay took this past summer off, so she didn’t improve on those marks Saturday but is aiming to eclipse them in a meet in April.

Phay trains at her own gym and coaches other lifters through Greenbank Strength and Performance.

At the competitions, which feature age divisions from teenagers up to 60-plus, lifters hoist their heaviest weights on the barbell.

Each athlete is given three opportunities to perform each lift successfully.

Each lift is judged for racking and unracking the barbell, showing control of barbell movement, reaching depth and finishing form at the end of the lift.

Sherry Phay lifts her way to a win in the back squat. (Submitted photo)

Sherry Phay lifts her way to a win in the back squat. (Submitted photo)

Sherry Phay qualifies for the national meet with the help of this effort in the deadlift. (Submitted photo)

Sherry Phay qualifies for the national meet with the help of this effort in the deadlift. (Submitted photo)

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