Lifting opportunities: Packer sophomore wins big for new weight lifting program

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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There is a new way for Packer athletes to compete and it involves focus, form and a little bit of elbow grease.

Austin has introduced a weightlifting team this year and the program already had its first successful performance as sophomore Jerryth Fieldhouse won a JV state title in Cannon Falls this past weekend.

Austin sophomore Jerryth Fieldhouse recently won a JV state title weight lifting competition. Rocky Hulne/

Fieldhouse had a combined weight total of 183 kilograms, which was 23 kilograms higher than his previous best lifts in the state meet as he thrived in the spotlight. He maxed out on his third and final lift of the day to take home the little.

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“The other lifters were nice and it was a good type of excitement,” Fieldhouse said. “It was another day at the gym. It gave me adrenaline. The bar felt lighter to me over there and I think that was because of the adrenaline.”

Fieldhouse and Jacob Quitmeyer were the only members of the team this year, but Austin High School strength and conditioning coach Jacy Bodie said there have been a few more athletes approaching him about joining the team since the state meet.

Austin competed in one regular season meet this year, which is where Fieldhouse qualified for state.
“Jerryth really buckled down and competed this weekend,” Body said. “He was going to go two kilograms above his final opponent with his last weight, no matter what it was.”

Fieldhouse started lifting as a freshman and when he heard that Bodi was starting a team, he was quick to sign up and give it a shot.

Fieldhouse doesn’t compete in any other sports, but he finds weightlifting to be crucial for his mental health.

“It’s a way to ignore my problems. I can escape them through weightlifting,” Fieldhouse said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to more people coming in and trying it. It’s their choice.”

Bodi had always wanted to get a competitive weightlifting program going, but this was the first year that he had lifters show interest.

The difference between lifting to stay in shape and lifting competitively is that there are judges who look at the form of the lifter.

“You’re trying to impress them by the execution of the movements. You only get three attempts. Nobody judges you that hard in the weight room, so it makes it kind of a pressure situation,” Bodi said. “You can always go up, but you can’t go down on weight. If you miss your first lift, you might be wondering what’s wrong with your lift.”

Austin’s season is now over, but the program is just beginning. Bodi said he is expecting there to be as many as 20 athletes interested in competitive weightlifting next season.

“I think it will grow a lot. We’ve had multiple people ask about the team and when the next meet is,” Bodi said.