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Fort Knox -- FKHS lifters take home national titles

by Seth Lamar, Gold Standard Sports Editor

The Gold Standard
Fort Knox, KY | April 19, 2013

| Photo: Debroah Hibberd

  There are many misconceptions about competitive weightlifting, but the young lifters at Fort Knox High School are proving many of them false.When most folks think of weightlifting, they think of a sport comprised of nothing but hulking men. 
  At Knox, this is not the case.The FKHS power lifting team is comprised mostly of girls in what has become coach Conrad Garcia's most talented squad since he arrived at Knox. Earlier this month, Knox made its presence felt on the national level at the Natural Athlete Strength Association's biggest meet.Led by seniors De'My'Ja Holmes and Ashlee Kohler, the FKHS lifters traveled to Oklahoma City April 6-7 for the 30th Annual High School Nationals, where the team took home eight team trophies.
  For the third year in a row, Holmes took home top honors at the national meet and has now earned a place in NASA history as the only lifter to win four belts. The Knox senior has made an impact in the weight room, but is quick to point out the success of the entire team.
  "Every girl from our team won at least one first place trophy in her division so we won in all eight of the weight classes," Holmes said. "I won the Most Outstanding Lifter Award and our team won the Ultimate Team Award, All-Star Team Award and the Combined Unequipped Team Award."This year marked the third year Holmes traveled to the national meet and for the third year in a row, she took her place atop the first-place podium."I've won the same awards every year, so every year I've taken the whole meet," she said.
  Holmes competed in the 181-pound class this year and has always known she was strong, but was hesitant to join the team three years ago. The misconceptions surrounding the sport meant Garcia and others needed to convince her to give the sport a shot.
  "Actually, Sgt. Garcia would stop me in the hallway and ask me each day, but I wasn't very into it since it seemed like such a manly sport," she said.It wouldn't be until her brother joined the team that she would give competitive weight lifting a shot."I gave it a shot and I found out I was a natural at it and I've stuck with it ever since," Holmes said.
  Holmes' fellow senior Kohler, also made a splash at nationals by winning her class in the power lifting and power sports events while taking third in the bench press."The experience is always fun and a big eye-opener," she said. 
  "It was a good experience to have competition, knowing your competition, knowing you can beat people and that there's the chance people can beat you. It drives you to do your best."


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