On the Road: Navarre HS girl weightlifters


Some high school girls in Northwest Florida are throwing their weight around… and that’s a GOOD thing! The Navarre High School award-winning girls’ weightlifting team is demonstrating how lifting weights is not just about building muscles, it’s about building leaders.

The girls’ weightlifting class at Navarre High School is loud, competitive, and ferocious. And it is for girls only, which team member Savannah Bitley says causes some people to do a double take.

“They’re like.. a girl? A girl weightlifter? How much do you weigh? 110. How much do you lift? Bench 160, Clean and Jerk 140,” said Savannah with a smile.

Savannah and her Navarre High School teammates are this year’s Florida high school girls’ weightlifting state champions, complete with gold medals and championship rings. And, it’s the fourth year in a row they’ve claimed the title.

Coach Garrett Bagley says the tenacity of the girls was surprising in the beginning. “The style and the method that they use to pursue is extremely aggressive and it caught me off guard at first,” said Bagley.

That aggression, combined with dedication and hard work, makes these girls winners in a sport that is not just about the weights. It’s about developing discipline, character, confidence, and leadership, said Bagley.

“It’s also about determination, mental and physical toughness. Some girls come in never thinking about leading, but by the time they are seniors, they’re amazing leaders,” Bagley said.

Team member Amaya Clark says it’s also about confidence. “There’s a lot of accreditation you get in weightlifting that makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel like you’ve found your place in high school, which can be hard to do,” said Clark.

And, then there’s… the sisterhood.

“If you see somebody struggling with a lift, you go over there and you grab the whole classroom and you cheer that person on!” said Amaya.

So, with lots of cheering and encouragement, I was convinced to give weightlifting a try…

The phrase “one more” rings throughout the weight room. What does it mean?

“One more means don’t quit, don’t give up, keep pushing yourself,” said Amaya.

Savannah added, “In the moment, you’re like, “I don’t want to do this, but you know if you keep on, it will be worth it.”

“Weighty” advice— that we should all exercise.

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