For the first time in Woodward Academy history there is a coed Powerlifting team. This team is already breaking records and setting new standards for teams to come. They earned 1st place Best Equipped Coed Team at the Capital City Clash in Lincoln, Nebraska in February. Makaiah Baumgart is one of the first Woodward Academy female powerlifters to set records and make history. Makaiah competes in squats, bench press, and dead lift. She set her records squatting 265lbs, benching 140lbs, and dead lifting 265lbs. When Makaiah first came to the Academy she had never lifted weights or even heard of Powerlifting as a sport. Her Program Director on her dorm, Mr. Rives, saw her determination and thought she would be a good addition to the powerlifting team. Makaiah’s hard work paid off in practice and she saw results at the two meets she participated in, earning 1st place gold medals at both. To Makaiah powerlifting is more than a sport, it is a coping skill. Alongside her teammates and coaches she puts everything she has into her practice and meets. Powerlifting is a tough mental sport as much as it is a challenge physically. The team often has long practices and make sure to push each other through the pain.
Makaiah said, “I never knew I’d be on the powerlifting team before attending
Woodward Academy. I never cared about anything. I always quit and I never believed in myself. My coaches, especially Mr. Rives, kept me going even when I did not want to. Mr. Rives never let me quit my program, on the dorm, in school, or in Powerlifting, My teammates were there motivating one another and encouraging me, they made me believe in myself. It took tears, determination, commitment, blood, smashed fingers, sweat, and hard work to even qualify for Nationals. When I qualified for Nationals I was just satisfied with qualifying, but Mr. Rives didn’t let us just be satisfied with qualifying. He made it clear we had so much more we could do before we could be considered to be the best in the Nation. If that meant 600 reps of squats and 600 reps of bench and stairs, that is what it meant. We put in 2-4 hours a day of hard work, sacrificing and pushing through the pain. There were days I just wanted to give up but we push each other through every second, every minute, every hour, and every challenge. After we qualified we went to Nebraska to compete against adult National Qualifiers. All 11 of us placed between 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. All 4 of us female lifters received 1st place medals. It means a lot to be one of the participants qualifying for Nationals and representing Woodward Academy and my Knight’s Club. When looking back on this experience I’m reminded of one of our favorite quotes that we say in the gym, “We work for it, others wish for it.”
Makaiah and her teammates will travel to Appleton, Wisconsin to compete at the 2018 Powerlifting Nationals in March. Woodward Academy’s Powerlifting Team is 12 time National Champions, hoping to make it 13 this year and be Woodward’s first coed National Champions.