Owen Shedlock, Sports Editor

Gracie Rice is an eighth grade weightlifter at Bellwood-Antis. Her hard work has paid off as she just qualified for nationals for girls weightlifting.

As a national qualifier in the intimidating sport, Gracie is a perfect fit for this weeks Athlete of the Week.

Weightlifting is undoubtedly a male dominated sport. USA Weightlifting reported that the regular competition ratio of men to women is 4-1. Not only that but the average age for weightlifting is 35. This does not stop Gracie, a motivated young girl.

Gracie began her weightlifting journey at Dorman’s Sport Performance. Her uncle, Fred Dorman, encouraged her to start, which ultimately led to her love and dedication for the sport.

To qualify for nationals, Gracie had to complete the USAW online qualifier. She had to hit a certain total with a combination of her heaviest snatch, clean, and jerk to qualify based on her age and body weight.

Out of all the lifts Gracie does, her favorite is the clean. She has set the bar high for herself heading into nationals.

Weightlifting meets are currently being held virtually, which creates issues for Gracie and her trainer. She explains that she must scan the plates, and film her lifts from different angles to allow judges to determine her score.

“My goal is to hit all my lifts going 6 for 6 and place top 10-20 in my age group,” Gracie said.

Nationals will be held in Atlanta, Georgia this year.

Aside from weightlifting, Gracie plays volleyball and basketball. Next year she’ll move up to the JV/Varsity level.

Gracie is a talented athlete and her future with sports looks bright. The BluePrint wishes Gracie the best of luck at nationals.