Molly Moore, Emma Eldridge, and Gage Garner earn championships

If you go to Norm’s Xtreme Fitness on any given Monday or Wednesday afternoon, you are likely to see a group of talented young weightlifters.

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREOGNIAN - Molly Moore completes a set of squats while Dean Munsey spots her. Moore along with Gage Garner and Emma Eldridge recently returned from the world championships in deadlifting and bench press where all three youth finished first in their age group weight class.

Under the tutelage of strength coach Dean Munsey, they are quickly making a name for themselves.

Molly Moore of Prineville, as well as Emma Eldridge and Gage Garner of Redmond, recently returned from the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters World Championships in Reno, Nev., where all three won world titles.

“It went great,” said Moore, who lifted a personal best of 203.7 pounds in the deadlift to win the 12-13, 105-pound and under age group. “I lifted the most weight I ever have, and, oh yeah, I got first place.”

Moore won her division despite being one of the youngest lifters in the competition. The 10-year-old has been lifting for less than a year, yet was still able to lift well over twice her weight.

Garner was also pleased with how the competition went.

“It was fun,” he said. “I got first place and I won a sword.”

Garner, 11, who weighs 80 pounds, competed in the 12-13-year-old 97-pound weight class, where he lifted 143.2 pounds. Like Moore, Garner has only been lifting for a few months.

Although both Moore and Garner had impressive performances at the championships, it was Eldridge who stole the LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Gage Garner practices his form on the dead lift during practice at Norm's Xtreme Fitness last Monday.

The 10-year-old set a world record in the deadlift, and an American record in the bench press. Competing in the 12-13-year-old 165-pound weight class, Eldridge lifted 243.2 pounds in the deadlift and 104.5 pounds in the bench press.

Each lifter is allowed three lifts in each event, with the highest successful lift being the only lift that counts.

However, they are allowed a fourth lift that does not count in the competition, and Eldridge made the most of it upping her world record to 248 pounds.

Although it was Eldridge who set the records, it was Moore who especially surprised Munsey.

“I was expecting them to do well, but I was kind of shocked at what Moore was able to do,” he said. “I thought that was going to be tough for her, but she made it look pretty smooth. I think they all did outstanding. When all three of them can come away with a personal best — that’s a good day.”

Munsey added that weight lifting is more about competing with yourself than about the other competitors.

“I mean there are other competitors," he said, "but if somebody is 50 pounds ahead of your best, you probably aren’t going to beat that person.”

All three lifters intend to continue competing and Munsey is recruiting anyone else who is interested in lifting.

“I want to expose people to a new sport — one they have never tried before,” he said. “Getting up there in front of an audience -- that’s a big change for some people. I have clients that compete in their age group, and I’ve got a client who is 86 years old. Anyone can do it.”

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