Havvy Ehrich wins bench press gold at worlds
One of Canby's own is a medalist on an international level, and all before exiting high school.
Canby junior Havvy Ehrich recently made the trip to Helsingborg, Sweden to compete against the world's top lifters in the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) 7th World Women's Classic Championships. Once there, Ehrich laid claim to a bronze medal overall, which included a gold medal in the bench press.
This trip to the IPF world championships was Ehrich's first trip to this sort of stage, and she did not miss the opportunity to see any sights while she competed abroad. In Sweden, her sightseeing was limited but after the competition was said and done Ehrich was able to travel to Denmark and explore the area.
"I like Denmark, it's very interesting," Ehrich said over the phone, across the time zones. "There are bikes everywhere, people are riding them up and down the street, there are packs of people and I've never seen anything like that. So that's really interesting to see. But I think I like Sweden better. It's cleaner, more old-looking, like older European."
While Sweden was more aesthetically pleasing, Ehrich spent a good portion of her time preparing herself for the competition against the best lifters in the 72 kilogram weight class. Weight lifters from France, Ukraine, Russia, Japan, and Canada kept her on her toes at all times. Behind the competition stage, there was no fraternization between the athletes. Everyone was there for the business of lifting.
"Competition day, everybody is in the back warming up and doing their thing," Ehrich said. "They've all got headphones on and we're all focused. The only people I really interacted with back there were the team USA, my friends there."
Ehrich did what all of her competition did heading into the worlds, dropping the amount of reps and upping the weight, getting ready for the single rep competition style. The process began five weeks out, and everything was going well until Ehrich injured her back.
"It was really bad, well, not really bad, but I was doing a dead lift and my muscles were so tight that it kind of messed up my lower back, which was really unfortunate," Ehrich said. "That was three weeks away from the competition, and it prevented me from squatting and deadlifting anything heavy. That definitely affected my performance at the competition, but you live and you learn right?"
In spite of the injury to her back heading into the competition, Ehrich still managed to get second place in the dead lift, trailing only France's Clara Peyraud. While her squat performance wasn't as strong as she would have liked (she finished sixth overall), she did claim gold in the bench press.
"At first I was definitely disappointed," Ehrich said. "I was glad I had the experience, and I think that's really a big part for me. The experience of talking with all of these other lifters and seeing how everything goes down, gathering that, it was good and I'm thankful for that. But my lifts…it was just…I wasn't too happy with them. I'm thankful I got bench press gold and bronze overall because a lot of lifters that go to worlds don't get a medal at all. I'm very thankful that I got something to walk away with. But for me, I've got really high expectations, so when I don't meet those expectations, I get down on myself a lot."
With the expectations of future improvement and better, heavier lifting, Ehrich is looking forward to not only competing in the world championships next year in Belarus. She's also looking forward to competing in domestic tournaments against other American lifters. With a newfound community of weight lifters and a fancy French t-shirt from a fellow competitor, the future looks bright for the 17-year old lifter.
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