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Meaghan Strey: Pushing Past the Pain to Become a Champion

Meaghan Strey, a senior at Tahoma High School, is getting ready for the competition of a lifetime. When looking at Strey, you likely see a typical 17-year-old.  But after just a few short minutes of watching her practice, it is easy to see she is a BEAST!

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Courtesy photo, Meaghan Strey

Strey began as a gymnast at age 10, after watching the 2012 Olympics. She started at Summit Gymnastics, then went to Peak Gymnastics in Enumclaw, and finally ended at Auburn Gymnastics. Strey‘s favorite event in gymnastics was the vault.  It was during this event where she ultimately experienced her gymnastics career-ending injury.

An over-rotation on a vault jump caused Strey’s neck to break in March 2018. It took almost a full year for her to recover. After recovering, Strey began training in weightlifting. Before, she would say, “I don’t want to lift anything heavy, or my knees will hurt.” But eventually, Strey overcame it all and began training at Alpha Barbell. She has been working with her.  She began working with her weightlifting coach Kevin Simons since June 2018.

For a teenage weightlifter who has only been lifting for under two years, Strey is checking off some major points on her bucket list. She has made the national team and made it to the Junior World Championship by winning Bronze at the Junior National Championship.  The Junior World Championships are next month in Romania.

Training at Alpha Barbell

Walking into Alpha Barbell, you immediately feel the close family environment.  Strey spends over twenty-one hours there weekly, so it’s easy to understand the close bonds of the gym.

Strey admits the demanding schedule was difficult at first.  When her friends would ask to hang out, she wouldn’t always be able to go and had to tell them she had practice. But it didn’t take long for her friends to become her fans and support her. Her mom is also very supportive of Strey and all that she does.  “My biggest role model is probably my mom because she always puts others before herself and works very hard,” said Strey.

Simons described Strey as determined, tenacious, and disciplined.   He shared that she does all of the little things it takes to be a champion. To Simons that includes working hard in the gym, but also handling the small details like meal prepping, and accessory work.  These things aren’t fun or glorious but are essential to becoming a champion. According to Simons, Strey’s methodical approach to the training process speaks a maturity beyond her years.

“…determined, tenacious, and disciplined.”

“She has progressed remarkably quickly in the sport. She has the youngest training age of anyone on the Junior World team by a factor of two or more,” said Simons. “To reach the top of any sport requires a genetic gift. Besides her innate ability, though, she also is fortunate to come from a gymnastics background. Weightlifting is an athletic, technical sport. The general athleticism, balance, and coordination developed through years of practice in gymnastics translated well into her current sport. Probably even more important, though, is the work ethic instilled in her from years of gymnastics training. If I could tell her one thing when she reads this, it would be to trust the training process and not get down on herself. I want her to have faith in herself and her preparation. I definitely do.”

Strey often finds herself getting in her own head.  Though she holds herself back, she but finds the will to push through and has been able to succeed. She has never felt like walking away from weightlifting.

You can cheer Strey on as she competes in Romania March 14-21!

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