By DAVID GREEN
After a shaky start in her opening lift and a frustrating experience in her second event, Morenci junior Taylor Baugh knew what she needed to accomplish in the final lift.
She got the job done and Morenci had a new state champion at Michigan’s high school power lifting finals last weekend at Lake Orion.
Baugh was good on only one of three attempts in her opening event, the squat, and she recorded a 145-pound lift. In the bench, a judge called a foul in her second attempt, and she said she was quickly developing a foul attitude.
“So I sat down and talked with my family,” she said. “Then I walked around by myself and thought, ‘you can do this, you’re in third place, but dead lift is your thing, you always blow the other girls out of the water.’”
At this point, said coach Dan Hoffman, Baugh was 25 to 30 pounds below where he wanted her to be.
“I’m sure this set well with her competition since Taylor was the top seed going into the meet,” he said.
Her first attempt was at 215 pounds—sort of a warm-up—then she moved up to 230. Both were perfect lifts, Hoffman said. She decided to put it all on the line and go for a new state record.
She was the final lifter in her weight class and the bar was loaded with 245 pounds.
The crowd was cheering but she was able to push it aside.
“It was just me and the bar against gravity,” she said. “It was a little struggle, but with good form and grunting and with everyone cheering for me, I pulled my way through it and got it up,” Baugh said.
Another perfect lift.
Not only did she set a new state record for her weight class, she also became the champion of the 105-pound women’s varsity class.
Baugh wasn’t Morenci’s only lifter to place at the state meet.
In the 181-pound division, Katie Cox was in medal contention going into her final event.
“A solid attempt at 235 got it started,” Hoffman said, “then a tough but successful lift at 255 moved her forward.”
The junior went for a personal best at 265 and although she couldn’t quite make it, she still finished with a fourth-place medal.
Sophomore Makiha Lockwood (198) hit a personal best of 250 in the squat and finished at 125 in the bench. After the first round in the dead lift, her 290 pound lift moved her into second place.
“Then she hit a brick wall and was not able to lift 310 on her next two attempts,” Hoffman said.
She finished in third place and brought home her second consecutive state medal.
Chris Hinkley, a freshman, functioned with the precision of a Swiss clock, Coach Hoffman said. He advanced with each squat and finished with a personal record at 250 pounds.
The same thing happened in the bench as he worked his way to a personal record at 160. Hinkley did it one more time in the dead lift—three advances and a personal best at 315 for a third place medal.
“That made nine for nine on the day,” Hoffman said.
Malachi Hoffman was ready to compete in the 145-pound class when he sustained an injury in practice last week on a light day workout. The freshman will have to wait a year before he gets another opportunity.
“Our small town of Morenci was well represented by the efforts of our power lifters this year,” Coach Hoffman said. “People throughout the state recognize our kids as top-notch lifters. The improvements the kids have made are amazing. The hard work has certainly paid off.”
No one knows that better than Baugh.
“I’m so proud to be a part of a little team that comes from a very small town but has a big heart,” she said.
She now lists power lifting as her favorite sport—and, yes, it’s a sport for females.
“Girls can lift, too,” she says.