2009 USA National School Age Weightlifting Championship
When: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. today and Saturday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, Gainesville
Admission: $5, students free with valid ID
Web site: www.usaschoolage09.com
Robby and Megan Poole have a relationship unlike any other set of siblings.
For one, they actually get along, but more importantly the two motivate and support each other when they need it the most. That will come in handy when the two Chestatee High students compete in the 2009 USA National School Age Weightlifting Championship that gets underway today at the Georgia Mountains Center.
“I hope to see her get new records and blow the competition out of the water,” Robby Poole said. “She’s pretty much got first place by 30 kilos.”
If that’s the case, that will mean another national championship for Megan, who began lifting in 2008 at the behest of her brother and Chestatee football coach Stan Luttrell.
“My brother told me to do it because he thought I’d be strong,” said Megan, who won the 2008 title just three months after she started lifting.
While the elder sibling Robby has yet to win a national title, he was able to join his sister on the medal stand in May when they helped lead Chestatee to a boys and girls title and were named the best lifters at the 2009 Georgia Weightlifting Championships at Flowery Branch.
“Those two are the best kids at Chestatee and they happen to be brother and sister,” Luttrell said. “They’re very coachable and good kids. That’s why they’re good at what they do.”
Aside from weightlifting, the two also excel in their respective sports, Robby in football and Megan in cheerleading. It’s certainly commonplace for football players to lift weights, but Megan is the lone cheerleader at Chestatee to lift weights.
“It helps a lot in cheerleading because it makes you stronger in stunting and tumbling,” she said.
She may be the lone cheerleader competing in this weekend’s event, but Megan is one of nine female competitors vying for a national championship in her weight class.
“I hope to get a national championship and best lifter in the nation,” said Megan, who tore her ACL last fall while cheerleading. “If I don’t reach my expectations, I won’t feel good about the meet.”
In order to reach those goals, Megan will position herself close to her brother while lifting. The two say that staying in close proximity during the meet helps.
“We normally try and lift next to each other to help push each other,” Robby said.
Added Megan, “We always work beside each other. It helps each other stay strong.”
The closeness has always been there for the Pooles. Just two years apart, Robby and Megan spent their childhood paling around and trying to get away with things.
“We’ve always been close,” Robby said. “This is another thing that’s helped us bond and grow closer.”
“He’s like my best friend,” Megan added. “We always encourage each other to do better.”
That will be needed this weekend when Megan tries to defend her title and Robby tries to win his first national championship.
“I’m just trying to hit new personal records on each the snatch and the clean and jerk,” said Robby, whose personal records are 107 kg in snatch and 125 in clean and jerk. “I just want to get a better total and hope to get a second place medal.”
If he moves up in weight class, Megan thinks her big brother will have good chance to finish first.
“If he moves up to the 94 kg weight class, he might have a chance to win a national championship,” Megan said.
If he does win a title it won’t ease the pain if Megan fails to defend hers.
“That would make me kind of mad,” she said. “But I know it’s harder for boys to compete.”
Especially because the field of male competitors is much deeper than that of the female. There are 157 boys and 110 girls that will participate in an overall team competition as well as individual contests.
The Pooles are just two of the 56-member Team Georgia, which consists of students from Chestatee, North Hall, Flowery Branch and several other high schools and will be vying for a national title against Hassle Free Weightlifting of California and Team Florida.
“I think we’re going to have to lift well in order to have a chance to win,” Luttrell said.
Robby has a different take.
“We’re trying to win the whole competition this year,” he said.
And if Team Georgia does in fact win the meet, that will be just one more thing Robby and Megan Poole can say they have in common.