TEMPLE — For many athletes, powerlifting is the sport that prepares them for the primary sport.
For Chloe Lewis, it is the primary sport.
“Since in eighth grade, I wanted to be a powerlifter,” Lewis said matter-of-factly.
The fact that Lewis, a senior at Belton, loves the sport that is essentially offseason for most isn’t what makes her different, however.
Despite her dream to powerlift as an eighth-grader, Lewis didn’t compete until her junior year due to two surgeries on her right ankle.
But even then, Lewis wasn’t going to let that stop her from being part of the team in the meantime.
“My freshman and sophomore year, I came to different meets just to see the atmosphere, what was going on,” she said. “I really enjoyed it. It’s just a bunch of girls gaining confidence.
“Nobody cares what they look like in these really tight suits, and so it’s just a lot of fun like that.”
Once healthy, Lewis made up for lost time last season, making it all the
way to state as a junior with personal records of 360 pounds in the squat, 205 pounds in the bench press and 375 pounds in the dead lift.
After having to wait two years to compete in the sport she loves, and surgeries to repair the bone and ligaments in her ankle, Lewis said the joy of competing at state was worth the wait.
“That was a just a mind-blowing experience,” Lewis said. “I’ll never forget it. I was gaining confidence in myself, and (it) helped me with shot put and stuff. “
Belton girls coach Jason Moffett said Lewis is one of his hardest workers, and in his first year as the girls coach, it is clear that Lewis making state was no accident.
What else is clear about Lewis is that she was raised that way, which is not surprising considering her father, Charlie, is the Tigers’ head boys basketball coach.
“He sets a high standard and has done a great job of raising her,” Moffett said.
“And I think from an early age she’s just known, ‘I work and I work hard and I don’t make excuses.’ And I think that’s an advantage she has over a lot of kids.”
Chloe said her father has always helped her out, and at the Tiger Invitational on Saturday he was front and center for each of her lifts, recording the entire time.
Yet just as she was relishing her first taste of competition last year, Lewis is now relishing her final season of high school competition this year.
But Lewis said knowing the team is in good hands and the fact that she plans to lift in college makes knowing this is her last season easier to deal with.
“I’m kind of sad because I’ve only got to do two years of it,” Lewis said.
“But because it’s such a great experience and I know we have a young team this year, I just feel like it’s my opportunity, my job, to raise them up to love this sport and just to do really good.”
That is because powerlifting isn’t just offseason to Lewis.
It is a passion — one she doesn’t take for granted after having to wait to enjoy it.