News Post

Six Powerlifters Compete in State Championships

In just its third year in existence, the St. Joseph’s Academy powerlifting team qualified six members for the LHSAA Powerlifting State Championships, held March 20-23 at the Cajundome in Lafayette. 

Competitors and order of finish in their respective weight classes were Nola Savoie, seventh place; Mackenzie O’Brien, ninth place; Paityn Delaughter, ninth place; Madison Plauché, seventh place; Mia Demouy, eighth place; and Audrey Lieux, seventh place.

Coach Matt Shelton expressed immense pride in his lifters, “not only Saturday, but all season long. We brought more girls than we ever have to the state championship meet, and we feel like we have a solid foundation to build on. We have big shoes to fill with our lone senior qualifier, Audrey Lieux, moving on to college next year. Her leadership will be greatly missed.”

Lieux said that while the lifters didn’t finish as highly as they’d hoped for, competing in the state tournament was a great experience. “I’m honestly just so happy to have spent time with my team,” she said. “They mean the world to me, and they’re like my family. This year has been such a big year for the team. We doubled the number of people we took to state, which for our third year as a team is incredible. Three years ago, when I started powerlifting, state wasn’t even in the back of my mind, and it’s so awesome to see it become a reality for me and the five other girls who went. We all work so hard, and we deserved all that we’ve earned this year. Even though I’m a senior, I’m excited for the future of the team and for all the girls to find a family on it like I did. I have no doubt that next year, we’ll continue to bring more girls to state, and a state title is definitely possible in the near future.”

Delaughter, a sophomore, said she was grateful to have experienced the state championship. “This weekend showed me the type of environment that the state competition has, and I loved every second of it,” she said. “Despite not getting the results I wanted, I took it as an opportunity to come back next year better than ever with the loving and supporting team that surrounds me.”

Demouy, a junior, said qualifying six lifters for the championship is a feat to be celebrated. “I feel we have come so far as a program in just three years,” she said. “I think the program has so much more room to grow. I’m proud of myself and the other girls who qualified because we know how hard each of us has worked this year, and it paid off and taught us so many things to work on in the off season.” 

Savoie, a junior, said the team worked hard to push and encourage each other to reach new numbers. “The future may be unknown, but I do know that from here, we can only get stronger and prepare even more for next year,” she said. 

O’Brien, a junior, said that the camaraderie and support of her teammates has made her powerlifting experience especially meaningful. “Starting as a sophomore last year, I was terrified to join a rack with some of the more experienced girls because I thought they would not like me for holding them back,” she said. “But as I continued working out with them, they showed nothing but support for me, and they allowed me to have a space to grow and learn without being judged. This truly shaped my outlook on the team and sport, and I have created unbreakable bonds with so many of these girls. The whole reason I went to state was because of the incredible teammates and coaches I have. The powerlifting atmosphere is such a welcoming one, and I have loved every second of being on this team. I am going to miss my senior friends so much, but I also cannot wait for next year because I know we are going to set new standards and break more records.”

Plauche, a sophomore, said the early morning practices and late meet days are worth the sense of accomplishment she felt on the platform at the state meet. “Every girl who walked into that dome earned her spot there,” she said. “The girls who win aren’t the strongest physically, they are the strongest mentally. It’s a mental game hoping the weight in your hands feels light that day and every other day. I’m proud of the girls on this team who show just how strong women are. We all share the same love for the sport, and that’s what makes this team a team. In only the third year of existence, we have lifters on the road to state champions.”

Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Communications Director