A.J. and Eli Heugatter rely on each other as more than most sisters and brothers respectively do.

The Heugatters use their bond to motivate each other as well as work out together in honing their skills for the Mildred Power lifting team.

“We motivate each other, and we have somebody to work out with,” sophomore Eli said.

“It makes you stronger mentally and physically,” senior A.J. said.

Their coach, Greg Casey, concurs with their support system.

“They have somebody they can rely on to help motivate them. It gives them more support than the average person,” he said. “Both of them are top lifters on the team. I expect them to be contenders and place in the spring.”

Even though it’s Casey’s first year as the power lifting coach, he had heard about the duo from the previous coach and sees A.J.’s small size, 93 pounds, as an advantage.

“That’s an advantage for us in the power lifting competition because they’ll underestimate her,” he said.

A.J. dead-lifts almost double her weight at 185 pounds, squats about 150 pounds and benches 85 pounds. Eli squats 390 pounds, dead-lifts 350 pounds and benches 315 pounds.

Both of the straight “A” students have other responsibilities to their time also. Eli plays football, baseball and golf while A.J. is on the cheerleading team and competes in track. They work out about three to four hours a week total on power lifting including at home.

When working out at home though, Eli has more of a challenge than A.J. does. They spot each other.

“He has to push extra hard to get the weight up because he knows that I can’t lift it,” A.J. said.

She made it to the regional competition last year and is on track to get as far again.

“I’m going to try. It’s looking good so far,” she said.

A.J. placed third at a meet at Rice High School in January, and they will participate in a meet on Saturday in Whitney and have a district meet on Feb. 25 in Blooming Grove.

At a meet, the lifters have three attempts at squats and dead-lifts to get at least two “white lights” from the judges. To get the “white lights,” the lifters have to display correct form, and whether they listen to the judges comments and instructions well.

Their mom, Wendy, isn’t worried about them getting hurt either.

“I know that the coaches know what their doing and teaching them the correct techniques,” she said. “They’re good kids, but I’m partial.”

“I agree,” Casey said. “I don’tworry about them as far as how they would conduct themselves.”

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Donell Williams may be contacted via e-mail at dwilliams@corsicanadailysun.com.

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