- Associated Press - Saturday, June 14, 2014

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - A 16-year-old southwest Florida teen ranked as the top lifter in her division will compete Saturday night in the USA Weightlifting Youth National.

Adrian Dougherty doesn’t look like your typical weightlifter. The 5-foot-2 teen works at a doughnut shop on weekends and solves equations as a member of her high school math team during the week. But she can also snatch 134 pounds and can clean and jerk 182. That’s almost 1½ times her body weight.

She’ll compete for a national ranking Saturday night in Port Orange along with 400 other athletes under the age of 17. Dougherty, a former swimmer who started lifting at age 14, says a 2012 clinic with USA Weightlifting coach Danny Camargo helped her realize her potential.

The Fort Myers News-Press (http://tinyurl.com/pefac6x) reports Dougherty got into weightlifting after friends of her parents opened a gym in Fort Myers and she proved to be a natural at pushups, pull-ups and lifts.


Camargo encouraged her to pursue it more seriously.

“He was like, ‘You know, you could be good at this,’” Dougherty said. “I guess he saw something in me.”

She spends five days a week practicing two Olympic lifts: snatch and clean-and-jerk. Fellow gym members rallied behind her to help develop her technique. Crossfit 239 owner Josh Wright created a workout to strengthen key muscle groups and eventually became her coach.

Dougherty placed third in her first competition, earning a spot at last year’s Youth National Championships in Missouri. There she finished second. Since then she’s competed in the American Open Championships in Dallas.

“I guess it was that first competition in Daytona,” Wright laughed. “Neither of us had any idea what we were doing. We just kind of followed along and figured it out. It of course helps that she’s really strong.”

Dougherty said it’s hard to predict what the future will hold because she’s so new to the sport, but says “Tokyo 2020 - it would be pretty cool.”

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Information from: The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press, http://www.news-press.com