Ocoee High senior Victoria Jefferson won her second individual state championship in girls weightlifting Feb. 2. Her bench press of 305 pounds set an FHSAA and national record, and her combined lift of 510 pounds tied a state record.
After Victoria Jefferson won an individual state championship in girls weightlifting as a junior in 2016, it stood to reason she would enter her senior year as the favorite in her weight class at this year’s state finals.
So, in that sense, it is not altogether surprising that Jefferson repeated as the individual champion in the Class 2A, 199-pound class at the FHSAA Girls Weightlifting Finals last week in Belleview.
The way she did so, though — well, those numbers Jefferson recorded Feb. 2 are being added to the record books.
Jefferson bench pressed 305 lbs., an FHSAA state record across all weight classes that topped the 280 lbs. mark set by North Marion’s Lakitta Johnson in 2009 and matched by Evans’ Desire Davis in 2016. So far as this year’s competition, Jefferson’s rep was 105 lbs. heavier than her next closest competitor.
Her clean-and-jerk of 205 lbs. gave her a 510 lbs.-total that tied her for most weight lifted at a state meet since the sport was sanctioned in 2004 (North Marion’s Lakitta Johnson also lifted 510 lbs. in 2009).
More than just cementing her claim to the top bench press in state history, though, is the evidence that Jefferson may have set a national record for high school competition.
According to GoHeavy.net, a website whose records are cited by USA Powerlifting, Jefferson’s lift bested the highest bench press mark (303 pounds by Dynah Gomez in 2009) in the history of the National High School Championships meet.
Video of Jefferson’s historic lift in Belleview shows a packed gym that turned its attention on the Ocoee High lifter, with a breath of silence pre-cursing a raucous cheer as she successfully completed the repetition.
“It felt great — it felt awesome to know that not only did I put myself on the map, I put my school on the map, as well,” Jefferson said.
As for her secret to setting a state and national mark — an improvement of 55 lbs. on her performance in 2016 — Jefferson says the key is her hard work training with her father, Greg Jefferson, and Ocoee High coaches, Jason Boltus and Brittany Walker.
“Working hard — I have matrixes and stuff that I do to help prepare me,” Jefferson said. “It’s not just about how much you can press out. It’s about preparing your body to hold that large amount of weight. … I just try and stay as disciplined as I can.”
Freshman year (2014): Played girls basketball and did not compete in girls weightlifting
Sophomore year (2015): Averaged around 225 lbs. on bench press at competitions
Junior year (2016): (+25 lbs.)Benched 250 lbs. at the FHSAA Finals en route to an individual state championship
Senior year (2017): (+55 lbs.) Bench 305 lbs. — an FHSAA record across all weight classes and a national record for high school competition
But wait, there’s more: Victoria says that the most she has ever benched in training sessions is 315 lbs.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].