Winter Park weightlifter conquers demons, heads to state

Winter Park weightlifter Maverick Maensivu has battled scoring errors and injuries to get to this point. Now, he’s ready to take on state.

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  • | 2:15 p.m. April 6, 2017
Maverick Maensivu has broken his PRs in districts and regionals this season, and now he’s aiming for glory at states.
Maverick Maensivu has broken his PRs in districts and regionals this season, and now he’s aiming for glory at states.
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If you looked up the word “patience” in the dictionary, you might just find a picture of Winter Park High School senior Maverick Maensivu.

The Winter Park Wildcat has been waiting his turn, and last Wednesday, destiny finally called his number — 595 — pounds to be exact. 

That’s how much the 18-year-old lifted between a bench press and a clean and jerk in the 199-pound weight class last week to punch his ticket to the state tournament.

But it wasn’t just the result of months of hard work, it was the moment Maensivu broke through a proverbial wall.

The trip to the state tournament he captured last week could have come much sooner for Maensivu. A series of unfortunate pitfalls held him back from the state stage.

Maensivu’s sophomore year chasing that dream ended abruptly at the district tournament thanks to something he couldn’t even control: a scoring error. After completing a lift that would potentially qualify him for regionals, score keepers accidentally tacked five pounds onto another Winter Park Wildcat’s total. That lifter went on to regionals, leaving Maensivu empty-handed but with his mind full of questions.

The next year saw another pitfall — an injury while Maeunsivu was battling on the gridiron with the football team. The middle linebacker got clipped by an Edgewater player in the opening game of the season, tearing both his ACL and MCL.

“I got cracked,” Maensivu said. “It popped sideways, and that was it. I missed 11 games.”

Maensivu began a rehab regimen that had him at ProForm in Maitland three to four times a week. Doctors told him he shouldn’t be lifting that season.

But that’s why they make knee braces.

Maensivu lifted anyway and went on to regionals despite the injury. He pulled off a 245-pound clean and jerk and pushed up 315 pounds on the bench press, but his season ended once again in disappointment.

His total weight fell just five pounds short of the qualifying threshold to make state. Maensivu knew his knee was what held him back.

And so the waiting continued.

Head weightlifting coach David Benson knows state is something Maensivu has been flirting with for the past few years. Despite Maensivu getting knocked down, he’s gotten right back up every time, he said.

“He didn’t want anything to stand in the way of his senior year,” Benson said. “He’s a great kid.”

A critical moment was Maensivu’s fearlessness during rehab, Benson said. Many athletes hold back when they feel that lingering pain, but Maensivu pushed through.

“He would push himself to the limit every time,” Benson said.

Maensivu has had that mindset all along, Benson said. The young lifter has been hitting the weights since he was a freshman. Aspiring to join the football team, he knew it was time to bulk up or get beat up.

“I walked into the weight room looking at the football team,” Maensivu said. “I was thinking, ‘I better start lifting some weights, or I’m going to be a practice dummy.’”

Maensivu finally has the chance April 7 in DeLand to show the state what he’s made of. He’ll be pushing for 20 extra pounds on top of his total weight from regionals.

He’s waited long enough.

“When it comes, I just make sure I’m rested and do what I know I can do,” Maensivu said.


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