From the batting cages to the weight room, sophomore kinesiology major Hailey McCann, standing at five feet, demonstrates that big things really do come in small packages.
McCann recently won the silver medal at the 2014 National University Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico Sept. 25-28.
Weighing in at 105.6 lbs. and competing in the under 48-kilograms category, McCann lifted 58 kilograms, equivalent to 127.6 pounds, in the snatch and 67 kilograms, equivalent to 147.7 pounds, in the clean and jerk.
She totaled 125 kilograms and took home the silver.
McCann placed second in the snatch and third in the clean and jerk placing second overall in her weight class.
“Being small I had to use every other skill I had, so I started lifting to get bigger and stronger to be able to compete with girls that were naturally bigger than I was,” McCann said.
McCann came to La Verne to play softball, but after discovering weightlifting, she fell in love with it.
She then joined the University’s USA Weightlifting-approved War Against Gravity Barbell Club, where she trains to compete in numerous competitions.
Weightlifting was something McCann began in high school, but did not begin competing until she came to La Verne.
“What I love about lifting is being able to walk into the gym and being able to do something that a week ago I couldn’t do,” McCann said. “Just knowing that I can push my body to its absolute limit, I want to find out how much I’m capable of.”
In preparation for the 2014 National University Championships, McCann’s average day of training consists of coming into the gym to warm up, get all her shoulder care and stretch out.
Depending on what day it is, she hits front or back squats, snatches something heavy, performs her clean and jerk and moves on to accessory work.
McCann then hits her abdominal exercises, followed by lower back and shoulder complex, totaling her workout to three hours a day.
Most of her workouts are planned and written up by her coach Joseph Buckley, member of the La Verne strength and conditioning staff.
“One thing about Hailey is that she’s consistently training five days a week,” Buckley said. “The benefits of her dedication and work ethic are that she has great improvement for a sport that takes a whole lot of work.”
In regards to her diet, McCann explains that other than making sure she gets enough protein, she is not too worried about her weight and eats whatever she wants.
“I’m working hard enough to where if I want to come home and eat cookies, I’m going to eat cookies,” McCann said.
Two other La Verne students also joined McCann in the 2014 National University Championships.
Senior English major Rocky Bragg competed in the under 94-kilograms, equivalent to 207 pounds, weight class.
Bragg lifted in the snatch of 120 kilograms (264 pounds) and in the clean jerk of 150 kilograms (330 pounds) totaling 270 kilograms.
He placed seventh overall competing against 35 other lifters.
“I contacted Joe Buckley and he actually convinced me to join right away,” Bragg said. “It’s very relaxing and refreshing for me. It’s something that I love doing and it’s a passion.”
Junior kinesiology major Matthew Sakiyama also competed in the under 85-kilograms (187 pounds) category.
Sakiyama placed 15th against 40 other lifters with a snatch of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and a clean and jerk of 150 kilograms (330 pounds) for a total weight of 250 kilograms.
“It was very humbling and eye opening to be around such high level athletes,” Sakiyama said. “It was a whole new level of competition.”
For weightlifting, McCann’s next stop is training in preparation for the Junior Nationals in February in Oklahoma City.
Annabel Secaida can be reached at email@example.com.