There’s a saying: “Couples who play together, stay together.”
Well, Kane Sherrill and Katelyn Syper have taken that up another level, competing in powerlifting tournaments together.
Sherrill and Syper – a couple since their sophomore year at Lake Norman High School, where they graduated in 2010 – both turned in solid performances at the ninth-annual USA powerlifting “Battle on the Border” competition, held March 21 at Lincoln Charter School in Denver.
Sherrill, who took up powerlifting after graduating from Wofford last year, finished fourth overall in the men’s 230-pound division, while Syper set two North Carolina junior women’s records in her first powerlifting tournament.
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“I was so nervous when I first got there,” said Syper, of Mooresville. “I’ve only been doing this for about four months now, so I didn’t want to do anything crazy. But for me, it was all personal records.”
Sherrill had been lifting weights since middle school, but mainly as part of his football training program. He was an AP All-State selection his senior year at Lake Norman, then went on to letter all four years as an offensive lineman on Wofford’s football team.
Sherrill, a native of Cornelius, then took up powerlifting when he returned home and began his studies at UNC Charlotte for a master’s degree in accounting. Syper took up weightlifting herself as part of an overall weight-loss program.
“I was always overweight, so a year or two ago I started really getting into it,” said Syper, now a certified personal fitness trainer. “Once he was home from college, he was like, ‘I might get into (powerlifting) again,’ and I was like, ‘If you’re going to do it, I might as well do it.’”
Said Sherrill: “She got into it on her own, just being around it and all. (The powerlifting) came from being around me and dad (former Lake Norman football coach Scott Sherrill). I was really happy for that.”
Sherrill and Syper, who work out almost daily at Jet Fitness in Mooresville’s Lakeside Park, chose the Battle on the Border – a team and individual tournament that involved 200 men’s and women’s competitors from North and South Carolina – for her debut.
“It was a little intimidating, for sure,” Syper said. “There were only 20 other women there, and they were going for American records. All I was going for was state records.
“For me, it was hard not to compare myself (to the other competitors), but we all have to start somewhere.”
Both did rather well in the daylong powerlifting tournament.
Sherrill lifted a total of 1,108 pounds between the three different lifts involved in a powerlifting competition – squat, bench press and dead lift – and was a perfect 9-for-9 in his lift attempts.
Syper wound up setting North Carolina junior women’s records in the 165-pound division in both the squat (176 pounds) and deadlift (232 pounds). She wound up finishing fourth in her division with a total lift of 501.5 pounds.
“It really helped her to have me and dad around to help her,” Sherrill said. “Just to make sure she was in the right place at the right time. But she did pretty good.”
Sherrill and Syper are already back at work, training for their next powerlifting competition.
“We’re going to do another one May 30 in Rock Hill,” Syper said. “I think Scott’s even going to come out of retirement to do it. That’ll be exciting, to see him make a big comeback after all these years.”
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.