ERIE — Izzy Hageman is all about busting stereotypes.
She is a weightlifter but, as she describes herself, she is 'tiny.' She is also a weightlifter that is an accomplished cheerleader. And she dabbles in wrestling and track as well.
"People come from different backgrounds and people do different sports and become better than the stereotypical athlete in that sport," she said. "My sport is so much more than just walking up to a bar. There is so much behind it, the training — physical, emotional and mental — are all part of it."
This past weekend at the USA Youth National Weightlifting Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Hageman won a national title in her age group. Hageman finished second in the snatch with a lift of 63 kilos (138.891 pounds) and won the clean and jerk with a lift of 83 kilos (182.984 pounds). Her combined effort in both disciplines won her the overall title.
After three trips to the same tournament and three runner-up finishes, it was a great relief to finally bring home some gold to Colorado.
"Not that I felt like this was going to be the year, but I definitely put in the work for it and it felt awesome having it all pay off in the end," said Hageman, who comes from a family of lifters — although her family doesn't compete..
What made it all the more gratifying for Hageman was the fact she was able to do it with less training under her belt. In her first year of high school at Erie, Hageman was a part of the cheerleading team in the fall, was the first female Tiger wrestler during the winter season and then was a part of the track team in the spring.
She pointed to her mind as the aspect of her sport as the key to her success in Michigan.
"The school year was very stressful with so much going on, but I definitely got (physically) stronger with all the other sports," she said. "But more so, I got emotionally and mentally tough."
Hageman trains and works out with coach Brian Bender at CutThroat Crossfit and Athletics in Lafayette.
She has goals in the sport — which colleges have now started handing out scholarships for — and they are lofty, but certainly attainable if she keeps up the path of success she is already on.
"One day I hope to make it to the Olympics in my sport, that is my long term goal. Not too long, though," she said. "I want to try and get into college with it and then hopefully go on to the Olympics."
Hageman will also compete in the Rocky Mountain State Games in July in Colorado Springs and hasn't made up her mind on junior nationals just yet.
As for wrestling, Hageman is unsure whether she will continue to compete next year. She finished fifth last season at the girls state tournament in her first year of doing the sport.
"I just wanted to try it," said Hageman of her first go-round on the mat. "I'm not 100 percent sure I want to again, but it was fun and an awesome experience especially with the team atmosphere."