In 1997 while lifting at a YMCA in Daytona Beach, Florida, I was approached by two guys who invited me to a powerlifting meet. “You’re strong.” they said. “You should come and lift”. I went, and ended up winning the teenage and open divisions at 17 years of age. The very next month I tore my ACL (first of several times) and did not compete again until nine years later. Although only in the sport a brief time, it impacted me in a way that would change my future.
In 2005 I underwent several major abdominal surgeries, and due to a heart problem had lost 25 lbs. I wanted to get strong again, so I typed “powerlifting meets Seattle” into my search engine and found a link to USAPL in Washington. The 2006 state meet was coming up and I was determined to compete. I trained, practiced my lifts, studied the rules and purchased my singlet. I won the bench-only division in the 52 kilo class. More importantly, I met several people who proved to be integral in my powerlifting career (Kevin Stewart, Faith Ireland, Paula Houston, Todd Christensen, Bull Stewart and Willie Austin). I competed regularly in bench-only until late 2007 when I decided to try full-power. My first equipped total was 777 lbs in the 56 kilo class.