Claire Heckathorn receiving her national trophy.
Woodinville powerlifter Claire Ashton Heckathorn brought home a first place trophy from the 1995 National AAU Master Powerlifters' Meet at Carson City, Nevada, Oct. 20-22.
Lifters from Florida to Hawaii tested their strength against kilograms of heavy steel.
Heckathorn began her powerlifting last December as part of her physical conditioning program.
After winning her first powerlifting meet in April, she encountered a series of distractions to her training program. A knee injury in June slowed her progress. Then, in July, she married Ted Heckathorn and moved from Redmond to Woodinville.
Maintaining her workout schedule, she won the Northwest Regional AAU meet in August to qualify for the national event.
There Heckathorn overcame a judge's close call against her to set a new American AAU record in the squat. She went on to score a personal best in her benchpress, and almost reached her top mark in the deadlift.
Each of her three scores established new AAU national meet records. She also holds lifting records in Washington, Idaho, and Nevada.
In high school and college, Heckathorn did not play any sports and did not consider herself very athletic. But last year, beset by health problems and the stress of her nursing job, she decided to change to a healthier lifestyle.
She had experimented with powerlifting five years ago, and thought she'd try it again.
"Now she is healthier, stronger, and slimmer, and you'd better believe that no one at the beach kicks sand in her face," said her husband Ted.