Lifting Her Way Up


Dakota's mom

A 7th grade Day Creek student recently broke 4 national records 2 for squats and 2 for deadlifts.

Declynn G., Emily L., and Camilla S.

Seventh-grader Dakota C. gets to the gym at 9:00am. She heads toward the benches and begins to warm up. She starts off light. When her group, called a flight, is announced, she waits for her number to be called. Her coach informs the referees the amount of weight to put on her bar. She walks forward and heaves it into the air, completely unaware of how much weight she is pushing toward the ceiling. 

Dakota’s family is the primary reason she started weightlifting. She was born a natural and her coach quickly recognized her talent. 

“I’ve always been interested in working out and have been drawn towards it. My mom and brother worked out a lot. I wanted to do that; it seemed fun. So [my mom] asked her trainer if I could come to the gym. The first day, my trainer said, ‘Wow, she’s really really strong unlike a lot of girls her age,’” said Dakota.  

Dakota is in her second year at DCIS, yet she’s already stronger than the typical adult. She never expected to lift so much, however she’s always had the intention of building strength and muscularity. 

“My main goal is just to be strong, build muscles, and get huge legs. I think the legs are the most important part of our body,” said Dakota. 

Despite her natural ability, she works hard at the gym with a trainer. Everyday consists of a variety of exercises for different parts of her body. 

“Monday is back, Tuesday is arms, Thursday is legs, Saturday [and] sometimes, Friday we just wing it and do whatever,” said Dakota.  

 Dakota has worked to eat healthy and clean to care for her body and replenish her muscles. Nevertheless, she is still a teen who enjoys the occasional treat as a reward.

“After I eat good, it just makes me feel better about my body. If you eat healthy and have a strict diet, you’re going to build muscle; you’re going to be strong. It has helped me have a lot more energy and makes me feel better because I’m not eating crappy food,” said Dakota.

A healthy diet takes significant dedication and a unique grocery list. 

“In the morning, I always have a good amount of protein, like three eggs, yogurt, and toast for carbohydrates and more protein. Then for lunch, I have chicken for more protein and then rice for carbohydrates, because carbohydrates give you energy to do everything…and then some vegetables on the side. Dinner it’s usually the same [as] lunch,” said Dakota.

While most people associate weightlifting with the physical aspect, she also faces self-doubt and mental challenges as she lifts.

“When you’re up there and you need to pick up this weight, you’re doubting yourself. You’re like, I can’t do this, this is way too heavy, there’s no way I can do this. But you never know your body’s full potential. And my coach always said, ‘Your mind is gonna give up first before your body,’ and it’s super true too. It’s totally a mental thing as much as it is physical,” said Dakota.  

After only a year of training, Dakota has broken countless records in response to endless work and dedication. 

“I broke four national records all together: two national squat records and then two deadlift records. The first squat was 275, and the second squat was 282 pounds. Then for the deadlifts, the first one was 303, and the second one 330 pounds,” said Dakota. 

Day Creek’s staff is impressed at the effort she has put in to get this far, and her reputation for hard work has spread throughout the campus. 

“Only a year, wow! But that was an intense year, and it shows if you set a goal, you can achieve it!” said Mr. Nemecek, a PE teacher at Day Creek. 

Though working hard has paid off, Dakota isn’t satisfied with her past achievements. She continues to work towards lifting heavier weights. 

“I plan on out lifting all of the boys, so they can’t be like ‘Oh I’m so strong and I’m so cool.’ No. I don’t want anyone to mess with me. I’m not going to let them push me around,” said Dakota.