Although Corban University does not have a competitive weightlifting team, one junior continues to set new collegiate and state records in powerlifting competitions.
In November, Jessica Okimura, a 113-pound accounting and marketing major, was invited to the World Cup Bench Press and Dead Lift Championships in Reno, Nev. During the competition, she deadlifted 259 pounds, breaking previous records at the collegiate level and for the state of Hawaii.
To accomplish the lift, she learned proper deadlift techniques during three weeks of training with a team in her home state of Hawaii during summer 2011. She followed up with her own training regime in Corban University’s gym.
Although she bench pressed 187 pounds on her second lift, it wasn’t enough to break records for that part of the junior division with women ages 20-23.
“It wasn’t my best, but under the circumstances, it wasn’t bad,” she said. “It was a tiring weekend, because I only intended to bench once, but knew I could do better.”
Her record breaking year started in June when she benched pressed 209 pounds in the 114 pound weight class during a competition in Hawaii, smashing her own previous world record lift of 176.2 pounds. It was enough to set a new world record in her weight class.
During a United States Powerlifting Association meet in August, she broke an American record in the deadlift competition. She lifted 225 pounds in the 20-23-year-old age bracket with only three weeks of training.
“That was my first push-pull meet, and I was excited to do as well as I did,” Okimura said. “After that I was invited back to the World Cup Championships.”
She admitted it is sometimes tough to balance time between the classroom, homework and training.
“My teachers have been so accommodating,” she said. “When I was in Reno, I spent most of my off time studying for finals.” Upon graduation, she hopes to blend her love of powerlifting with a career in business.
“Even that week off after competition feels weird to me,” Okimura said. “I’d like to be able to have a career that allows me to do both. In high school I didn’t even know what powerlifting was, but now I can’t imagine not lifting.”