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High school powerlifter brings home world title

Amelia Gercken of Lackawanna County represented our area in a big way in South Africa.

CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. — Abington Heights junior Amelia Gercken spends a lot of time in the weight room alongside her coach, Claude Welcome.

She says she fell in love with the sport of powerlifting two years ago. 

"You get the competitiveness, you're competitive with yourself and you always want to do better than what you were already doing and you get to be competitive with other people as well," said Gercken. 

Gercken qualified in a national competition to represent the United States at the International Powerlifting Federation World Bench Press Championship all the way in South Africa.

Coach Welcome gave her a little motivation before the big competition.

"Before she left, I told her, 'Seven years ago this May, I was in South Africa competing, and I won the world title,' so I told her this is a chance for her to go back and repeat the same title," said Abington Heights powerlifting coach Claude Welcome. 

Gercken did just that. 

"I got the gold!" 

Bench pressing just over 167 pounds, Gercken came home with the IPF World Champion Bench Press title.  

She explains it was a tough match-up between her and another athlete from South Africa. 

"Our weight, like bench press, was very close, like our numbers were the exact same, when we got there, she weighed a little less than me, so if we came into a tie, she would take the gold, and I knew that wasn't an option because I didn't want to come in last," said Gercken. 

"When Amelia was lifting our time, 4 a.m. I was watching. She got the red lights, and I said, 'Coach has to go to the jury because that was a good lift,'" said Welcome. 

There's no time off for this world champion, Gercken has plans for several competitions this summer.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.

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