Senior Chloe Brackenbury’s power-lifting hobby takes her to the next level


Chloe Brackenbury, assited by partner Audrey Cook, works on her squat in advanced weightlifting class (photo credit Megan Voorhees).

Senior Chloe Brackenbury swoops her fiery locks of hair behind her ears and shakes out her hands. Accompanied by the reverberation of clanging metal and Drake blaring through her AirPods, she prepares for the next set of reps.

 Adrenaline pumps through every muscle in her body as she wraps her fingers around the cool iron bar. With one final inhale, she lifts. 

This excitement and build-up is one of the factors that compelled  Brackenbury to power-lifting.


She was first introduced to the sport by her older sister, Hannah Brackenbury, an original member of the power lifting club.

“My sister joined the power lifting club the first year that it started,” Brackenbury said. “I loved the environment of people, so I decided as soon as I was a freshman I would try it out.”

And so she began her journey. As soon as she joined the club, she knew it was meant for her. She pursued going to the gym and enrolling in advanced weightlifting classes, leading to her introduction to the Track and Field world. 

“I fell in love with lifting,” Brackenbury expressed. “I realized that I was pretty strong and that I had this desire to get stronger. I started throwing in Track and Field and strength is a huge role in that, so it all fit together nicely”

Her athleticism has propelled her  farther than just high school sports, as she has committed to Western Colorado University to throw shot put for the Mountaineers Track and Field team. 

“I always knew that I wanted to live in the mountains,” Brackenbury said. “We visited North Carolina and Colorado, but Colorado just hit all of my points. It’s where I wanted to be.”

Most of the time, Brackenbury enjoys to workout by herself and be on her own schedule, although during advanced lifting class she can be found with her partner, junior Audrey Cook. 

Cook sees Brackenbury as an inspiration and someone who pushes everyone around her to be their best, in and out of the weightroom. 

“She’s always in the gym constantly trying to get better,” Cook said. “Ever since I moved here she’s been a person I could talk to if I needed it and someone who pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

Brackenbury’s favorite component of her hobby is how she has seen herself improve both mentally and physically. She believes lifting has switched her mindset for the better.

“I would definitely say it’s helped my mental health a lot,” Brackenbury said. “Most people know that exercise in general gives off endorphins and makes you feel better, but it’s not just that. It’s given me something to look forward to and keeps my mind busy. The gym is a really good environment and definitely helped with my body image.”

Brackenbury climbs the stairs to her 5th hour class. She smiles and feels pride as her shaky, yet stronger legs escort her to her next destination, wherever that may be. Brackenbury 

“Everyone should try lifting,” Brackenbury said. “You never know where it will take you and what you can do with it.”