Local champ takes title in firm grip

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 18, 2005



RESERVE – Monica Millet doesn’t look like your typical national powerlifting champion.

A pretty, gentle spirited senior at Riverside Academy, it is hard to believe that Millet just returned from the National Powerlifting Championship in Killeen,

Texas, bringing home the national title for the 181-pound weight class.

It was only a year ago that Millet was encouraged to try powerlifting by Riverside coach Tim Taffy. She was working out to get stronger for throwing the javelin in track, where she had already made the state meet as a junior.

“He saw me in the weight room and apparently thought I might be good at powerlifting, so when he suggested it, I figured it was worth a try,” she said.

The results are nothing less than astounding.

Millet began to get stronger and stronger, finally heading to the 2005 regional meet earlier this year where she placed first in the 181-pound weight class, and was named the outstanding lifter among the heavyweight girls competing.

In powerlifting, a weight total from the squat, bench press and dead lift are combined for an overall total. At regionals she benched 140 pounds, dead lifted 300, and squatted 240 to take first place.

That qualified her for state in Alexandria just over a month ago, where she came up with personal best lifts again, turning in a 145 in the bench, 320 in the dead lift and 275 in the squad. Once again she was named the outstanding heavyweight lifter.

From there she qualified for the nationals in Texas, and continued to show amazing improvement with a 170 personal best in the bench, a huge jump to a 380 personal best in the dead lift, and a 270 in the squat. Even there, she had actually squatted 290, but didn’t have the weight count since she did not quite hold it long enough at the required spot.

She had an 820 pound total at nationals, winning by only five pounds over the second place finisher out of 14 girls in the 181-pound weight class.

“I was really surprised to go to nationals and win the title,” she said. “I just went there thinking it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I definitely didn’t know what to expect. So to win the title was really an overwhelming feeling of excitement.”

Millet has been athletic most of her life, playing softball and focusing on track last year when she qualified for the state meet in the javelin.

But when she started showing so much success in powerlifting following her regional victory, she began to train at LSU with the coach in Baton Rouge.

“I know that really helped me improve so I could get those personal bests at the right time,” she noted. “It has all just been very exciting to do this.”

She has now been invited to the World Powerlifting Competition in Fort Wayne, Ind. in September, where she plans to attend as her final powerlifting event.

“I plan to go to Southeastern for college next year and they don’t have a powerlifting team, so this is the end of my short career,” she said with a laugh. “It’s all been really fun, and I’m still surprised to have done all of this.”

Monica is the daughter of Eugene “Zip” and Belinda Millet.