River Region native prepares to enter powerlifting Hall of Fame

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 15, 2019

DESTREHAN — Destrehan native Ashley Matherne Cain found her way onto the Nicholls State University powerlifting team by chance in 2002 and graduated a four-time collegiate national champion.

Cain’s journey will come full circle Jan. 19 when she becomes the fifth member inducted into the USA Powerlifting Louisiana Hall of Fame at the 2019 Louisiana State Championships, hosted at Nicholls State.

The announcement took Cain completely off-guard. She was in a doctor’s office with her 5-year-old son over the summer when she got a text from a friend who saw it posted to the USA Powerlifting- Louisiana Facebook page.

More than six months later, Cain is still in shock but beyond grateful for the chance to raise awareness for the sport that changed her life.

Ashley Matherne Cain, left, is pictured with her son, Jase, and her stepdaughter, Alexis.

“When I started in this sport, I didn’t know it was a sport,” Cain said. “I was a cheerleader in college, and I thought of it as a way to work out with other people. I started it by chance, had fun with it and went far with it.”

Current Lutcher High School powerlifting coach Jon Magendie introduced Cain to powerlifting when she asked for approval to be added to a weightlifting PE class.

Cain was initially skeptical when she imagined it might make her look “huge, like a bodybuilder.”

Yet, when Cain agreed to attend a team workout, the rest was history.

Less than two weeks after starting practice, Cain dove into her first meet in November 2002.

Ashley Matherne Cain’s many medals, patches and awards are evidence of a successful powerlifting career that spanned from 2002 to 2008 and included four collegiate championship titles.

Placing third with a 490-pound raw total at the University Cup held at Nicholls State University gave her motivation to continue.

Over the next six years, Cain would travel across the United States and to South Africa, Austria, Germany, Guatemala and Canada to face off against top competitors around the globe.

In 2008, she held state and national records in squat, bench and deadlift in 48 kg and 52 kg weight classes.

Her best weight room lifts included 355 pounds in squat, 270 pounds in bench and 355 pounds in deadlift.

Internationally, Cain earned silver and gold medals in Junior Worlds. She went on to secure tenth place finishes at Open Worlds, the highest level of competition, in 2007 and 2008.

Days before her final career meet at the 2008 Open Worlds, Cain came down with the flu and ended up in the emergency room. After powering through a few rough lifts, Cain mustered her strength and placed third in bench.

At the time, she couldn’t be happier, but her most memorable meet was in 2004 during her first Junior Worlds win in Pretoria, Africa.

During the heat of the competition, she had no idea how she was faring against her competition.

“Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t pay attention to placement or numbers while lifting,” Cain said. “I give all my trust to my coaches. They pick my lifts, and I work on getting white lights.”

Cain retired from powerlifting in 2008 and went on to build a family. She now resides in Gonzales after living in Colorado for four years.

“It means a lot to me to be part of the Hall of Fame because this is a sport that’s hidden between the shadows of more popular sports,” Cain said. “It brought so much to my life. It brought me to places I would’ve never gone otherwise. It’s really cool to bring more recognition to it, especially since it’s predominately considered a male sport.”

During her career on the USA team, Cain looked up to competitor Suzanne “Souix-Z” Hartwig-Gary.

Louisiana Hall of Fame members Dr. Billy Jack Talton, Wade Hooper and Jennifer Rey Gaudreau also inspired Cain throughout her career, and she feels honored to receive the same recognition as the athletes she looked up to as legends.

USA Powerlifting- Louisiana officer Travis Werner said Cain was chosen for Hall of Fame induction after a discussion of her accomplishments and a vote between six state officers and the four previous inductees.