Little did Amy Brantner know back in 2007 that the breath-sapping work of moving a couple of shovels of dirt would lead to the perspiration that produced a gold medal in a world championship powerlifting competition 12 years later.
She set out to get fit – reading up on diet, weight loss and exercise – and along the way not only started a bucket list, but started checking things off, too.
The Spokane Valley gym owner had one of her goals realized in Potchefstroom, South Africa, last weekend where she represented the United States and won three medals in the 2019 International Powerlifting Federation World Championships.
She captured gold in her age/weight class with a 363-pound dead lift and added silver medals with a 187-pound bench press and an 836-pound total lift. She didn’t medal with a 286-pound squat. Brantner is 43 and competes at 63 kilograms, although she weighs roughly 58 kilograms, or 128 pounds.
Brantner earned her spot on Team USA by winning her age/weight class in the USA Powerlifting National Championship in Lombard, Illinois, in May.
“I guess I just like being an athlete,” the East Valley High School said graduate of her journey.
Recalling that life-changing experience, Brantner wrote on the website of her gym, A Personal Fit, “My husband (Gregg) and I decided to put some new trees in front of our house.
“After shoveling only two shovels full of dirt I was out of breath! I thought, ‘OK this is ENOUGH! I have to get into shape!’ I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. Something had to change and change now!”
Gregg, whose athletic pursuits have him involved in Spartan races, wound up putting in the trees.
“I didn’t do a lot to help,” she said. “I was a little weakling back then.”
But she hit the weights that year, opened her gym in 2010 and two years later won a body-building competition to check off one thing on the bucket list.
“That started me looking for something else to do,” she said. “I just had to keep challenging myself.”
One of those somethings was powerlifting. She won the first competition she entered in Spokane in 2017 “to see if I liked it or not.
“I loved it! I decided to get stronger and see how I’d do with it.”
The medals tell the story.
Idaho’s Dwain Stucker and Kelsey Swenson swept the Big Sky Conference cross country athlete of the week awards for their performances in the Inland Empire Championships Oct. 12 at Lewiston.
Stucker, a senior, collected his second male honor of the season for covering the 8,000-meter course in 23 minutes, 46 seconds and finishing sixth overall, leading the Vandals to a second-place team finish.
Swenson placed second overall, running the 5,000 in 17:27, and leading five Vandals women into the top 10 and a team title as the freshman earned her first weekly Big Sky honor.
• Washington State freshman Magda Jehlářová was the Pac-12 volleyball Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Cougars to wins over Oregon and Oregon State last weekend to remain unbeaten at home.
She had 14 blocks in the two matches, averaging 1.75 per set, and added 17 kills with a .400 hitting percentage as WSU beat Oregon in Bohler Gym for the first time since 2005 and swept the Oregon schools at home for the first time since 2002. She matched a career high with 10 kills against the Beavers.
• Washington State’s young duo of sophomore Hikaru Sato and freshman Pang Jittakoat rallied from a 4-1 deficit to capture the A Flight doubles title at the 2019 Beach Tennis Fall Tournament last Sunday in Long Beach, California, defeating a pair from the host school 7-6 (8-6) in a tie-breaker.
WSU sophomore Yang Lee lost in straight sets in the B Flight singles final and freshman Maddie Egan rallied from a set down to win the C Flight consolation title in three sets.
• Quynn Duong, a Gonzaga sophomore, claimed medalist honors by four strokes with a 7-under-par 209 to led the Bulldogs to a 13-shot team victory at the Pat Lesser Harbottle Invitational women’s golf tournament in Tacoma on Tuesday.
• Eastern Washington freshman Stephanie Heimler was named the Big Sky Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week following her sixth-place finish at the Harbottle Invitational. She opened the tournament with a 78 but followed with a 2-under 70 and 1-under 71 for a 54-hole total of 3-over 219. The 70 was the lowest round of the tournament for the Eagles.
• Travis Swallow, a Seattle Pacific junior from Lake City, had a team-high 3.98 GPA to earn a second straight honor and lead three athletes with area ties selected to the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s soccer all-academic team.
Bryan Maxwell, a Montana State Billings sophomore from Lewis and Clark (3.64), and Landon Butler, a Northwest Nazarene sophomore from Ferris (3.26), earned their first selections.
• Rower Ivy Elling Quaintance and Nicklaus Chiam from men’s golf have been named the Washington State Academic Services Student- Athletes of the month for October.
Elling Quaintance, a senior with a 3.79 GPA, has made numerous all-academic teams and been on the President’s Honor Roll every semester while pursuing a degree in sports science. On the water, she was a CRCA Division I All-America honorable mention and Pac-12 all-conference and rowed internationally for her native Canada.
Chiam, a senior with a 3.49 GPA who is pursuing a degree in international business, also has been on the President’s Honor Roll and was Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention. He also earned Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar distinction last year and led the Cougars in scoring average as a junior.
• The Gonzaga athletic department on Oct. 12 dedicated its new boathouse at Silver Lake, used by the men’s and women’s rowing teams, in the name of Zach and Hannah Johnson.
The Johnsons, who a GU release said made the lead gift on the project, both rowed collegiately. Zach rowed at the elite level, medaling in nine national championships in six boat classes. He was also an assistant coach at Yale and head coach at San Diego State UC San Diego.
Jump-started by a 5-0 sweep of the first-day morning foursome matches, the professionals handily defeated their amateur opponents 16-4 last weekend at Kalispel Golf & Country Club in the 2019 Inland Empire PGA Cup Matches.
Using the two-day Ryder Cup format, the pros followed with a 3-2 victory in the first-day afternoon four-ball matches leaving them needing just two points in Saturday’s singles matches to clinch the cup. They won eight of the 10.
The area’s top 10 professionals and amateurs are determined by points earned based on finishes in IEPGA Pro-Ams throughout the season.
Taylor Porter, Avondale Golf Club, and Corey Prugh, golf coach at Community Colleges of Spokane, finished 1-2 in the professional ranks during the pro-ams but were unable to play in the cup matches. Gordon Corder of Manito Golf & Country Club was third.
Mike Garcia, Avondale Golf Club, led the amateur season standings with Ryan Camp, The Creek at Qualchan, and Andrew Von Lossow, Prairie Falls Golf Course, tied for second. Camp was unable to play in the cup matches.
Pros – Corder; Mark Wilkins, Manito; Derek Siesser, Indian Canyon Golf Course; Loren Jeglum, Clarkston Golf & Country Club; Colin McMahon, Qualchan; Billy Bomar, Prairie Falls; Brent Walsh, Coeur d’Alene Golf Club; Nick McCaslin, Kalispel; Bo Baker, Qualchan; Colin Carlson, The Golf Club at Black Rock.
Amateurs – Garcia; Von Lossow; Jared Herling, Kalispel; Colin Guhlke, MeadowWood Golf Course; Ryan Barrett, Kalispel; Ryan Pitkonen, Indian Canyon; Reid Hatley, Hayden Lake Country Club; Gene Teigen, Kalispel; Justin Johnson, Prairie Falls; John Kari, Avondale Golf Club.
• There wasn’t much separating the professionals and amateurs in the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Hudson Cup matches pitting 10-man teams against each other Thursday and Friday at Arrowhead Golf Club in Mollala, Oregon.
In the 71st Hudson Cup, the pros and amateurs tied 10-10 in the Ryder Cup-style competition. In the 28th edition of the Senior Hudson Cup, the amateurs pulled out a 10 1/2-9 1/2 victory.
Hatley contributed three points to the amateurs in the regular Hudson Cup and Ryan Benzel, who grew up in Ritzville and played at University of Idaho and now at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington, produced two points for the pros.
The Spokane Chiefs will have two players on the Western Hockey League team that will compete in the 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series.
Chiefs captain Ty Smith, a defenseman who was a first-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2018 NHL draft, and forward Adam Beckman, a third-round selection of the Minnesota Wild in the 2019 draft, will be members of the WHL team.
Smith, who returns to the event for a second year, played his 200th WHL regular-season game in a Chiefs sweater Friday night. He was the 2019 WHL and CHL Defenseman of the Year.
Beckman, who hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, site of one of the games, will make his first appearance in the series after a stellar draft year in which he led the Chiefs in goals with 32.
WHL games against the Russians will be Nov. 13 and 14 in Saskatoon and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, after the Russians junior national team plays two-game series against all-star teams from the Ontario and Quebec Major leagues. CHL teams have won 12 of the previous 16 times in the series.
• Graham Sward, a Chiefs defenseman from Abbotsford, British Columbia, is one of 16 WHL players selected by Hockey Canada to its 66-player roster for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Nov. 2-9 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and Swift Current.
The 6-foot-2 Sward, the Chiefs’ first-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, is in his first full season with Spokane and has two assists. He competed for British Columbia at the 2018 Canada Winter Games, posting two goals and two assists.
Canada will have three teams in the eight-team field that also includes the United States, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
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