On Nov. 30, Leavenworth powerlifter Maggie Lee competed in the USA Weightlifting American Open in Palm Springs, Calif., a senior level national meet. Lee finished the day with a best snatch lift of 103 pounds and missed her first two attempts at the clean and jerk, but came back on the third attempt to get 143 pounds. She placed 16th overall.

Recently you competed in the USA Weightlifting American Open. What was that experience like? What was the highlight?
It was a lot of fun, but I also learned a lot about myself and about weightlifting.
All of the other lifters in attendance were the best in the nation and it showed me how much harder I have to work to be where I want to be.
It also showed me that I am capable of competing on an extremely high level and high stress situations.
The highlight was lifting on a platform that was spotlighted.

How did you get into powerlifting?
My sophomore year I did a five rep max deadlift with 190 pounds and coach Daniel Capps told me that I could probably go to state and win my weight class.
So the next week my friend Madeline Ammel and I convinced coach to start a club and it has just taken off from there.

Why do you like weightlifting so much? What have been the pros and cons?
I like it because it’s competitive and the weight room is my second home.
I feel comfortable and like hanging out with all the other athletes.
The pros are the places you get to go, the medals you win, and the friendships you make.
The cons are the disappointment you sometimes experience, but that just gives you more of a reason to train and get better.

What has been the key to your success so far? Can you provide a tip to getting started for novices?
The key for me has been the great coach I have, the family, school and community support and how driven I am to qualify for a worlds team and to hopefully make it to the 2016 Olympics.
The one tip I have is to just get into a gym, and to not get discouraged at the beginning. I was a horrible lifter when I first started, it takes a lot of work to get recognized and be competitive.

What does the future hold for you? Do you plan on continuing lifting in college?
I plan on either going to LSU Shreveport because they have an Olympic Development Center or attending Missouri Western and training at the Wesley Center in St. Joseph.