Girls Weightlifter of the Year: GHS' Jessica Kinsler

Gainesville’s Jessica Kinsler, 16, is the state’s 154-pound-class champion and The Sun’s Girls Weightlifter of the Year.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 2, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.


After winning the District 4 title and placing third at the FHSAA state meet in the 154-pound class as a freshman, Kinsler had a breakout sophomore campaign. At the Keystone Heights Invitational she placed first at the 154-pound class when she bench pressed 200 pounds, followed by a clean and jerk of 165 pounds for a winning total of 365 pounds. Kinsler also excelled in the two biggest meets of the season. In the District 4 state qualifying meet at Belleview, Kinsler took home her second straight district with a 210 bench press and a clean and jerk of 160 for a title winning total of 370 pounds. Two weeks later, Kinsler ended her season in grand fashion as she became the second GHS girls weightlifter to claim an individual state title. At the FHSAA state meet at The Kissimmee Civic Center, Kinsler bench pressed a 154-pound class state finals record 210 pounds. That surpassed the previous mark of 200 pounds set by Santa Fe's Rebekah Babston in 2005 and matched by Port Orange Spruce Creek's Kristian Rainge-Campbell in 2009. Kinsler followed with a clean and jerk of 165 pounds for a state championship clinching total of 375. Kinsler enjoyed a 30-pound margin of victory over state runner-up Sarah Barchard of New Smyrna Beach.

"She is one of the hardest working lifters I have ever coached," GHS coach Steve Bauer said. "She said that she was going to win a state championship and she did it."

Personal notes

Jessica Kinsler's younger sister Janice Kinsler, was a state meet qualifier this season. Their older sister Jasmine Kinsler, a two-time state qualifier for GHS, placed third in the 101-pound weight class in the 2007 FHSAA state meet. Jessica said Jasmine was an inspiration for her this season. Jessica Kinsler, who said she was on a no-sugar diet and ate a lot of carrots in order to make weight this season, added there is a possibility she might have to move up a weight class next year. Jessica Kinsler is also a member of the Hurricanes junior varsity softball team and said that she plans on throwing the shot put for the Hurricanes track team next spring.


"I wasn't sure there was a lifter of the year award. I let out a scream, I was happy," said Kinsler after being told she won the award by her coach Steve Bauer.

"I won state and now I was named lifter of the year, two great accomplishments for 2012.

"Coach Bauer wanted a state champion. I just had to make his dreams come true."

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