The year just keeps getting better for Denison powerlifter Kailey Jones.
In March she earned a state championship.
In May she earned a national championship.
And this weekend, she could become a world champion.
“There are parts of it that haven’t really sunk in yet. It is an amazing feeling,” Jones said. “We haven’t taken a break after state. I got that Monday off but that’s it. I want to add as much weight as I can. I want to break records.”
Jones will compete in the International Powerlifting Federation’s 34th World Sub-Junior Championship in Orlando on Friday, looking to continue her success in an event she has really flourished in since bursting onto the scene in high school.
She will take on competitors from around the world ages 18 and under at 181 pounds and is in position to challenge for a top-three finish. It is nothing new as Jones took her ability to the next level in 2017, meeting all challenges along the way.
Jones first earned the state championship in her weight class when she was on the right side of a tie-breaker with College Station’s Katie Lollar at a total of 1,140 pounds, which is a state record at the weight class. She got there by deadlifting 445 pounds, also a state record at that weight class.
Jones went into that lift down 35 pounds after she squatted 450 pounds and benched 245 pounds — efforts that were better than everyone but Lollar. She set the state meet record with that bench press before Lollar surpassed her by five pounds.
That would have been more than enough to cap her junior year. As a freshman she qualified for state and finished 16th with a total of 750 pounds. Then as a sophomore, she was fourth in the 165-pound weight class with a total of 890 pounds that was five pounds from third and 10 pounds from being the state runner-up.
It set the stage for what happened in March. Her continued dedication in the weight room was seen in her results. Jones won the region title for the first time with a total of 1,100 pounds. She blew away the competition by nearly 200 pounds as runner-up Ashtyn Burget, the defending region champ, was at 925 pounds.
Jones had improved her total from 845 pounds when she was the region runner-up as a sophomore to Burget, who took the crown at 880 pounds. Even though Burget had improved over the next year, Jones surged well past her main competition.
“I think a lot of it had to do with technique. That’s a huge jump,” Jones said. “After freshman year, I hadn’t been in the weight room much that summer. We made it a regular thing that next year.”
With a state championship under her belt, Jones trained since her totals earned a spot at the 35th annual U.S. Powerlifting Open National Championships, also held in Orlando.
“Going into nationals, we were looking at a championship. We knew it was up in the air. Had to make sure I did what I needed to do,” Jones said. “Being familiar with the stage helps out. I’m sure I’ll see some of the same faces.”
Jones was ready to compete against the best in the country. She set a pair of national powerlifting records in her age group and won with a record 1,080 pounds and as part of that set the mark by squatting 462 pounds. The performance also allowed her to be selected to the U.S. national team and take on the best in the world.
“I’m very glad to say that I qualified,” Jones said, “but at the same time, getting there I want to go big or go home.”