Uplifting experience: Phay sets three state records

It didn’t take Sherry Phay long to muscle her way to the top of Washington state powerlifting.

Phay, a Greenbank resident, set state records in her division in the squat (110 kgs), bench press (71.3 kgs) and deadlift (145 kgs) at the RAB Fitness Brawl in Kennewick Saturday, Nov. 19.

Those marks topped the previous state records she set in her first-ever competition last May.

Phay, who competes in the Masters (40-44) division and 82.5 kg class, began lifting three years ago and started to “focus on powerlifting (squat, bench press, deadlift) only since last February,” she said.

“I enter competitions regularly three-to-five times a year and have my sights set on qualifying for national level competitions in July 2017.”

First, she is jumping out of her “comfort zone” to compete in a 10K run in December, and then she will head to the Hybrid Powerlifting/Crossfit competition in January in Lynnwood.

In addition to qualifying for the 2017 national meet, she wants to “continue to train and progress in this sport, obtain powerlifting coaching certification to add to my credentials and hopefully open my own gym to share my knowledge and experience.”

Phay currently coaches the competitors class at South Island Crossfit in Clinton, which includes Olympic and power lifting.

Phay’s athletic endeavors center on Crossfit and powerlifting: “If you saw how I’m built, you’d probably agree that I have a body built for powerlifting.”

With Crossfit, and then powerlifting, she discovered sports in which she could excel, be challenged by and perform for the rest of her life.

“Competitions have age divisions up to age 80-plus,” she said. “The competitions keep me motivated to train and stay fit, and the community is really supportive.”

She also receives support from her husband Jon Phay and daughters Sofia, 7, and Brenna, 4.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this if they weren’t so supportive,” she said. “Scheduling training can be challenging with school-aged kids, work and life in general. Priorities really need to be set and revisited regularly. It’s definitely a team effort.”

Phay, who works at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as a blood and morrow transplant nurse, said she is lucky to live somewhere with such a variety of fitness activities.

“Health and strength shouldn’t be viewed as optional, a luxury or an extra, but rather should be actively pursued and viewed as preventative medicine for one’s longevity and quality of life.”

And she will lift to that.