OREGON CITY HIGH SCHOOL THREE-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Fall 1997
Special repeat article from the Fall 1996 Journal
Oregon City High School dominates in girl's basketball. Oregon City is located just outside Portland with a population of nearly 18,000 people.
Last year I was impressed with the first two national championships and wondered if they did anything with weights. I called them and found that they did indeed lift weights and also did a lot of BFS training principles. Intrigued, I ask Coach Smith about doing a story on the team. He agreed and had Ashley Smith 5-4 120 pound All-American guard, Brianne Mebarry, 6-1 165 pound All-American guard, Lindsey Yamasaki 6-2 160 pound returning starter for next season and Cherisse Fowler, 5-9 135 pounds waiting for me when I arrived.
What a tremendous pleasure it was to be around them. They were so upbeat and eager to learn. When God handed out wholesome pills, he emptied everything into those girls. What a delight. I ended up doing a two-hour clinic for them. They had not learned how to do Power Cleans as yet. Fortunately, we had some BFS training plates. The photos in this article were taken about 15 minutes after they were introduced to the Power Clean. As you can see, they were fast learners. Their form is great! (Photos will be added at a later date.)
I was impressed with their grades. (Ashley:3.8, Linsey:3.6, Brianne:3.5 and Cherisse:3.8) They have a non-complacent attitude. Most people after winning two national championships in a row would get big heads but not these girls. I was totally impressed.
Ashley also plays soccer and volleyball. She coaches a Little League team with Brianne and Cherisse. They are also involved together in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. If that wasn't enough, Ashley is in student council. She Benches 65 for three sets of ten and Parallel Squats 135 pounds also for three sets of ten.
Linsey plays volleyball, Benches 85 X two sets of 5 reps and Parallel Squats 145 X 3 X 10 reps. Brianne plays piano and Benches 65 X 3 X 10 reps. Cherisse Benches 55 for 3 X 10 reps.
As they lifted and learned technique during our mini-clinic, these four outstanding girls candidly answered questions pertaining to weight training for women athletes. The following are their responses:
IS LIFTING WEIGHTS JUST A MAN THING?
Ashley: That's like saying Basketball is only a guy's game.
Lindsey: Girl's need to get strong too.
Brianne: Guys are naturally strong so it's even more important for girls to weight train.
Cherisse: We are not doing it to bulk up but to get stronger and better.
WILL WEIGHTS SCREW UP YOUR TOUCH?
Ashley: You can adjust by just practicing.
Lindsey: When you play and lift, your body adjusts.
Brianne: I don't believe it!
Cherisse: All you need to do is have balance in your training.
WHAT ABOUT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
MIXED WITH ATHLETICS?
Ashley: Don't touch it. Don't mess with it. My religious beliefs keep me from doing it. I have never had a drop.
Lindsey: I don't do it because it isn't right. We all have made it clear to our friends that we don't do that stuff. So there is no social pressure now.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL
OR DO YOU HAVE ANY SAGE ADVICE?
Ashley: You have only one chance in life so make the best of it. We didn't win the national championship on March 3rd: we won it with three hour practices and obeying the rules.
Lindsey: It takes dedication and hard work. Also, if you are going to play, you should play because you love it.
Brianne: Talent can only take you so far. You have to have a work ethic.
WHAT DO THE GUYS THINK ABOUT
YOU LIFTING WEIGHTS?
Ashley: The guys know this is what we do.
Lindsey: I am getting stronger. So what if you're a girl.
Cherisse: Sometimes they say, "You're such a wimp." But we are National Champions. We aren't going to let them intimidate us.
About three months after our interview and just before we went to press, I called the girls to find out what the effects of our mini-clinic were on their lifting program. Here is what they said:
Lindsey: We worked really hard after you left. We could really tell the difference. It was neat showing other people how to do the lifts.
Brianne: We learned a whole lot. We now watch others and can easily pick out their mistakes.
Cherisse: It's a lot easier to do it now. We notice a difference. Sometimes we tell the guys about their mistakes. It makes me feel cool that I now know what to look for.
The results: Another National Championship!