Thursday, February 11, 2016

Anna McCloskey never stops

Shot-putter Anna McCloskey will make her first appearance at the Penn Relays.
Shot-putter Anna McCloskey will make her first appearance at the Penn Relays. LOU RABITO / Inquirer Staff

Anna McCloskey won't rest - not even on Sundays.

On a spring weekday, the Cardinal O'Hara junior thrower has been known to go from school to track practice, to lacrosse practice, back home, then to the gym before doing her homework and going to bed.

Nevertheless, McCloskey spends the final morning of every weekend, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., working out with former Glen Mills track and field coach Barry Swanson at his Wilmington, Del., facility, Train Hard-Win Big.

"At age 11, she got into the weight room, and she's been there ever since," said her father, Bob, 47, a former Marine who is Glen Mills' imposing power-lifting coach.

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Such commitment has vaulted, or thrown, Anna McCloskey into the 116th annual Penn Relays for Thursday's 11 a.m. girls' shot-put championship.

"I'm a little nervous, but it's more anticipation" McCloskey said about her first Penn Relays appearance. "I like big competitions. They get me a little more pumped."

In sixth grade, McCloskey said she entered the weight room to improve her strength for the shot put. Natural ability and training led McCloskey to take up power lifting competitively.

Now, the 17-year-old stars in two separate arenas.

Last Sunday, one day after posting top throws in the shot put and discus at the Great Valley Joseph R. Kellerman Relays, McCloskey squatted 580 pounds at the International Powerlifting Association Powerpalooza in York, Pa.

That squat set an IPA elite amateur world record and ranks 10th all-time by any woman in McCloskey's weight class, regardless of age or division.

In track and field, McCloskey has attracted Division I interest from North Carolina, Michigan State, Vermont, Ithaca, Lehigh, and Lafayette after placing sixth in the shot put at the PTFCA indoor state championships, March 6 at Penn State.

She threw a personal best 41 feet, 41/4 inches.

"Her confidence level is a lot better right now," said Swanson, her trainer. She is far from reaching her ceiling as a thrower, he added.

Despite this being McCloskey's first high school Penn Relays, she is no stranger to Franklin Field.

In seventh grade, McCloskey broke the CYO Delaware County shot put record with a throw of 36-3 at the Archdiocesan Championships held at the famous University of Pennsylvania track.

On Monday, McCloskey held the old newspaper clipping of her middle school achievement.

"We've still got it on the fridge," McCloskey said.

The McCloskeys are going to need a bigger fridge.


For The Inquirer
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