In her first season as a track and field competitor, Lili Charlier finished third in shot put in the state of Virginia's outdoor meet and placed fourth in its indoor meet.
"I didn't know throwing a metal ball could be so much fun," Charlier said.
In discus, she qualified for the Virginia state meet, but said she didn't place highly.
Charlier, whose family moved to Brainerd last fall, didn't have any trouble placing high in the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Meet April 1 at St. John's University. She threw the shot 42 feet, 7 inches, shattering a 25-year-old meet record by 2.5 inches. Charlier's CLC record toss placed her second in Brainerd Warrior girls program history, trailing only Maria Swanson's 42-8 throw in 2004.
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- Sport: Track and field
- Events: Shot put, discus
- Year: Junior
- Age: 17
- Height: 5-10
- Career highlight: Finishing one inch away from Warrior girls school record at CLC indoor meet
- Other sports: Football
- Grade-point average: 3.7
- Favorite class: American History
- Favorite food: Pizza
- Favorite movie: "Princess Bride"
- Favorite TV show: "Walking Dead"
- Favorite social media: Instagram
- Future plans: Attend college, hopefully compete in track and field
- Favorite athlete: Olympic shot put champion Michelle Carter
- Parents: Hara and Russell Charlier
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The Warrior junior surprised herself at the CLC meet because she wasn't having her best day of throwing.
"My first three throws were not over 40," she said. "They were about 38, 37. I was feeling very down on myself. Coach (Chet) Stevenson looked at me and said, 'Lili, all it takes is one throw,' and I said, 'All right, it's go time.'
"The last throw I was focused on fast, speed, quickness, and go. That's what got me 42-7. I was so happy because it was a PR (personal record) for me. I had never thrown that far. 42 was a good way to start the season."
Warrior girls throwing coach Mike Langer said he and Charlier had been working on a different rotation technique during preseason practice. But before Charlier began competing at the CLC meet they decided she should continue doing her normal glide technique.
"She had a couple disappointing throws initially," Langer said, "but when the pressure was on, she uncorked a great throw."
Charlier believes shot put is more about strength, while discus is more about technique.
"I have a lot of respect for people who are good in discus," she said. "My (maximums) in weightlifting have definitely helped with my shot put. The strength aspect of it is the good part of it for me."
In her brief time at BHS, Charlier has become an accomplished weightlifter. During the Sunrise Sertoma Warrior Liftathon March 7-8, she bench pressed a girls meet-record 245 pounds, smashing that mark by 45 pounds, and squatted a girls meet-record 350 pounds, 20 more than the previous standard. She also clean and jerked 190.
"I had never experienced anything like that before," Charlier said of the Liftathon. "The energy in the room was crazy. I was hoping to break the bench record, not necessarily by that much, but I'm glad I did. I was hoping to break the squat record, but I didn't really think I would. Next year I hope to break the clean record.
"It was an awesome day. It was cool to see everybody there."
Stevenson, who coaches Warrior boys throwers, also works with Charlier on throwing shot put and discus. He has taken Charlier to two Olympic powerlifting meets where she excelled despite never before having attempted Olympic powerlifting which feature clean and jerk and snatch lifts. During a powerlifting meet at Little Falls, Charlier qualified for the state meet at Lakeville South High School where she captured the state championship in the 90-plus kilo class.
"She's a powerhouse is what she is," Stevenson said. "... She's a very conscientious lifter. She works really hard and has a great personality so she blends in with the other kids really well. She's a born leader in that respect. She's been a good addition to our student body and our athletic organization."
Charlier said, before moving to Brainerd, she had never heard of snatch or clean and jerk lifts.
"When coach Stevenson wanted me to start doing this, I said, "Are you crazy? This looks scary,'" Charlie said. "But I started doing it. It helps with explosiveness, speed and throwing the shot put.
Of the state meet at Lakeville, Charlier said, "It was crazy. It was a very close competition. Me and another girl both lifted the same amount of weight. She screwed up twice (on a technicality), I only screwed up once."
Langer said the strength Charlier has gained from weightlifting makes her a talented thrower.
"She's also very athletic, very quick, and has great feet," Langer added. "We forget she's only in her second year in track."
Next fall, Charlier intends to go out for her second season of Warrior football. She played noseguard last fall and thinks she may be moved to the offensive line this fall.
"It was the best experience of my life," she said. "I had so much fun with the guys, the coaches. The amount of support and encouragement I received was unbelievable. I'm excited for next season. It will be a great time.
"I honestly love Brainerd. It's a school full of opportunities. I couldn't be more grateful for the people I've met."
Other notable efforts:
• Jeff Spieker, boys track, won the 60 hurdles at the CLC Indoor and won the 110 and 300 hurdles vs. Little Falls.
• Greg Rider, boys track, won shot put at the CLC Indoor and the discus and shot put vs. Little Falls.
• Meritt Miller, girls track, won the 800 and 1600 runs vs. Little Falls and the 3200 at the Warrior Invite.
• Tanner Lundberg, boys tennis, won his first five matches of the season at No. 1 singles.