St Hilda's pupils Grace Schrader (left) and Hannah Perkins at weightlifting training in the school gymnasium. Photo by Craig Baxter.
They were mates at Heriot Primary School, parted company, and
renewed their friendship as boarders at St Hilda's
Grace Schrader (18) and Hannah Perkins (17) started
weightlifting together this year.
Both have also been rugby players, and members of the St
Hilda's First XV. Schrader is a No 8 and Perkins a hooker.
Perkins was in the Otago team at the South Island junior
tournament in Gore and was named player of the tournament.
''We started weightlifting together this year to get fit for
rugby,'' Schrader said.
Their physical education teacher, Alan West, recognised their
potential. The girls joined the Otago Weightlifting
Association and were coached by Mark White.
They had immediate success.
Schrader won the New Zealand secondary schools championships
in Auckland in the 69kg class and followed it up a month
later by winning the national junior title in Christchurch.
Perkins broke the Otago junior record in the 53kg class with
a snatch (39kg) and clean and jerk (48kg), for a total of
She was marginally above this weight and had to compete in
the heavier 58kg class at the New Zealand secondary schools
championships and finished third.
Perkins had injured both shoulders and missed the New Zealand
But she made the journey to Christchurch to support her
''Weightlifting is a mental test and not just about physical
strength,'' she said.
Schrader has also been helped by the sport.
''It has taught me a lot about being determined and
independent and how to motivate myself,'' Schrader said.
''I have learned to set goals for myself, be persistent, keep
trying and not give up if I fail with a lift.''
The friends did not see each other for six years after the
Schrader family shifted to a beef and dairy farm at
Woodlands, in Southland.
Both girls are keen to qualify for the Oceania Games in 2015
and are looking further ahead to the Commonwealth Games in
Names: Grace Schrader (18) and Hannah Perkins (17).
School: St Hilda's Collegiate.
Schrader (69kg class): Gold medals at NZ secondary
school championships, NZ junior championships and South
Island junior championships. Personal bests: clean and
jerk (70kg), snatch (50kg), total (120kg).
Hannah Perkins (59kg class): Third, NZ secondary
schools; gold medal, South Island junior championships; Otago
junior record (53kg class) snatch (48kg), clean and jerk
(39kg), total (87kg).