Jun. 15—In only 16 months of competition, Sophia Gentile has made a name for herself as one of the nation's top teen powerlifters.
The Franklin Park resident's efforts have translated into competition victories and both national and world records, and she is excited to keep pushing forward in the sport.
"This all is a great feeling that shows hard work does pay off," Gentile said.
Gentile, an online rising senior at PA Cyber, most recently was busy at the USA Powerlifting Federation's Teen and National High School Championships on May 29 in Aurora, Colo. More than 500 teens from across the country were in competition over four days.
She finished first in her age and weight class (varsity and -57 Kg.) in the high school national championship with an overall total of 766.1 pounds for the squat, bench and deadlift.
Gentile's 766.1 total also placed her second in her age and weight class (16-17, -57 Kg.) in the teen national competition.
Her squat total of 336.2 pounds broke both the state and American records for the Female Raw Teen 2, -57 Kg. class by 20 pounds.
"There were so many people there at nationals. Once you get lifting and people are cheering you on, it makes it a thousand times better," said Gentile, who notes that the squat is her top discipline and her favorite, as well.
Gentile grew up in an athletic environment with interests in softball and basketball.
She later was introduced to CrossFit and found a love of being in top shape while also getting stronger. That led to powerlifting and to related competition.
At the encouragement of family members, Gentile increased her training, and it led to her competition debut at a meet in Allentown, Pa., in Feb. 2020.
She wasted no time in making an impact as she set nationals records for squat (266.8) and bench (148.8) in the 13-15 age and -56 Kg. weight classes.
Covid made for an uncertain competition schedule in 2020, but it didn't slow Gentile's training.
She was able to find equipment so when the gyms shut down, she was able to continue to train in her garage.
The results from Allentown and Gentile's desire for more took her to Columbus, Ohio, last September for the United States Powerlifting Association Federation Nationals. She added a national record in the squat (281.1) and International Powerlifting League world records in the squat (281.1) and bench (170.9) for the 16-17, -60 Kg. division.
Gentile bumped up to the -60 Kg. weight class to be eligible for those world records. It was a strategy that paid off.
In March, Gentile made her mark at a meet in Youngstown where she set 16-17, -56 Kg. national records for both the squat (326.3) and bench (181.9).
In all, she owns 12 state, six national and two world records in the USPA Federation. All of her records are from drug-tested meets in the female raw category.
"It's been an incredible ride so far," said Kristin Gentile, Sophia's mother.
There are no immediate competitions for Gentile this summer, but she is looking forward to returning to meets in the fall. She is staying in shape and maintaining strength with CrossFit several times a week.
"I am excited for what is ahead," Sophia Gentile said.
"I have a lot of people helping me, including my coaches, and I can't wait to see what I am able to do in the future."
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, email@example.com or via Twitter .