Building relationships through powerlifting

Four Maize High students are tied together by a unique sport

Carly Walker and Abbigail Kelley

Balancing relationships and powerlifting doesn’t always seem easy, but for sophomores Beth Whitney, AJ Bensing, Ava Geurian, and Isaiah Willems they found an interest in it and each have grown in their love for it. 


AJ Bensing and Beth Whitney pose for a photo after “Trial by Iron.” Whitney placed first and set a state deadlift record.

Beth Whitney, a student at Maize High school, was aware of the sport at a young age because her parents were bodybuilders. She felt hesitant to commit to such a restrictive sport, but it wasn’t until she met her boyfriend, AJ Bensing, that she began powerlifting. “I never had enough dedication to a diet to bodybuild, so I found powerlifting once I met AJ,” Whitney said. 

Bensing started lifting roughly three years ago. He found interest in the sport through his dad who influenced him to start. This was only the beginning of his journey into powerlifting. He continued to pursue the sport and grew from it. Bensing now attends frequent meets and has gone undefeated. 

“There is more room to see improvement every time you go, so it keeps you motivated,” Bensing said regarding his meets.

Whitney believes lifting helped the two find common ground and brought them closer. Together, they have grown in their fitness journey, as well as their relationship. Whitney and Bensing now attend meets together and continue to train and get ready for their next competition. 

Ava Geurian, a close friend of the couple, has been lifting for a year now and although she doesn’t compete, she still enjoys it. powerlifting. She was introduced to the sport by her boyfriend, Isaiah Willems, who competes himself. 

Willems started bodybuilding two years ago and was inspired by Bensing. He now trains consistently and attends bodybuilding meets for Maize High school. He plans to continue his training in hopes of making it into a career and strives to succeed in the future.

It’s no question powerlifting has brought each couple together but also has another benefit.

“Powerlifting makes me feel more accomplished,” Whitney said.