Taylor and Rochelle Longstreth have been powerlifters for multiple years but had never competed in a meet the size of World Powerlifting Championships in Orlando in November.
“We had been to a world-level lift before in Idaho but nobody wants to go to Idaho,” Taylor said with a laugh. “People from other countries want to go to Orlando and Disney World. There were 21 other countries present.
“I felt the pressure, not going to lie.”
“Because I’ve done so much I’m usually more relaxed,” Rochelle added. “But because it was a World (meet), yeah, I was pretty dang nervous.”
The sisters from Fruitland, however, overcame their nerves quickly and had career days.
Rochelle, entered in the teenage 18-19-year-old division at 187.5 pounds, broke world records in squat (286.6), bench (137.7), deadlift (308) and total (685.7) on her way to winning the World Powerlifting Championships.
The lifts were originally measured in kilos and converted to pounds, hence the decimals in each category.
“It feels great,” Rochelle said. “I’m not a person to brag but it’s pretty dang awesome.”
Taylor, meanwhile, set personal records in squat, bench and deadlift on her way to winning the title in the juniors’ 181-pound division. She squatted 286.6, benched 137.7 and deadlifted 297.5 for a total of 721.8. The total of the three lifts is what determines the winner.
“It was very wholesome in the end,” Taylor said. “I was able to pull off first place and got a (personal record) in every lift. It ended up being a really good day and just a wonderful experience.”
Taylor has been powerlifting for just more than four years and Rochelle for three. They have competed in meets across the country, including a meet in Lyle, Illinois, to qualify for the World Championships in Orlando.
However, it’s unlikely either one ever finds the sport without a Google search from their father and coach, Lance Longstreth.
“I lifted more like cardio style lifting for school because I was a thrower in track,” Taylor explained. “I ended up having a proficiency for squat and my dad, I don’t know how he found it, he must have been looking up squat form on the internet one day and ran across the powerlifting style.
“He ran across this competition and was like, 'Hey, you’re pretty good at squat. Why don’t we do this?’”
A year after Taylor and her father started, Rochelle joined in what has turned into the family sport for the Longstreths.
“I like to be very different from my sister and I try not to copy,” Rochelle said. “But just the fact that we are girls in a male-dominant sport, that’s awesome. This year I’ve seen so many girls get into it and when we started it wasn’t that many.”
It hasn’t always been easy, though.
Taylor transferred to the University of Iowa to study nuclear medicine, but has since switched to human physiology exercise science. She took six months away from lifting while getting acclimated in Iowa City but eventually found the time to lift three times a week. She also started going home on the weekends with her sister and her father as the sisters go back into competition.
For as tough as that transition was for Taylor, it was tough on Rochelle, too.
“It kind of hit me hard because I was lifting with her three days out of the five-day week,” Rochelle said. “It was hard because she was gone.”
Fast forward a year-and-a-half and both sisters are incredibly proud of what they accomplished in Orlando. Their next lift will be in February in Iowa City.
“I had no idea this is where it would end up,” Taylor said. “I remember my first meet thinking, ‘Wow, this is such an interesting feeling and thing to participate in.’
“I had no idea this is where it could take us.”