Belvoir Soldier, Sgt. Carlecia Richardson, U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion, 701st Military Police Group (CID), poses with the three first-place medals she won at the USA Powerlifting Virginia Summer Slam, July 13 in Manassas.

Fort Belvoir is known for being home to some of the Army’s most competitive athletes, and last week, yet another of its Soldiers emerged triumphant in a major weightlifting championship tournament held July 13 in Manassas, Va.Sgt. Carlecia Richard, assigned to U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion, 701st Military Police Group (CID), claimed three, first-place medals in the USA Powerlifting Virginia Summer Slam—a stellar achievement, considering this was Richardson’s first powerlifting meet.

Richardson earned the first-place honors in all three of powerlifting’s three main lift categories: squat, bench and dead lift. By the end of competition, she had placed first in the Women’s 72 kg (158.7 pounds) Raw Open Division and the Women’s Raw Police, Fire and Military Division with a lifting total of 395 kg (870.8 pounds). She was also awarded the Women’s Best Lifter Medal for holding the highest overall percentage of lift-to-bodyweight ratio.

In the squat event, Richardson lifted 287.6 pounds (135 kg). In the bench press, she lifted 198.4 pounds (90 kg). In the deadlift part of the competition, she pulled 374.7 pounds (170 kg) off the floor to win the title. 

Such results indicate Richardson’s overall approach to fitness, a major aspect of a Soldier’s life, with respect to maintaining operational readiness, especially one serving in the PSB, a unit responsible for protecting the Secretary of Defense, the Army Chief of Staff and other senior civilian and military officials of the Defense Department. 

“I have always strived to get 300s on the Army Physical Fitness Test; fitness enables me to be a more productive leader and member of the team,” Richardson said. “I began performing the squat, bench press and dead lift about two years ago, because I wanted to become stronger. I normally get to the gym six times a week. But for (the Summer Slam) event, my lifting coach had me on a strict, four-day-a-week training schedule.” 

For Richardson, physical fitness is all about continual growth and setting goals, combined with focus, dedication and hard work. The approach clearly pays dividends.

“Powerlifting is rewarding because you can observe your progression on the bar,” she said. “I remember dreaming about squatting 225 pounds. I’ve accomplished that andnow I dream about squatting 315 pounds. There is so much patience and discipline involved in powerlifting, and that also makes me a better Soldier.” 

For such a dedicated athlete who earned three first-place titles in her first competition, the obvious question now is: what’s next.

“I want to compete on the national level,” she said. “I’m going to be busy with my career for the next few months, so that may have to wait until next year. But I will get there.”