As the saying goes, there's a first time for everything. Well, what if that first time resulted in a berth at the State Finals? For Rutherford's Deja Bowser, that's her reality. Her first love is cheerleading, but when it was recommended she step up her cheer game by weightlifting, she decided to give the sport a shot.
"I finally decided because it's my senior year, I should just try it," she said. "I mean, I don't have to be the best, but I'll at least try."
Deja's done more then just try, as in her first season on the weightlifting team, she's the only Lady Ram to advance to next weekend's State Finals.
"It's very unusual for a senior to come out first year of weightlifting and succeed," said head weightlifting coach Kirk Harrell. "She's been very athletic with her cheerleading and things like that. So she's been athletic, but just never participated in weightlifting. She's just done a great job this year."
"It hasn't hit me yet that I'm going to state," laughed Deja. "I guess once I get there, I'll get more nervous. I'm not really nervous right now, I'm just kind of enjoying it and taking it all in as I'm going along."
With all that Deja's had to take in, she's done a good job of balancing it all, as along with weightlifting and cheer, she carries a 4.0 unweighted GPA in Rutherford's IB Program.
"I just have to stay on top of things. I can't let myself get behind," she said. "They told us in 9th grade, when I started IB, procrastination is going to be your worst enemy, so defeat that before you ever get into your senior year."
It's a senior year that's turned out a little different than originally planned.
"It's exciting that she's going to the state meet, first year of weightlifting, so it'll be a surprise to her and an exciting time," said coach Harrell. "She's never seen it before, and I'm hoping for the best for her. She's going to do a great job for us."
"You can do it all. It doesn't have to be you're doing sports or academics," said Deja. "You can do both, there is a way to balance it. You just have to have self discipline and keep telling yourself that you can do it and keep striving for what you what."
Kind of like looking for a State Championship in your first year competing. Deja will compete in the Unlimited Weight Class at State on Saturday in Kissimmee. Deja plans on going to Florida State next year and will study Communications, and continue with her main dream- to cheer at the collegiate level.