Weightlifting: Harvey to continue competitive career at Northern Illinois University
Rochelle senior to serve as founding member of Sled Dogs weightlifting club
Rochelle senior Anna Harvey’s passion for competitive weightlifting will remain with her as she begins her academic studies at Northern Illinois University next year. With guidance from her weightlifting coach Dr. Brandon Male, who teaches in the kinesiology department at NIU, Harvey will be the founding member of a new sport club called the Sled Dogs beginning this August.
“My coach and I have been working together for about two years and I was the pilot of his performance program,” Harvey said. “As he was coaching me, he was doing these programs to see how he could work with other athletes and whether or not these programs would be beneficial for them. That’s how our idea started and my coach has brought in student-athletes who have backgrounds in many different sports. We’ve been certified through USA Weightlifting, but as of this August, we’ll be recognized through NIU and we’ll compete in events as a team.”
Harvey said that about 10 student-athletes are committed to participate with the Sled Dogs for the upcoming school year. The club will involve year-round training in competitive weightlifting as well as a small number of events including the annual University Nationals, where schools such as Texas, Florida, Ohio State and more compete for team and individual accolades.
“I’ve always wanted to do a sport in college and I’ve had different opportunities in sports like volleyball, swimming and cheerleading, but I needed to put all of those aside for weightlifting,” Harvey said. “It’s awesome that NIU will be one of the few colleges that will have this kind of weightlifting program. When my coach said that I’d be able to lift with him at NIU, it opened so many doors and I’m really excited to be a student-athlete. I can’t wait to see the sport grow.”
Harvey said she intends to major in health sciences with a minor in kinesiology at NIU in hopes of eventually attending graduate school and pursuing a career as a physician’s assistant. A multi-sport athlete during her time at Rochelle Township High School, Harvey participated in volleyball, basketball and cheerleading. Harvey was named an All-Conference as well as an Academic All-Conference honoree in the Interstate 8 during her senior cheerleading season.
“I can’t wait to keep growing as an athlete,” Harvey said. “It’s going to be a big change from training by myself to training with a group of 10 weightlifters… Our club will be open to athletes of all levels and it’s up to them if they want to compete with the team. Everyone who has committed right now is very serious and as the freshman representative, I’ve been able to talk with other incoming freshmen and transfers who are interested in participating with us.”
Harvey has earned several accolades during her competitive weightlifting career, finishing first in her division at the 2022 Illinois State Weightlifting Championships and taking home the Best Lifter Award in her division during the 2021 Illinois State & Mid-American Weightlifting Championships, where she also placed first in her division.