April 21, 2004

Student-teacher set for Olympic quest

Though it may not be as hard as corralling a roomful of five-year-olds, Katherine Redcher Bowling is facing a heavy challenge. The CSUS student and kindergarten teacher is competing for the chance to represent the United States as a weightlifter at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

On May 7 and 8 Redcher Bowling will be in St. Joseph, Mo. taking part in the USA Weightlifting Olympic Team Trials. To do so, Redcher-Bowling had to rank among the top 30 female lifters in the country – she’s currently 26th. Last year she won a gold medal in her weight class at the U.S. National Championships. She has also competed in the World Team Trials and last year’s Mermet Cup competition versus Australia.

Women’s weightlifting debuted as an Olympic event at the 2000 Games. Olympic weightlifters compete in both snatch, and clean and jerk, with rank determined by combined total. Two competitors from each weight class will be selected for the Olympic team.

Redcher Bowling, who is pursuing a master’s degree in education while teaching at Sacramento's Camellia Elementary School, has been featured on the KCRA TV program “California Gold,” which spotlights hometown connections to the Olympic Games. She also appeared on KMAX TV’s “Good Evening Sacramento.”

For Redcher Bowling, the chance to compete for the Olympic Team is a dream come true and a chance to be an ambassador for her sport. “By qualifying for the Olympic Trials I have met all my weightlifting goals. This opportunity has allowed me to give weightlifting the public exposure it has been lacking,” says the long-time member and former president of the University’s Olympic Weighting Club. ”Everyone around me now knows what weightlifting is and they are excited about it. On the flip side, I hope to bring similar recognition to CSUS and the club at the trials.”

She gives credit to her teammates and her husband-coach Paul Bowling for helping her through a training schedule that has grown to four days a week. “Being a half-time student, full-teacher and full-time weightlifter has forced me to really put a lot of planning into every minute of the day,” she says. “I’m getting mental training and support from all my peers.”

Redcher Bowling isn’t the only CSUS student with Olympic dreams. Long jumper Brandon Parker may represent University’s track team when the campus hosts the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials this summer.

Parker has already earned a spot in the NCAA championships in June and has a chance to qualify for the Trials in July. The senior from Stockton needs to jump 26 feet, 7 inches to make the field and can qualify during any meet through the rest of the season. His career best – a jump of 25 feet, 9 ¼ inches – broke the University’s long jump record by more than five inches.

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