Annalise Hayes lifting some serious weights.

Photo Credit: Sean Hayes | Comox Valley Now

The 12-year-old VanIsle Strong Woman

Courtenay girl is lifting way above her pay grade

She’s the youngest competitor in Canada, and she’s breaking records

Everyone knows the saying, “Like Father, Like Daughter.”

Well, 12-year-old Annalise Hayes is fully embodying this saying. Her father is local strongman Sean Hayes. She’s not only following in his footsteps, she’s sprinting right past him.

She may be the youngest competitor in Canada, but she’s absolutely dominating the sport, setting provincial records in competitions.

Annalise set the provincial record for Women’s U19 with a 110.2-pound log clean and press, and for axle deadlift at 301 pounds.

Annalise told Comox Valley Now she loves the sport and how far she’s come over the last few years.

“I feel really good,” said Annalise. “I’m really proud of myself and how well I’m doing, and I’ve built a lot of confidence doing the sport.”

Her father owns and operates Hayes Garage Gym and is the all-time world record holder in the silver dollar deadlift. He told Comox Valley Now she is built for the sport and improving rapidly.

“Our bodies are so similar so she has certain lifts, like her deadlift and log press, which are some of the same lifts that I naturally took to and was good at,” said Sean.

“On the other side, there are lifts that she struggles with, the same ones I do, that I’ve been through and I can help her out with these small adjustments that have helped me get where I’m at.”

Sean added that Annalise has the best attitude and sportsmanship. She’ll be the first person to go up and congratulate anyone, even if it’s her own competition.

Annalise seconded this, saying her favourite part of competing is the camaraderie between competitors.

She encouraged anyone else who’s been thinking of starting in the sport to go out and “do it.”

“Start out, see how you go and always surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed and that will really help,” said Annalise. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or that you won’t be good because if you believe in yourself, you can do it.”

Annalise is pushing the limits of what is possible for her age group, all while giving the Valley a pretty awesome rep.

Just like her father, we can’t wait to see her continue.