Jen Ferguson is strongest woman in North America

Prior to competing for the North America Strongest Woman's title, Jen Ferguson knew in her mind she was already a champion.

In the last year she was dedicated to training four days a week, undergoing a unique transformation as well as balancing her busy family and professional life.

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But to actually go out and win the championship and the trophy is another thing.

Ferguson did just that two weeks ago in Las Vegas at the Olympia Powerlifting Invitational, winning the North America Strongest Woman's heavyweight masters division against four others.

"It's only my second meet I've ever done," said Ferguson, 40. "To win is just over the top and amazing. All the work I did, committing yourself to something...

"My mind just zeroed in on the weights I had to do. The training took over and I trusted the training. I kept calm. The other athletes were amazing and supportive, cheering each other on."

Ferguson is a palliative care registered nurse who travels around the region as a consultant. She's also a married mom of two kids who coaches their softball teams.

And she found the time to train (at the XConditioning Gym) for the feat of strength like no other.

In Las Vegas, she had one minute to do as many repetitions as possible in hoisting a 155-pound log, a framed dead lift of 425 pounds and an 85-pound circus dumb bell.

She managed two reps of the log and tied for second place; she won the deadlift after pushing 13 reps and tied for second place after three repetitions with the dumb bell.

Carrying a 200-pound sandbag, she ran with it for 150 feet to win the event. She clocked nine seconds after carrying a 450-pound yoke on her shoulders for 60 feet.

She accumulated enough points (17) to be crowned the champion, beating her next closest competitor by half a point.

Ferguson's appearance in the Olympia strongest woman contest was her first. She qualified for it by winning the Level 2 North America Strongest Woman qualifier last spring in Chilliwack.

Ferguson said she learned a lot through the process.

"You can choose what you want to be. I'm not done yet," she said, adding there's a possibility of competing in the open division next year. "There's next year. I learned that I have that drive within to compete at that level. I wasn't sure. They (trainers Mike Webber and Tara Green) told me I was good."

Webber said Ferguson is the first one from the gym to compete at that high of a level.

"I'm very proud since she only started six to eight months ago and to get to where she is now is amazing," he said.

Webber and Green were also competing in Las Vegas.

Webber, 45, won the Global Powerlifting Committee (GPC) world championship in the 275-pound Master 2 division.

He squatted 925 pounds, equaling a personal best, pushed 666 pounds on the bench press and managed 672 pounds on his dead lift for a total of 2,263 pounds.

His bench press and total are new world records. He had hoped to squat 1,000 pounds.

"On the bench I opened with 609 pounds which was a new world record, but I hurt my left elbow during warm-ups," he said. "My next lift was 666 pounds.

"I didn't get the squat I wanted - I got it up but I fell backwards."

Green, 25, was back for the second straight year vying for the Mr. Olympia women's title. A year ago, she finished second overall and won the heavyweight division in the 82.5-kilogram division in the squat, bench press and dead lift events.

This time though, she had a few suit issues which prevented her from getting a squat total.

She did, however, set a new personal record in the dead lift with 468 pounds.

While it did not work out as planned for Green on the competition mat, she and Webber decided at the last minute to tie the knot a day later.

Together for six years, they'll celebrate their honeymoon at the Arnold Classic 2016 in Columbus, Ohio, next spring.

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