Cass channels her inner beast
POWERLIFTING: Her mind is clear, the jarbs are meaningless and her inner beast is channelled.
In this frame of mind, nothing can stop Emerald powerlifter Cass Pickard.
The rigorous hours slaving her body in the gym have shaped her 63 kilos for the strains of competition. She was ready to conquer the world.
Last week the New Zealand born athlete powered her way to a gold medal in the Australasian Powerlifting Championships in Christchurch.
Incredibly she broke the Australasian record in the deadlift and overall haul.
Prior to lifting, she doesn't play music, wear lucky undies or even pray. Her secret is closer to the heart.
"My Mum Rose died at a young age from a stroke and that's what I dig into," Cass revealed.
"Sometimes for those big lifts I have to go towards my mother inside, my inner beast and dig deep.
"You have the technique ready, you have to be mentally ready, so I turn off everything and focus on her.
"My strength is my family, my culture and that's how I do it."
Pickard, who comes from a long line of sporting stars, including some All Blacks, cleared a 192kg deadlift for the first time in a competition.
While she was unable to compete for her home nation, her adopted one will do just fine. Even her family say she is an Aussie now.
She went over with a goal of personal bests in all three lifts.
"Even though I missed out on the squat, I am really happy to get the two. Squats are the hardest ones for me and I am gutted to miss it, but I know I will get it next year.
"I didn't realise about the Oceanic record though, that was a huge bonus.
"I actually find it easier lifting in my own gym, not in comps. Comps are exciting but with everything going on its a lot harder.
"Sometimes I feel like a little girl when all the nerves and anxiety kick in."
In her pet lift, the deadlift, she had a crack at the legendary 200kg mark. A hurdle she it yet to clear.
"I have a 200kg lift in me, I know it. It came up off the ground but it just didn't line up for me," she explained.
"I got the bar nearly up to my knee but I couldn't lock both knees. It all needs to work spot on and it came uneven."
Her 192.5kg record breaker though? Magical.
"It felt easy," she laughed.
"Like magic. That lift was nearly technically perfect, it felt like 100kgs.
"It was just a great end to the year and now I can build on that momentum."
Up next, the World Championships in Belarus, her family in tow.