When Karissa Jackson joined the Matanzas High School girls weightlifting team last year there were no recorded school records for the 139-pound weight class.
Now, the records need to be written in pencil. They change just about every time Jackson competes.
Jackson set a new record total at a dual meet against Seabreeze on Jan. 12. She bench-pressed 160 pounds and lifted 140 in the clean and jerk for a personal- and school-record total of 300 pounds. That total placed sixth at last year's Class 2A state meet.
Not bad for the senior honor student and Matanzas' Student School Board member who hardly lifted a weight before joining the team last season.
Coach Jeremy Ossler was looking for girls to join the team last season when numbers were down with some students opting for remote learning. He asked Jackson, who is a defender on the Pirates' lacrosse team, if she was interested.
"Friends convinced me to do it," she said.
Jackson — who is ranked among the top 10 in her class, is the president of the Matanzas Honor Society and vice president of the Leo Club and was a member of the Flagler Youth Orchestra for 10 years — doesn't go into any endeavor halfway.
"It's one of those things I think she found a passion for," Ossler said.
Her only previous experience in the weight room was during preseason conditioning for lacrosse. She said, as a freshman, she struggled to lift the bar up.
She said she doesn't know what happened to her between 10th and 11th grade, but she obviously got a lot stronger.
In her first season last year, Jackson finished fourth at districts in the 139-pound class with a 120-115—235 to qualify for regionals. This season, she wants to qualify for state.
With her steady improvement, she could wind up winning a medal.
"I love weightlifting," she said. "Everyone is so supportive in the weight room. Even the girls from other teams support you and cheer you on. It's a judgment-free zone. Nobody judges you if you lift 45 pounds."