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Sarasota Athlete of the Week: Mark Monchecourt

The Sarasota High senior weightlifter won the 219-pound class at the Sarasota County Championships.

Mark Monchecourt is a senior weightlifter at Sarasota High.
Mark Monchecourt is a senior weightlifter at Sarasota High.
Photo by Ryan Kohn
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Mark Monchecourt is a senior boys weightlifter at Sarasota High. Monchecourt won the 219-pound weight class at the Sarasota County Championships on March 21 at Venice High. Monchecourt hit 320 pounds clean and jerk and 370 pounds in the bench press for a total 690 pounds, the highest mark at the championships.

When did you start weightlifting?

I started my freshman year. I used to play football here. Our strength coach at the time put me on the team because he thought I looked good (with my technique). I just went from there. 

What was the first actual weightlifting session like?

Honestly, I kind of fell in love with it that first time. I had played football since I was a kid. Weightlifting was so different. I didn't have to rely on my teammates to do anything. It was all on me to do it, and I liked that. 

When did it become more than a hobby to you?

My sophomore year, I started winning a lot of competitions, even against juniors and seniors. That's when I realized I could compete for states. By the start of my senior year, I was focused on that. 

What is the feeling of a weightlifting competition like?

It's nerve-wracking, especially the opening lift. If you don't hit it, you scratch all three other lifts, you're done. The last lift (is pressure-filled) too, because that one is going to be the heaviest you go. I try to go 20 pounds lower than my max on my first lift, just so I know I can hit it. On the second lift, I add 10 pounds. Same with the third lift. On my last lift, I try to hit a new personal record. 

What can you do to lower the anxiety and pressure of a competition?

I just focus on my form. That's all I'm thinking about. I want my back arched, my butt down, my head up. You want to make sure you're squeezing the bar and that it is locked into place. If anything is off even a little bit, it can cause an imbalance. For me, it's almost an instinct at this point. 

How did it feel to take the county championship?

Proud. That's really it. I was just proud of myself for doing it. 

What are your goals for the postseason (which begins March 28)?

Well, I looked at all the results from last year, and the state winner in my weight class had a 705-pound total. Right now, my best is 690, and that was pretty easy for me. I think I can add the last 20 points to beat last year's winner. That gives me confidence as I go for the title. Also, in the bench press, I want to hit 405 pounds. That's something I have been dreaming about since my freshman year. 

What is your favorite food?

I like chicken and rice. If you add some seasonings, it can taste amazing. 

What is your favorite movie?

I like the "Star Wars" prequels. I find the story of Anakin Skywalker interesting and cool. 

What is your favorite school subject?

Science. In the future I want to formulate my own health supplements and create my own gym brand off of that, so I have always been interested in chemistry and things like that. 

Which superpower would you pick?

Super strength. (Laughs.) 

What are your hobbies?

I have been skimboarding and surfing since I was a little kid. I still love going to the beach and doing that. And then, obviously, I like going to the gym. 

What is the best advice you have received?

Stay consistent. And remember that lifting and fitness is about more than just working out. 

Finish this sentence: "Mark Monchecourt is …"

Quiet, unless I'm with friends and people I know well. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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