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Janssen strong behind plate, in weight room

Power to spare

During Wednesday's softball game, Rock Falls senior Baylie Janssen clubbed a double off of the left-field fence and, as the team's catcher, she threw two runners out at second base.

Both feats were impressive displays of strength, but that's just the tip of the barbell when talking about Janssen's strength.

For Janssen also owns three powerlifting records – two National and one American (which are different federations) – for her age group.

She set all three records at the Relentless Minnesota event on March 29. The records were a small part of the reward for a lot of training.

"There were a lot of long days, where it'd be school, and practice, and then training," Janssen said. "I am not doing a lot of training now because we are in season. But before it started, it was a lot of work."

Janssen's father, Doug, is the strength trainer at Rock Falls High School. Baylie, however, went to another gym in Rock Falls to go to the next level.

"I think it was a matter of listening to someone other than her father," Doug said. "She was more receptive in that environment."

The records were a bit of a surprise, as she had to reduce her training leading into the event because of an illness. She was also dealing with the loss of her close friend, Matt Anderson.

Getting bigger and stronger wasn't the ultimate goal for Janssen. Instead, she was drawn to powerlifting because it offered her a chance to help kids.

The Relentless events are fundraisers for Hope Kids, an organization that helps children with life-threatening diseases.

Janssen's long-term goals include becoming a nurse. She plans on starting that path next year at Sauk Valley Community College.

"I want to go into nursing, and possibly pediatrics," Baylie said. "When I found out that we'd be raising money to help kids, I knew that I wanted to do that."

"That's what I am more proud of," Doug said. "Getting records is great, but knowing that she wants to help those kids shows us what kind of person she is. I couldn't be more proud of her as a parent."

Janssen and the other group of locals that competed at the Relentless Minnesota event raised $28,000 for Hope Kids. The donations came from local community members and businesses. In all, the event raised $196,000.

At the event, many of the children were sitting front row for the lifting.

"We're like superheroes for those kids," Baylie said. "They're right there cheering for us. When we finish, we run up and give them all high-fives. It's really special for them, and that makes it special for us."

She's not done either. Baylie plans on entering the Relentless Detroit event next fall.

Before that, she'll try to help the Rockets softball team to a conference championship and a long postseason run.

Her coach, Kris Nunez, has seen what the extra strength work has done for her game.

"Her lateral speed behind the plate is amazing," Nunez said. "There aren't many balls that get passed her, because she moves so fast.

"She just has such powerful legs. We don't have anyone else like that. She's so strong."

Janssen file

School: Rock Falls

Year: Senior

Parent: Doug and Deb Janssen

FYI: Hold three records in powerlifting in her age group. ... Plans to attend Sauk Valley Community College next fall and become a nurse.

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