Adriane Wilson finished first in five of the seven women’s heavy athletic events during the 2023 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, thereby claiming the top spot overall for the competition. Wilson was the runner-up at these games in 2022.
The 43-year-old personal trainer who resides in Columbia, S.C., has been competing in heavy athletics for 15 years and is a five-time Women’s World Champion. Wilson also coaches adaptive sport for wounded soldiers.
This year saw 10 women competing in front of an exceptionally large crowd of spectators this past Saturday.
Wilson was previously a professional shot putter. She trained for the 2004 Olympics but finished fifth in the tryouts, falling just short of qualifying. Wilson keeps up with weight training and throwing throughout the week and is at the gym every day for her job.
As for the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, she noted that both the venue and the spectators make this particular competition so special.
“Obviously, the location is incredible,” Wilson said. “The crowd always cheers us. It’s so much fun to see how many people are just into the Scottish Highland Games.”
When asked what her favorite event is, she said she loves the caber toss, which she described as a “crowd-pleaser.”
“I’m usually pretty solid with my heavy weight for distance,” she added. “That’s a fun one for me.”
Wilson won the stone throw, the 28-pound-weight throw for distance, the 28-pound-weight toss for height, the caber toss and the hammer throw events.
Morgan Palmer was this year’s runner-up, winning the 14-pound-weight throw for distance and coming in second in five other individual events. Asylnn Halvorson, who won the sheaf toss, secured the third-place finish overall.
The women’s elite competition is by invitation only and featured 10 competitors vying to best each other in seven different categories: sheaf toss, 28-pound-weight toss for height, stone throw, 28-pound-weight throw for distance, 14-pound-weight throw for distance, hammer throw and caber toss.
The 2023 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games took place July 6-9 at Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows in Linville, N.C. To learn more about the Highland Games, visit www.gmhg.org.