2016 Westman Embark Open Meet Report
Saturday April 2, 2016 turned out to be quite a day for the powerlifting community of Brandon Manitoba. This was the first time that the MPA has had a powerlifting event hosted in Manitoba’s second largest city…….the “Wheat City” (a theme that will be elaborated on later). By all accounts it was a successful event as the performances by the lifters was an excellent representation of how our sport is growing. The spectator turnout was very good as Embark Fitness 365 our venue and the facility owned by Carrie White proved to be a cozy, energetic and buzzing facility yesterday as 32 Powerlifters and their training partners, friends and family descended to the building at 101 Industrial Drive in Brandon Manitoba for yesterday’s event.
This event was the brainchild of Amanda Moffitt, a long time Benchpress competitor in our sport and Mathew Bowen, a young lifter who is grabbing life by the horns and wrestling with it with enthusiasm. Amanda has been making the drive to Winnipeg in the treacherous spring conditions for years and thought; “why not lift at home?” Mathew is one of our most recently certified Provincial Referees. He is also just graduated from University, competed at his first Nationals, earned his first Manitoba record for the squat (and announced the successful attempt when it was surpassed at this meet) and he chose to move the day before the event!!
As with most events there is a lot of behind the scenes activities that occur to ensure the meet is organized, well run and runs with as few glitches as possible. Amanda did a lot of the leg work of connecting with Carrie, arranging for chairs and curtains. Mathew was connecting regularly with Susan Haywood discussing the entries, paperwork, trophies etc.
The MPA competition equipment needed to be transported from the 17 Wing to Brandon. On Thursday March 31st Krista Vandewaeter, Rob Snow and yours truly met up and schlepped the weights onto my truck and Rob’s van. On Friday April 1st Ryan Kolesar and Ben Langley picked up the remainder of the weights and brought them out to Brandon. Friday was a flurry of activity as the trucks were unloaded and the venue arranged after Carrie’s last class of the day at 18:30 hrs. Understand that Carrie had to post to her gym members that she was closed on Saturday! Amanda, her husband (name?) and her brother (name?) helped with the unloading and set up.
On Saturday morning everyone was there bright and early for weigh-ins. The officiating duties were being handled by Rob, Krista and Shawn McCarthy (another newly minted Referee). Sarah Farr training partner and travelling companion of Krista (also a BIG fan of David Bowie apparently) was there to assist with the setting up of the head table and then worked the entire day running the score cards. Sarah’s presence and personality made the long day enjoyable for everyone. The attempt cards and scorecards were handled flawlessly and she kept her cool throughout the day. Sarah was also one of the last to leave as she was vacuuming the gym while Carrie was mopping after it was all over.
Rob, Krista and Shawn each took turns sitting in the head chair throughout the day. This was only the second time in recent memory where this writer was not sitting in the referee’s chair. The officiating was consistent and provided an excellent opportunity for all to build on their experience in the chair.
I know the next line is often a theme of mine in these reports but …we cannot do this without volunteers and the most important people on the platform are the spotters and loaders!! We had a good mix of experience and new blood at this competition. Portage la Prairie was well represented by the Meet Directors for our next event (The Portage Strength Classic) in the persons of Vince Green and Travis Mattice. Both were fresh off an excellent performance at the Nationals and handled some of the heavy lifting throughout the afternoon. Kurtis Tallaire was there too! Brining his enthusiasm, speed and sense of humour to the platform. Devin Laferriere worked very hard throughout the day as well. There were several gentlemen from Brandon that Mathew had recruited Eduardo, Ronnie, Matt, Elliot (Amanda’s better half I believe). I think it was an eye opener for the first timers when they realized how hard spotting and loading was/is. As mentioned on the Head Table was Sarah Farr – time cards and timer, Mathew Bowen – announcing (as well as number calling for one of his lifters), Travis Campbell sat in at the computer while I was coaching Susan other than that I was running the lifting program and doing some timing, etc. Lana Lorenco was there to assist as well both during the set up on Friday and throughout the day on Saturday. Mathew also secured some sponsorship in Katy’s Cookies as samples and gift bags were supplied for the winners of the classes. In advance, I would like to apologize if I have missed anyone’s name. Please reach out to me and I will make the necessary acknowledgements if I have overlooked anyone.
Onto the meet! I will try to keep it briefer as there are a lot of competitors to keep track of. The women made up Flight A and the lightest lifter was Jennie Wilson in the 63kg class. Jennie had a very good day going 8/9 only missing one squat. She had a nice cheering section of Nieces who were yelling and encouraging “Auntie Jennie” onto to success. Jennie totalled 272.5 for the Gold.
The 72kg class had a sequel to the battle in February at the Brickhouse meet. Kristine McLean and Johanna Theroux went head to head in February and again here in April. During the first encounter Kristine came out on top, at this meet the positions were reversed and Johanna was the winner by 2.5kg. Kristine has the bigger squat, but Johanna has the stronger bench, and yesterday they were equal on the deadlift which left Johanna’s bench as the deciding factor as she held the 2.5kg lead she had at the subtotal through to the end. Congratulations ladies! I’m sure you will entertain us with more close contests in the future.
Megan Smith has a solid debut in the 84kg class missing only a single bench to achieve a 240kg total and first place. Well done Megan!
Alyssa Amanda Burg and Lexie Elias were set for battle in the 84+Kg Women’s Open class. Both ladies also competed in Regina at the Nationals. Amanda achieving a Gold in the Benchpress and Lexie fought it out in the very competitive 84+ Women’s Open class placing well. Yesterday, Lexie had the advantage in weight on each of the lifts totalling 410kg to Amanda’s 340kg total. Both only missed two lifts to get there and Lexie was pleasantly surprised that she had won the Gold after the dust settled.
There were four Benchers at this contest. Two were Unequipped and two lifted Equipped and each one was in a weight class on their own. Co-Meet Director Amanda Moffitt was going for a Provincial Record in the 72kg Women’s M1 Benchpress. Amanda was successful with two of her three attempts for a 57.5kg total. Susan Haywood was looking for redemption from her performance at Nationals. There was a solid game plan with Sue opening in her T-shirt and then donning the Bench Shirt to take a crack at her own M3 84+ record. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as there was difficulties touching the bar to her chest. So, a total was achieved but her goal was not met. John Skeavington risked an almost due pregnant wife’s ire as he came and lifted well in the Men’s Open 105kg class going 3/3 and taking home the Gold with a 112.5kg bench for the new baby to be. Robert Waller was stepping over to the “Dark Side” by lifting for the first time in a Bench Shirt. Rob did well achieving a 157.5kg total in the 93kg Open Men’s class and qualifying for Nationals. Rob was the Best Benchpresser and achieved the “Wheat Thins” award to go with it!
We had a good mix of Junior lifters at this competition. There was some solid competition in several classes. The Best Junior Lifter or “Mini Wheat” was none other than Ben Langley!! Ben was on fire in the 74kg Men’s Junior Class and was fulfilling the anticipated battle between another 74kg Open lifter Nhan Nguyen. Both gentlemen had been using Social Media to call each other out and challenge each other to higher totals. Ben went 7/9 totalling 637.5kg and achieving a Wilks Formula Total of 466.778!! Ben’s last deadlift would have given him possibly the highest Unequipped Wilks in the Province but it proved a little too heavy.
There were three lifters in the 83kg Men’s Junior class. Riley Bertrand, Mikal Thrones and Michael Chan. There was some excellent lifting by all three. I believe Riley destroyed the aforementioned 83kg Open Provincial Squat record with a very easy 220kg after some nerves and forgetting the signals on his first attempt. Riley played it conservative on his Bench and took a single deadlift due to a nasty scrape on his thigh that was bleeding through the medical tape. My understanding is that Riley did enough to qualify for the Westerns which was his goal. Mikal squatted well but ran into some difficulty in the bench and then pulled opener at 227.5 but re-aggravated an injury preventing a second pull, he waved his third for a 542.5kg total and a second place. Michael Chan also missed his first squat but then settled down until missing his third bench at 145kg, he was good for 140kg on his second. The deadlift proved to be Michael’s lift as he solidly went 3/3 finishing with a strong pull of 275kg and a total of 607.5kg and a 413 Wilks at his first meet! A very good weight class of lifting!
The 93kg Men’s Junior Class had two lifters Nicholas Thrones and Teagan Friesen. Interestingly, both young men had difficulty with their respective benches. Nicholas getting his first and subsequently missing the next two. Teagan really needed his third bench to stay in the meet and when he sorted out the technical glitches he got it! Deadlifts proved easier as Teagan pulled 3/3 for a best of 187.5 and a 440kg total for the Silver. Nicholas pulled 237.5kg in the deadlift and totalled 547.5 for the Gold.
The 105 Junior class had three competitors. Ali Jasim, Theodore Farough and Dominic Picard. These three chose their attempts wisely as between the three there was only a single failed attempt in the 27 attempts. Ali missed his last bench with Theo and Dom going 9/9. Dominic was the winner with a 602.5kg total to Theo’s 460kg total and Ali’s 452.5. An excellent display of lifting and I think it bodes well that we have competitive Junior classes in Manitoba now.
There were also two 120kg Junior lifters in Colby Falk and Brandon Sutherland. Again, as in the 105 class above there were few misses with each lifter missing only a single bench. Colby had the edge in the squat which proved enough to stay ahead of Brandon’s stronger Bench and Deadlift. Colby earned the Gold with a 610kg total to Brandon’s 580! This too should be a rivalry to watch in the future.
In the Men’s Open Unequipped classes there was also some excellent first time competitors showing off their hard work. Nhan Nguyen was “alone” in the 74kg class buts as previously mentioned he and Ben Langley have been pushing each other to better performances and have been trading the MPA Open records back and forth for the past year. Nhan looked to be slightly off yesterday as he struggled in his squat only getting his opener. Benches were easier and he was able to pull 2/3 of his deadlifts for a 612.5kg total and a 443 Wilks which made him; “Cream of Wheat” as the best Open Male lifter of the meet.
The 83kg Open class had FIVE (5) lifters vying for a spot on the podium. Chad Walls had gained some weight and confidence to lift at his second event. Chad improved on all of his lifts totalling 452.5 and fifth place in this full class. Adrian Theroux came to lift at his first meet sporting a fiery red beard and some solid training to help him go 8/9 and totalling 565kg for fourth. He was not far away from the podium as there were two lifters above him with identical 572.5kg totals! Dino Camire and Reuben Doerkson finished with identical totals. Dino had a 2.5kg lead after the squats and a 7.5kg lead after the benches. Reuben was the lighter man and he pulled 7.5kg more than Dino to snatch the Silver medal by tying and beating Dino by being the lighter man. Quin Ferguson returned to the platform sporting a “devil may care” haircut and a smart mustache. Since last year’s Nationals in St. John’s, Quin has been injured. Quin went 7/9 achieving a 605 total and a 417 Wilks for the Gold medal in this close weight class.
The 93kg Men’s Open class had two newcomers battling it out in Tynan Friesen and Devan Normandin. Tynan went 8/9 missing only his first Bench for raising his head off the bench. He totalled 537.5kg for the Silver. This was an excellent first performance for Tynan, brother Teagan and their gym mates. Devan displayed some serious bench chops by succeeding with 160kg on his third for a 577.5kg total.
John Williams had some real challenges with the technical aspects of the lifting yesterday. John was alone in the 120kg Men’s Open Unequipped class but could not secure a squat to the satisfaction of the judges. He also found the bench a challenge as he took three tries to nail his opener. John then made two solid deadlifts before failing with his third. Therefore, John did not achieve a total and did not place. I am sure that he will learn from his errors and return to the platform to show us what he is truly capable of. Good luck next time John.
Jericho Belmonte needed three tries to get his opening squat before he settled down to take control of his nerves and achieve a total and the Gold in the 120+ Unequipped Open Men’s category. Jericho looks like he has a lot of potential and a good sense of humour as he completed a lovely “hair flip” (Avi Silverberg should have been watching) during the final deadlift of the day where Jericho pulled 250kg for a 587.5 kg total.
We only had one Equipped lifter in the powerlifting event and it was Jeremy Lundgren from Saskatchewan. Jeremy has been a long-time friend of the MPA and has come here to compete in the past. He was able to squat 260kg, bench 197.5 before being humbled by his deadlift only succeeding with his first at 240kg and failing with 250kg twice. This was good for a 697.5kg total and the win. Jeremy was close to a 400 Wilks as well. The sky is the limit Jeremy……………………….you decide.
So there you have the synopsis of yesterday’s events. Tear down was quick with help from everyone and another powerlifting convoy took the equipment to Portage la Prairie for the 2016 Portage Strength Classic on June 18th. Again, I cannot express enough thanks to the owner of the venue Carrie White for allowing the MPA to use the facilities at Embark Fitness 365 for a very successful first time meet in Brandon. We will see you on the wood in Portage.