All posts by Thea Olalia


Home of Bingo Wednesdays for the residents of Brandon, Manitoba, on Saturday August 10th, the North End Community Center opened its doors for 36 lifters to test their strength on the platform. Crowded and intimate, it was the sort of environment that encouraged introductions. Everyone gathered around to cheer on the competitors as they took the next step in their strength journeys. Through the concerted effort of many, 36 powerlifting totals were made that day. 

The afternoon before, many people came together to set up for the meet. Thank you to Dean Smith, Jordan Smith, Glynis Valguna, Lara Roska, and Randi Chase who helped out despite competing the next day. Thank you to Mathew Bowen, Janet Loesel Sitar, Ryan Kitson, Mike Arient, Tasnim Banuga, Janique Philippe, Hao-yi Sim, Christian Lozano, Dereck Ilarde, Henry de Guzman, and of course my fellow meet director Amanda Moffitt. 

Several establishments sponsored or otherwise contributed to make this meet possible. As our biggest sponsor, Peak Performance provided a space for our referee clinic to take place on Friday, lent us equipment for the warmup room, and decked out our platform crew in Peak Performance shirts. Owner Rodman Batson also celebrated his birthday while on the platform. Happy birthday and thank you, Rodman! LVD Fitness, Apex Elite, Hao-yi Sim, and Geoff Dumas also contributed to our Best Lifter Awards. Supplement King kindly provided every lifter with shaker cups. Brendan Bertrand and Mike Arient also lent us equipment for the warmup room. 

Meet day volunteers are the backbone of any competition. On the platform spotting and loading, we had Drew Simpson, Tasnim Banuga, Josh Seeland, Jessie Christie, Joseph Dabu, Hao-yi Sim, Rob Snow, Liam Snow, and Nathaniel Woodward. Our platform crew worked long hours but remained meticulous; not once was the bar misloaded! At the computer table, we had Amy Schneider, Ryan Kitson, and Claire Pallister. At the registration table, we had Sara and Carrie Smith. Running the warmup room, we had Josh Japson and Christine McGorman. After the meet, many people helped to clean up, but a few stayed for hours more to wrap everything up. A special thank you to Wanda Bosek, Jenn White, Ryan Kitson, Janet Loesel Sitar, Randi Chase, Mat Bowen, Janique Philippe, Lara Roska, and Hao-yi Sim. 

Now onto lifting! Our lone Junior female competitor was Sydney Vanhove of Southwest Strength. Sydney put up a strong 95 kg squat, 55 kg bench, and 115 kg deadlift at her first competition. In the 63 kg Open class, we had two competitors. Glynis Valguna, another first-time competitor, stringed together a solid 9 for 9 day. Our gold medalist Randi Chase had cut down a weight class in hopes of qualifying for Westerns in Saskatoon next month, and she did just that. On her opening deadlift, she hit her qualifier, and went on to finish with a milestone deadlift PR of 142.5 kg or 315 lbs! In the 72 kg class we had two ladies battle it out for first. Tied after squats and bench, Lara Roska finished just 5 kg behind Cayliegh Hart, totalling 305 kg and 310 kg respectively. Another first-time lifter, Deanna Cutler of Team Wild Wind in the 84+ category had a great day on the platform, only missing her third bench. Due to unforeseen circumstances, a Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association meet scheduled for the same day had to be cancelled, so we allowed Franki Nault to compete as a guest lifter for the chance to qualify for Westerns. Coached by SPA president and past CPU president Ryan Fowler, Franki competed equipped and achieved her Westerns qualifier on her second pull. Congrats ladies! 

Ivan Barco and Jeremy Martin competed in the 74 kg Junior Mens category. Cool, calm, and collected, first timer Ivan came out with the win with a 417.5 kg total! Jordan Smith in the 66 kg Open also had the goal of qualifying for Westerns at this meet. He, too, had a 9 for 9 day, closing off Flight A with a 190 kg PR pull to total 455 kg, the exact number for his qualifier. Congrats Jordan!

In Flight B we had our Masters lifters and heavier Open men. In the M1 93 kg class, we had 3 competitors. Greg Alberts took the bronze, Sami Lyons took the silver, and David Woodward came away with the gold through a 9 for 9 performance. His son Nathaniel Woodward endearingly cheered him on through the whole meet as his spotter and loader. What a strong family! David Hrynkow in the M2 74 kg, had planned to be in the 66 kg category for the day but narrowly missed, weighing in at 66.42 kg. Because of this, he wasn’t able to qualify for the full meet at Westerns but we will see him compete as Bench Only instead. Dean Smith in the M2 83 kg also had the goal of qualifying for Westerns. He needed his last pull of 185 kg to do this, but it wasn’t quite there. Still, he improved the 3 Lift M2 83 kg Provincial Bench Press Record to 142.5 kg. Way to go, Dean! 

18-year-old Angel Tomas was our only competitor in the 83kg Junior category; he had a near-perfect first time on the platform, going 8 for 9 and finishing with an easy 190 kg deadlift. Denis Hart and Rey Abucot, both hailing from Stronghold Titan, battled it out in the 105’s, finishing only 15 kg apart. Rey triumphed with a 555 kg total while Denis finished with 540 kg. Patrick Wilcox in the 120 kg category had a rough start with squats, needing his third attempt to stay in the meet, but listened to his commands and finished strong. Dennis Holian took the 120 kg Open gold, having a 9/9 day to total 452.5 kg. Four men competed in the 120+ kg category. Andrew Chartrand bagged the bronze, only missing his third bench and going on to total 582.5 kg. Colby Falk demonstrated technical mastery in all his lifts, finishing with a huge 622.5 kg total  for the silver. Cory Aitken only missed his opening bench on a technicality; he completed every other lift successfully, ending with a 635 kg total.

In Flight C we had our historically most-populated classes, the 83’s and 93’s. In the 83 kg class, Rodman Batson, our top sponsor for the meet, finished with the bronze medal. Mark Herrera finished with the silver, only 7.5 kg behind our gold medalist Brendan Bertrand. In the Junior 93’s, we had Jowel Shuffler and Jerome Restar. Both coached by Jonah Dabu, these boys had a tight competition, totalling 560 kg and 567.5 kg respectively. In the Open 93s we had 5 competitors! As MPA President Mathew Bowen put it, there was a “Game of Thrones” for the silver medal position. Mikal Thrones prevailed over his brother Nicholas Thrones by way of a monster 285 kg / 628 lb deadlift. David Banman of Devloo’s Gym in Morden came away with the well-deserved gold, finishing with a huge 645 kg total. 

We also awarded Best Lifter awards by IPF Points. They received their Best Lifter plaques, gift cards from LVD Fitness and Amazon, fanny packs and shirts from Apex Elite, one of our new MPA logo tees, and an additional free nutrition consult from Hao-yi Sim and a free massage from Geoff Dumas for the Open Best Lifter. Each also received a gag gift of wheat cereal. Mini Wheats were given to Jerome Restar, who was our Junior Best Lifter, achieving 518.49 IPF Points. Shredded Wheats were awarded to our Best Master Lifter David Hrynkow, who finished with 466.20 IPF Points! David Banman now has the honour of having Cream of Wheat cereal for breakfast, as he was our Open Best Lifter with a 617.34 IPF Points! 

Platform totals are meaningful as they signify a quality of lifting not always upheld in training. We have our referees to thank for upholding the standard of the IPF, of which we as MPA are affiliates. We had Mathew Bowen as our technical controller; in the side chairs we had Amanda Burg and our newest MPA referee Janique Philippe. I sat in the head chair, while Krista Sanger acted as our Jury. Thank you, fellow referees! 

A final round of thank you’s to our media team Chris Ngo and Quang Nguyen of CB Studios; to Janique Philippe, who as a Certified Athletic Therapist, was also our designated First Aid responder for the meet; and finally to MPA President Mathew Bowen and my fellow Meet Director Amanda Moffitt who were patient and understanding in showing me the ropes for my first time meet directing.

Thank you all for a great weekend and see you at Shake the Interlake

Thea Olalia

Meet Director

CPU NATS 2020: How Do I Get There?

So you’ve heard the exciting news – CPU Nationals 2020 will be in Winnipeg. You’d love to be a part of it but aren’t quite sure what you need to do to get there. Read on to learn all the requirements to compete at Nationals as an MPA member!

  • Compete at any local meet. This will be your chance to qualify for Provincials and higher-level meets.
  • Compete at Provincials within 2 years of the intended Nationals. MPA’s 2019 Provincial Championships will be held on June 22-23 at Holiday Inn. Registration is open until June 1st, and can be found here. For the qualifying totals to compete at Provincials, click here.  At the discretion of the MPA Board of Directors, referees may officiate and IPF international event competitors may volunteer at Provincials in lieu of competing. 
  • Compete at Regionals within 2 years of the intended Nationals. This is for first time Nationals competitors only. You can compete at any of the Regional Championships but Westerns is often the most feasible for us Manitobans. 2019 Western Championships will be held on September 6-8, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Qualifying totals were raised at this year’s CPU AGM in March and can be found here
  • Achieve the National qualifying total. These were also increased at this year’s CPU AGM and can be found here
  • Volunteer in MPA within 1 year of the intended Nationals. Register to volunteer at Provincials here


I achieved the Provincial qualifying total 3 years ago but haven’t competed since then. Can I still compete at Provincials? Yes. Currently, the MPA does not have a time limit on Provincial QTs. 

Do I have to qualify for Nationals at Regionals? No, these are separate requirements. You must register a total at both Provincials and Regionals, but can achieve your National QT at any prior meet. (Similarly, you must register a total at Provincials to be eligible to compete at Regionals but the Regional QT can be from any prior meet.)

Why were the qualifying totals increased? The membership is simply growing faster than the referees and volunteers can effectively support. Additionally, Nationals is meant to be the premier event in the CPU, so increasing qualifying totals to correspond to the quality of lifting we see today only makes sense. 

If I’ve already competed at Nationals, do I still have to achieve the new qualifying total? Yes. You do not have to compete at Regionals again, but the new QT’s do apply to everyone.

Do I have to compete at the weight class I qualified at? No. After you’ve achieved the qualifying total at the weight class you competed in, you can elect to compete at any other weight class for higher-level meets. 

If you still have any questions, please feel free to send them to us on our Instagram or our Facebook page!


The 4thannual Brickhouse Power Challenge was a huge success this year!

The meet was one of the largest hosted in Manitoba with 56 lifters competing, 3 of which represented Special Olympics Canada. Thanks to the expansion of Brickhouse Gym, we were able to comfortably hold the meet with the same set up as last year and run 2 sessions – using the newly renovated side as the athlete warm up area.  

Several provincial records were broken at this meet:

Johanna Theroux – 72 Open 82.5 kg bench press

Sylvie Dube-Forslund – 84 Open 190 kg deadlift and 430 kg total

Lynell Johnson – 52 Masters 1 82.5 kg squat, 52.5 kg bench press, 95 kg deadlift, and 230 kg total

Teresa Vanderzanden – 84 Masters 1 107.5 kg deadlift and 232.5 kg total

Daniel Mondor – 93 Junior 235.5 kg squat

Nhan Nguyen – 83 Open 250 kg squat

Brent Smith – 83 Masters 1 and Masters 2 182.5 kg squat, 125 kg bench press, and 502.5 kg total

Our best lifters were Sylvie Dube-Forslund and Nhan Nguyen. Sylvie totaled 430 kg at 82.70 kg body weight, registering an IPF coefficient of 661.22. Nhan totaled 672.5 kg at 78.40 kg body weight, registering an IPF coefficient of 705.83. 

An event like this is not possible without all of our volunteers. We owe a huge thank you to the following people who offered up their Friday/Saturday to make this meet run as smoothly as it did! Thank you to Michael Lamothe, Lexie Elias, Dean Smith, David Hrynkow, Jocelyn Espenell, Janique Philippe, Dave Ouellette, Lisa Smith, Russell Salada, Shawn Obradovic-Mollons, Audrey Mifflin, Michelle Curry, Regine Tolentino, Randi Chase, Vince Green, Tamra Potrebka, Darryl Conrad, Drake Moslenko, Jessica Antony, Alex Palmer, Margo Morberg-Berry, Reece Pattyn, Ryan Kolesar, Andy Orobko, Mikal Thrones, Nathan Eisbrenner, and Sara Gregory.

We would also like to thank our sponsors for helping to make this event happen: Black Rifle Coffee Company, Car-Lou Automotive, White Lion Athletics, Electra Sign, Gear Up and Go, Popeye’s Supplements, Teeyah’s, Optimum Nutrition, Fitness Experience, and Clear Spring Ice. 

Finally, we would like to thank all the athletes, coaches, MPA members and spectators who made the Power Challenge the biggest meet to date! We look forward to next year!

Paul Taylor & Megan Swidnicki