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Powerlifting team on track for nationals

February 21, 2014

 

Stephen Moore performs a bench press while Cody “Tick” McElroy spots him. – Photo by Derek J. Amaya

Stephen Moore performs a bench press while Cody “Tick” McElroy spots him. – Photo by Derek J. Amaya

Chad Merritt
Sports Editor

 

Half an Italian BMT Subway sandwich, bananas, chocolate Clif Bars, two containers of Pedialyte, honey buns and a handful of Slim Jims sounds like a pre-game meal of Michael Phelps proportions.

 

These calories are not burnt in the pool, but rather on a bench under hundreds of pounds of iron.

 

Powerlifting team president Cody “Tick” McElroy said the physical preparation he takes before he lifts is only half the battle.

 

“My mind is always on powerlifting,” McElroy said. “I’m always thinking about everything.

 

Training, the platform, the competition,winning and records, I think of it all.”

 

Tech’s powerlifting team is one of the many club sports offered to all students.

 

When McElroy was not recruited for football he looked to find another sport to participate in while at Tech. He noticed the powerlifting team while at freshman orientation and decided to join.

 

Powerlifting is not an NCAA sanctioned sport, but that has not stopped Tech from building a dynasty rivaled by no other. The history of Tech’s powerlifting program is prestigious; the men’s and women’s teams have won 33 National Championships combined, the men winning 13 straight championships from 1994-2006.

 

The coach and faculty adviser for the powerlifting team is Josh Chovanec, a three-time national champion lifter from Tech.

 

“Now that we have moved from Memorial Gymnasium to Lambright Sports and Wellness Center, I hope we can build the team more,” Chovanec said. “You always want to win championships, but building the team and the morale up is always a goal.”

 

Tech earned second place finishes the past two years at the national championship.

 

“Two years ago, the national champion was determined on the very last pull,” McElroy said. “It’s like a fourth down goal line stand. It is you against the world.”

 

Preparing for the national meet is a yearlong

affair. The team meets three times a week in Lambright to condition their bodies and build strength.

 

Outside of preparing their bodies for competition, the team is also preparing for an overhaul of their training facility.

 

The team is working on raising funds to renovate the weight room in Lambright. Plans for the restoration include new floors, more weight lifting equipment and additional memorabilia.

 

Chovanec said he expects more than 700 powerlifters to reunite this fall at the 40th year powerlifting reunion.

 

The current powerlifters on the team are much like the powerlifters of past teams; they all come in different shapes and sizes.

 

Standing at five feet tall and weighing 105 pounds, Clarrissa Johnson can lift nearly twice as much as she weighs.

 

“A lot of people think we are bowed up, full of muscle and on steroids,” Johnson said. “That’s body building, not powerlifting. We are getting stronger, not building mass.”

 

Being a high school state powerlifting champion, Johnson is used to the reactions she receives when people find out she is a powerlifter.

 

“Because I’m a tiny girl people are usually shocked and ask ‘really?’” Johnson said. “But I think you should break the stereotype.

 

It’s really fun and I recommend it to anybody who wants to give it a try.”

 

Tech’s powerlifting team will travel to Orlando, Fla., to compete at the USA Powerlifting 2014 Collegiate National Powerlifting Championships which will be held from April 17-19.

 

Each member competing will be giving everything they have to help the team out and reach their ultimate goal.

 

“Lokka Tattur” by Týr will be blasting in McElroy’s ear as he prepares for his last attempt at nationals, an attempt which he hopes will bring home the 34th National Championship to Tech.

 

Email comments to cam059@latech.edu.

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