Tech powerlifting lifts national championship: ‘Iron Dawgs’ bring home top honor in Men’s Equipped Division

July 13, 2017


The Iron Dawgs traveled to San Antonio to measure their skill against universities from around the country at the Collegiate National Meet. The team placed first in the Men’s Equipped division. – Photo courtesy of A.J. McFarland

Bryn Young
Staff Reporter | bjy001@latech.edu


The Louisiana Tech powerlifting team lifted more than heavy weight at the Collegiate National Meet, coming home with a national title in the Men’s Equipped division and a spot in the Second World University Powerlifting Cup.


The team traveled to San Antonio, Texas, from April 7-9 to compete against universities from around the nation. Tech brought three squads to compete in the Men’s Raw, Men’s Equipped and Women’s Equipped divisions placing first in Men’s Equipped with 51 points, 12th in Women’s Equipped and 13th in Men’s Raw.  By finishing first in Men’s Equipped, the team earned a chance to compete on the world stage in Potchefstroom, South Africa in July.


Tech has won 34 national titles in powerlifting over the years. A.J. McFarland, a graduate student at Tech, helped win the team’s previous two titles as a competitor and now has helped it pick up yet another as the team’s coach. He said the moment left him speechless.


“It makes it seem like all the hard work, dedication and all the hours we put in were for a reason,” McFarland said. “I’m elated because I was on the team that won the last two that Tech won. To be back as a coach and to be able to bring home another one, I can’t put it into words.”


He said this victory is special not only for him, but the team organization following difficult losses the past few years that made the Iron Dawgs the underdogs going into the 2017 competition.


“We came in as huge underdogs, very under the radar,” McFarland said. “Last year we placed second to last in the Men’s Open division. We’re no longer underdogs. We’re no longer under the radar. Everyone knows that Tech is back.”


The victory hinged on the deadlifts on Sunday, the final day, as freshman Charterrius Terry and junior Donald Treglia readied for their lifts. Conner Gruntz, a junior in his second year as a part of Tech powerlifting, said it was an amazing moment for the team.


“It came down to Sunday afternoon, when Donald and Terry were lifting,” he said. “It came down to the deadlifts and Josue texted the group to get loud because they just needed to hit their openers and we’d win. Terry went out and pulled his first one and got it. Then Donald missed his first deadlift. Then he went up and missed his second deadlift. It literally came down to Donald’s last deadlift, whether we win or not. We all just got loud and got in his face and he went and killed it. It was a really great moment. Once he hit it, we saw the white lights and we all just hugged each other and cried because we haven’t won a national championship since 2010.”


The pressure on final competitors was immense, especially considering the relative inexperience of freshman  Terry. Terry said the victory was a learning experience that both amazes and inspires him.


“When you come here you know there are expectations in the first place,” Terry said. “When you attend Louisiana Tech and you powerlift, you want to win. When you pull that off your freshman year, it’s more pressure but you know you’re capable of it. If you’re at your weakest point your freshman year and you can be a part of a win like that, there’s more to come.”


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