The USAPL Raw National Powerlifting Championship 2014 was held in Aurora, CO from July 17-20 this year. 445 lifters competed over the course of 4 days. The experience was intense, emotional, inspiring, and educational.
The lifters from South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club had the good fortune to be part of the Supreme Sports Performance & Training (SSPT) team at Raw Nationals. On a basic level, this means that they were on a roster of 47 lifters from all over the country not only performing as individuals, but working to contribute points to the team. What it truly meant was so much more than that and it shaped the whole Raw Nationals experience.
Matt Gary and Sioux-z Hartwig Gary own and run SSPT. They joined forces with Mike Tuchscherer who owns Reactive Training Systems (RTS) to form one huge and talented team. In the name of equity, the team name will alternate every year between SSPT and RTS. That fact should start to paint a picture of these leaders and their personalities. They are three of the hardest working, most humble, highly organized, positive, and generous people you could hope to meet. This is not an exaggeration. The three of them have spent the past week praising and thanking all of the people who participated with them at the meet; however they don’t seem to realize the extent of the impact that they have had on us and everyone else.
Not only are they highly accomplished lifters themselves, but they chose to include our SBWC lifters on their roster and they trusted Paulie and me to handle team lifters throughout the meet. This includes people we had never met before. And yet Sioux-z, Matt, and Mike all competed, coached, organized the team pre-meet, and managed warmups the entire time. Did I mention that Sioux-z was a Technical Controller for a session as well?
SSPT/RTS believes in process, logic, and numbers. It has lead to victory for them and their lifters regardless of any individual’s level of competitiveness. Coaching within this framework provides a huge opportunity for success. It also made our jobs easier. And the outcome speaks for itself.
SSPT Team Results:
- SSPT took first place in the Men’s Open Team category
- SSPT took second place in the Women’s Open Team category
SBWC Lifters’ Results:
- Joanna Welsh took first place in the Open and Masters Ia divisions of the 47kg Women’s weight class, which earned her an invitation to compete on the USAPL World Team. Joanna also qualified to compete at the Arnold Sports Festival with a Wilks total of 386.72
- Bao-Khang Luu took fifth place in the Open division of the 66kg Men’s weight class
- Michal (Michelle) Grapel added 50 lbs to her previous meet total and hit a meet PR in all three lifts – the squat, bench, and deadlift
The achievements of the individuals on the entire team are too numerous to outline here! You can see the full meet result here: USAPL Raw National Powerlifting Championship 2014 results.
There were many challenges presented at this meet, including the logistics of the space and the number of lifters in certain sessions. In the end, though, it just pushed us harder, made us sharper, and forced us to redouble our efforts to make this competition easy for the lifters. Our job was to allow them to focus on their task at hand without having to worry about details, even when faced with unexpected situations on the platform.
Going to the USAPL Raw National Powerlifting Meet gave us a chance to meet certain acquaintances face-to-face for the first time, to greet old friends again, and to enjoy the excitement of competition. Thanks go out to Matt, Sioux-z, Mike, and all of the SSPT team for your commitment, time, and friendship. Thank you and congratulations to our SBWC lifters who all competed on the national level for the first time. And to all our members who cheered on from afar and who supported SBWC, we thank you, too!