Powerlifters preparing for upcoming season

Chijioke Okorie

A few things stand out about the UT powerlifting team.

A quick glance around the team’s weight room reveals a group with patience, cohesion and a willingness to learn.

At a recent practice, veteran lifters spent time with the new guys, demonstrating how to properly do all the lifts.

With their coach, David Hammers, noticeably absent in the weight room on this occasion for another powerlifter’s competition at the World Championships, each of the returning lifters showed a level of maturity that will be necessary for the upcoming season’s meets.

Austin DeShane, an economics junior who currently serves as the captain and president of the powerlifting squad, has a positive outlook for his team going into this season.

“I’m very optimistic about this year,” DeShane said. “We finished second in Nationals, and we’re returning five All-Americans. I’m looking forward to us taking first place this year.”

He said the weight room has “high energy and high intensity,” and there “are always weights hitting the ground, and the coaches are always getting on team members” to help improve their technique and performance.

Sophomores Ian Bell and Michael Pyon are also looking forward to a successful season.

Bell, whose father is an eight-time world champion powerlifter, recently qualified for the World Championships, and Pyon, who was a state champion in high school, both have very high aspirations.

“I want to win the college championship,” Bell said. “Win the Arnold Strongman [competition], win the Men’s Open Nationals and qualify for the World Championships.”

Pyon said he wants to focus on Nationals first.

“I totaled 1,399 pounds in all last year, so I want to do at least 1,500 pounds this year,” he said.

Bell and Pyon also have great expectations for their teammates.

“Everyone needs to come in and work, along with being committed to the sport,” Bell said.

For each member of this team, the expectations are high, and each feels very good about how the results will come about.

As they get closer to their first competitive meet of the year, they will get their chance to prove what they want to achieve can be accomplished. They have the potential to do so and will be a team to look out for.

But for now, there’s only one thing on the team’s agenda: winning. 

Printed September 22, 2011 as: Ready for liftoff