MACON -- Georgia IronDawg and Brenau University strength coach/assistant softball coach Gary Hatfield gave himself a couple of surprises on Saturday at the 2013 Gorilla Powerlifting Meet at the Body Evolution gym in Macon.
Hatfield, who normally lifts in the full-power equipped divisions of the American Powerlifting Committee, had already planned on lifting in the bench-only category because of a sore back only to find out that this meet was to be a "raw" meet -- which does not allow for the special benchpress shirts or lifting suits. Also, the meet lumped all weight classes in the various Master's Age groups together, with the places determined by a special formula involving body-weight, weight lifted and age. Normally, at APC sanctioned meets, both raw and equipped divisions are contested along with the individual weight classes.
In the end, it didn't even matter, as Hatfield, who turned 55 on Monday, (and weighed in at 232 pounds) successfully pressed 420 pounds and not only took first in the 50-54 year old Master's Men's division; but won the best Master's Benchpress trophy as well. He tried 440 pounds on a fourth lift, but couldn't lock it out. Still, the 420 was a new national record in the Master's Men's 50-54 year old 110 kilogram/242.5 pounds class.
His success came as something of a surprise, since it's been around three decades since he competed raw.
"It was different," Hatfield admitted. "(I) didn't know what to expect. I opened up light (375) and then just kept jumping whatever it felt like. I was surprised I could still do a raw bench."
Hatfield added he thought 430 or even 450 might have been there had he trained for it, "but considering I hadn't done a raw bench with a pause in about 30 years, that's not too bad," he said with a chuckle.
The 'Dawgs other competitor at the meet, Garry, R. Garry Glenn of Oakwood, finished with a lift of 335 pounds after weighing in Saturday morning at a little under 206. He also took a fourth lift, but couldn't lock out a raw personal record attempt of 345. The 335 was good enough for third in the combined 55-59 year-old class, however.
"Coach (Mike) Kidd told me I should have gone straight from my second lift to the 345, and he's probably right," said Glenn who turns 59 in May, "but even If I could've gotten that, it still wouldn't have improved my place. The men who beat me were either bigger or younger or both; but they also lifted 50 more pounds than I did, and finished first and second by the formula, so give 'em credit. We'd been training to lift equipped, and normally we have the weight classes, but it was what it was," Glenn added with a shrug.
"Gary (Hatfield) did an awesome job today with that national record and best lifter trophy, especially considering he hadn't competed in raw in longer than a lot of the people here have been alive," Glenn said.
The state APC Meet will also be at Body Evolution on March 23. Regular APC classes will be in effect for that meet.