ATHENS -- An 800-pound bench press has been the stated goal of Georgia IronDawg lifter Tim "T" Moon of Gainesville for some time now.
On Saturday, Moon took a giant step toward achieving that goal when he set a new world record in the Master's Men's 45-49-year-old, 140 kilogram (kg), Equipped Division at the International Powerlifting Organization's World Championships at the Holiday Inn Express in Athens. After weighing in on Friday at a little over 279 pounds, Moon pressed 352.5 kilos/777.12 pounds to win the World Title and Men's Equipped Division Best Lifter Award.
Moon then narrowly missed a stunning 365.5kg / 805.78 pounds when he couldn't quite lock it out.
"(I'm) very happy," the 49-year-old Moon said. "I leave a lot of meets not totally satisfied; but, today, I'm really satisfied. Funny story -- three or four years ago a buddy of mine (after) I started becoming successful joked around that one day you'll do God's number -- 777. I can't wait to call him and tell him.
"God made me strong, that's for sure. I'm blessed. I give Him the glory. It was a good day, a really good day."
It was Moon's meet personal best, his fourth world record of the year and his third World Championship of 2013 as he had also set marks at the American Powerlifting Committee Nationals in June and at the WUAP World Championships in Germany just a few weeks ago when he won both the Master's and Open classes.
Moon's lift was not the only world mark of the day for the IronDawgs, as both Zack Layfield of Flowery Branch and Gary Hatfield of Gainesville, lifting in the Raw America's Cup portion of the meet, established new world records and Joey Murphy of Mt. Airy set a new national mark.
Layfield, the newest member of the IronDawgs, lifting in the Masters Men's 70-74-year-old 75kg / 165.35-pound weight class finished with a classification record press of 85kg / 187.39 pounds
"(I did) better than expected," the 72-year-old Layfield said and added the training he had put in over the last three months was "all worth it." He expects to continue to compete, "as long as I'm alive," he said with a chuckle. "It's an honor to lift with (the IronDawgs)."
Moon, with his arm around Layfield noted, "He says it's an honor to lift with us. For me, it's an honor to lift with him; he's 70-something years old!" Moon is a 1982 graduate of Jefferson High.
Hatfield, the Brenau University strength and assistant softball coach, set a new raw world record on Saturday in the Masters Men's 55-59 110kg / 242.51-pound class with his lift of 192.5kg / 424.39 pounds. On Sunday, despite the pain of a sore back, Hatfield competed in the IPO Equipped full-power division and set another world record, this time in the equipped bench class with a press of 240kg / 529.1 pounds. He also squatted 300kg / 661.38 pounds and dead-lifted 245 kg / 540.13 pounds for a total of 785kg / 1,730.61 pounds and the world championship. Hatfield is a North Hall alumnus.
Murphy actually took home two titles on the day, as he lifted in both the America's Cup raw Masters Men's 40-44 125kg / 275.58-pound class as well as in the IPO World Championships later in the day. His raw national record was 215.5 kg / 475.09 pounds, while his winning equipped lift was 290 kg / 639.33 pounds The raw lift earned him Best Men's Lifter in the America's Cup bench competition.
Also winning America's Cup first place medals for the IronDawgs were Lawrenceville's Dana Tripp in the Master's Women's 40-44, 52kg / 114.64 pounds class, with her record-equaling bench of 44 kg / 97 pounds and Oakwood's Duane Manning in the Masters Men's 40-44, 90 kg / 198.41-pound class with his press of 137.5kg / 303.13 pounds
All of that also helped the IronDawgs take home the benchpress team trophies for both the America's Cup and as part of Team USA for the IPO side of the meet. The 'Dawgs also wound up taking home both full-power trophies as well.
The women's Best Lifter Award in the America's Cup Bench/ Push-Pull went to Sonji (Shorty) Baldwin of Conyers, who had an amazing and world record-shattering day, winning both the bench-only and push-pull America's Cup competition. Lifting in the Masters Women's 40-44, 75 kg class, Baldwin benched over 300 pounds and deadlifted over 400.
The first day of competition Friday was devoted to the raw or unequipped America's Cup fullpower competitors and the 'Dawgs came away with 4 titles, two Best Lifter Awards and the Champion of Champions Plaque.
Gainesville's Dwon Johnson, an East Hall alum, set a new world record in the squat, breaking his own mark, in the sub master's 140kg-plus / 308.64-pound weight class when he lifted 410 kg -- almost 904 pounds -- on his way to a total in the squat, bench and deadlift of 885 kg / 1,951.07 pounds That was good enough for the men's Best Lifter Award and the Champion of Champions Plaque as well.
The newest IronDawg on the full-power side is Kate Powell of Athens, who works in Gainesville and will be moving to Gainesville soon. Competing in the Women's Junior 67.5kg / 148.81-pound weight class, Powell picked up the women's Best Lifter award with her total of 315 kg / 694.45 pounds
Although she said the Best Lifter plaque was unexpected, she was actually disappointed her lifts weren't better, as she had done more in the gym in preparation for the meet. She had watched her friend, Logan Herford of Oakwood win a national title at an American Powerlifting Committee meet and was impressed by his 10-time bodyweight total. Logan and his brother Lloyd are now helping train her, not only for powerlifting, but for an upcoming body-building show next year.
Powell said she came from a theater background where she was, "90 pounds and frail and couldn't pick up anything." As for now, "I like being able to take care of myself, for sure. I'm just gonna' get bigger and stronger and the world's not ready for that," she said with a smile. Powell had a squat of 120kg / 264.55 pounds; a benchpress of 67.5kg / 148.81 pounds and a deadlift of 127.5kg / 281.09 pounds.
Other IronDawgs who won titles included Tyler Cummings of Cumming, who took the first place medal in the Junior Men's 110kg / 242.51 pounds weight class with his total of 767.5kg / 1,692.03 pounds; and veteran lifter Andy Williamson of Winterville, who won the Master's Men's 45-49 class 110kg class with his total on the three lifts of 545 kg /1,201.51 pounds
The meet had an International flavor with Iov Nikolay of Pridnestrovie, formerly of the Soviet Union (near Moldova), winning the 125kg / 275.56-pound Junior Men's class with a total of 730.5kg / 1,610.46 pounds, setting two European records along the way.
Saturday, Nikolay set a European record of 203kg / 447.53 pounds in winning the raw junior 125kg bench class.
"I'm very proud of all of our team members," said IronDawg Benchpress Team captain, R. Garry Glenn of Oakwood. "Everyone got in at least one lift, which is crucial in a team competition. The records we continue to set, and the Best Lifter awards we continue to get, show the caliber of people we have on our squad, no matter the meet or who else shows up. We had four Best Lifter awards, as well as all of those records and a Champion of Champions winner. As for 'T' Moon, I've said it before: the man is a machine. He just keeps getting stronger as he goes along. Eight hundred (pounds) is pretty close."
Glenn himself got in his opener of 140kg / 308.64 pounds before missing his next attempt at 172.5kg / 380.29 pounds by majority decision.
"I and one judge thought I had the weight locked. Two judges thought I didn't," he said with a shrug. "Their opinion is the one that counts. I tried it again and missed it. I've done more than that before; so I'm disappointed I didn't do better today. There's more than one thing about this sport. It's very humbling at times and there's always room to get better."
It was Glenn's seventh World Championship in four different organizations. He is a 1972 graduate of Jefferson, where he lettered in football and wrestling.