SAVANNAH -- It was a day of mixed reviews for the Georgia IronDawgs at their season opener over the weekend at the Paul Anderson-Howard Cohen Weightlifting Center in Savannah.
The 'Dawgs came home with plenty of medals, as well as three "Best Lifter" awards and national and world records, but were denied the push/pull (benchpress/deadlift) overall team title at the inaugural American Powerlifting Committee (APC) International Irondawg Cup. The meet featured competition in push/pull as well as bench press- and deadlift-only classes in both equipped and raw (unequipped) divisions.
"Unfortunately, we had one of our starters not get in a lift in the bench press portion of the push/pull meet," IronDawgs bench press division captain R. Garry Glenn said. "That's a killer in a powerlifting meet, because it knocks him out of the whole meet; and unless your opponents have something similar happen, it's impossible to win because his scoring is taken away. Stuff happens, and there's always next time."
Coastal Georgia Powerlifting captured the team championship.
IronDawgs Tyler Cummings of Cumming and Gary Hatfield of Gainesville came home with Best Lifter awards. Cummings, a North Forsyth alumnus, had a best benchpress of 200 kilograms (kg)/440.92 pounds and a deadlift of 312.5 kg/688.94 pounds to total 512.5 kg/1,129.86 pounds to win the gold medal in the men's junior open raw 110 kg (242.51 pounds) weight class and take the raw Best Lifter award in men's push/pull. Hatfield, a North Hall grad and the Brenau University strength and assistant softball coach took the men's equipped best lifter awards in push/pull and bench-only with his lifts of 250 kg (551.15 pounds) in both lifts for a 500 kg (1,102.3 pounds) total.
One of the newest IronDawgs is Marcell Allen of Forsyth County, a former Jefferson wrestler that also manages and is part-owner of the 'Dawgs home gym, Ironbeast Barbell in Gainesville. Allen set world marks in the 90 kg (198.41 pounds) raw men's open class in bench press (180/396.83 and total 430/947.98). On a fourth lift, which does not figure into the official total, he almost pulled a world record 275.5 kg/607.37 pounds only to have it slip out of his grip at the top when he felt his right hamstring start to go. That lift was disallowed by the judges, and he finished with a deadlift of 250 kg.
A bodybuilder most of the time, Allen was coaxed into doing his first powerlifting meet in seven years and was mostly pleased with the outcome.
"Relatively speaking, it went all right," Allen said with a slight chuckle. "Besides the injury, I came here to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to pull over 540 (pounds). I did that. I wanted to be able to push close to (400). I did that. Other than the slight injury, I did pretty good."
As for the training for powerlifting versus bodybuilding, Allen, who dropped around 50 pounds to weigh in Friday at about 195, said, "More than anything it's the diet that's different," noting he's the type of person that has to take in "minimal to no carbs" in order to achieve his goals.
For Allen, the main lifts are basically the same -- squat, bench, deadlift -- with a few complimentary exercises to, "accent the smaller muscles. The bigger muscles (are) still the same, still heavy."
Allen says he still has to drop 10 pounds to get ready for the Mr. Atlanta contest in three weeks. He's urging all his supporters to "bring brownies" for the post-contest celebration.
Also setting world marks across the board for the IronDawgs was Eastman's Tony Braswell with his bench of 272.5 kg/600.75 pounds, deadlift of 275 kg/606.27 pounds, and total 547.5 kg/1,207.02 pounds, as he won the men's open equipped 140 kg (308.64 pounds) weight class.
Glenn the dean of the 'Dawgs at this contest at the age of 59 established world records for push/pull for a win in the raw master's men's 55-59-year-old, 90 kg weight class with his bench press of 142.5 kg/314.16 pounds, deadlift of 150 kg/331.69 pounds and total of 292.5 kg/644.85 pounds. On a fourth benchpress, he increased the record to 145 kg/319.67 pounds. He dropped his third deadlift of 170 kg/374.78 pounds when he tweaked his left hamstring.
"I haven't done a competitive deadlift in years, mainly because of my left hip surgery. That one is mostly titanium now," Glenn, of Oakwood, noted, "but our head coach and chief trainer Mike Kidd put together a push/pull team and wanted me to train to get back into it. In retrospect, after I had to cut some weight, along with a little stomach issue, I was probably too dehydrated or something to make that kind of a jump between my second and third deadlifts. I had done it in the gym, but it wasn't there today. Live and learn. It's also kind of ironic that a couple of ex-Jefferson wrestlers both had hamstring issues in this meet."
Canton's Jason Banks also joined the IronDawgs for this meet and had an American record deadlift of 300 kg/661.38 pounds. That, along with his bench press of 182.5 kg/402.34 pounds and total of 482.5 kg/1,063.72 pounds got him the push/pull championship of the 125 kg/275.58 pounds raw men's open class.
Palm Harbor, Fla., resident Uwe Thormann took gold for the 'Dawgs in the push/pull raw master's mens 55-59, 110 kg weight class with his bench of 130 kg/286.6 pounds, deadlift of 200 kg/440.92 pounds and total of 330 kg/727.52 pounds.
Competing in bench-only on the day were veteran IronDawgs George Bradley of Gainesville and Andy Williamson of Winterville in the master's men's classes of 67.5 kg/ 148.81 pounds and 110 kg respectively. Bradley won the 55-59 class in his equipped weight division by pushing 100 kg/220.46 pounds, while Williamson won the raw 45-49 class with his press of 137.5 kg/303.13 pounds
Many of the IronDawgs will next compete in the World United Amateur Powerlifting meet on March 29 at Iron Beast Barbell in Gainesville.