Weightlifters bench press for titles

Males and females competed for a year of bragging rights at the Florida A&M University recreation center’s fourth annual bench press tournament.

Contestants competed for the title of pound-for-pound champion. The pound-for-pound champion was the individual who lifted the highest percent of his or her body weight. Contestants were also ranked based on weight groups. The contestants were then given three chances to max out.

The event began with host Jacques Snyman asking competitors if they were interested in lifting a given weight. Snyman’s request to lift the barbell was accepted. Snyman began to increase the weight by 5 pounds until Natasha Kazan took on the challenge of 80 pounds.

Gei-Nam Lim, associate director of the recreation center, said the tournament was a “test of strength and bragging rights.” He also emphasized that the tournament was not limited to any group or gender.

Each contestant was given up to five minutes for preparation. They were judged on their ability to keep their feet grounded, keep their body from rising off the bench and keep the barbell from bouncing off their chests. The judges used these aspects to determine if each lift was “a good lift” or “no lift.”

Spectators offered encouragement for the contestants during the tournament. Staff members at the recreation center also offered support. Throughout the contest audience members shouted out, “You can do it,” “Almost there,” and “Push.” The contest became more competitive when the sizes reached the high 300s. People who were working out at the gym stopped their routines to watch the tournament.

At the conclusion of the event the scores were calculated for champions. Though the competition was based upon the pound-for-pound winner, there were also champions for each weight division, with the winners being the competitors that lifted the most weight in their specific weight group.

Peter Medrano, a junior industrial engineering student from Miami, said, “I got my personal best. Everybody watching makes you press more weight.” Medrano also ranked first place in the 166-179 pound division for males.

Morgan Palmer, the pound-for-pound winner for the female division, was able to max out at 140 pounds, and two other competitors placed in the female division.

Brashaad Mayweather, a 21-year-old marketing student from Baltimore, received first place in the pound-for-pound competition for the males. Mayweather was able to lift 203.52 percent of his body weight. “I feel good about it (winning),” Mayweather said.

Mayweather is a transfer student from University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He said he plans to continue to work hard with hopes of making FAMU’s football team next season.

Chip Heimbach, the tournament coordinator and the fitness and wellness coordinator at the recreation center, said he thought that the event was a success. He also encouraged everyone to attend the tournament next year.

Heimbach has plans to create a larger outcome for next year’s tournament by adding other schools, such as Florida State University, and distributing prizes to winners.