Strong showing leads to Bearkat victory at Texas A&M Aggie Invitational

While most students were relaxing this past weekend, the Sam Houston State University club power lifting team was working up a sweat.

On March 3, the power lifters arrived at Texas A&M ready to make their school proud. Throughout seven hours of grueling lifts, the power lifters showed how hard they have been training by beating the University of Texas, Texas Tech, Texas-San Antonio and Texas A&M University to receive first place at the Texas A&M Aggie Invitational in both the men and women’s divisions.

“Our personal motto is you gotta be strong to belong,” team president Cody Dorff said.

The women had an impressively strong showing at the meet in College Station with three top two finishers. Jessica Duyka finished in first place in the women’s 132-pound weight class and earned the award of “Outstanding Light Platform Lifter.” Brittany Brantner placed first in the women’s 138-pound weight class while Darci Mulrine finished in second place in the 132-pound weight class.

Jeremy Freeman, Ian Madison and Brandon Strubberg all earned first place finishes in the men’s 123, 198 and 242-pound weight classes, respectively. Gerard Collins placed second as a super heavyweight at 275 pounds. Albert Estrada and Kyle Kloc also earned second place finishes in their respective weight divisions.

The meet hosted a smaller-than-usual number of athletes with just 46 lifters competing in the event, while at a typical meet the Bearkats might expect to compete against at least 160 lifters.

The Bearkats, who are currently ranked No. 12 in the nation, had 21 competitors represent SHSU at the meet and finished the event with 19 members qualifying for Nationals.

The 2007 USA Power Lifting Nationals are set to be held in Killeen. Yet the Bearkat lifters are already looking forward to next year’s nationals, which will be played out in Denver, Colorado.

Now in their fifth year of existence, the Sam Houston State team competes in the collegiate division of the USAPL (USA Power Lifters), a national organization. This year will mark the fourth year the Bearkats have sent representatives to the national meet.

“I believe we have one of the strongest teams in Texas and hopefully at nationals this year we can break into the top five teams in the country,” Dorff said.

“For me, the most important part of the meet was the team spirit,” team member Kyle Tschudy said. “Every member of out team had at least 20-30 people yelling for them when they were lifting.”

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