Lifters and onlookers alike gathered in the lobby of Meier Hall on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. for the annual Meier Health Club Bench Press Competition. Weight-lifters from all levels came together for both a challenge and camaraderie, uplifting wellness and as much as they could in weight.
“For someone who is a novice gym rat, the competitors inspired me to do better,” said Kevin Wilson (Master of Divinity, third year), who works as a Student Dean at Meier Hall and supervised the event. “I appreciated the display of tenacity, courage, and determination.”
Competitors were divided into the weight classes, and gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded to those who bench-pressed the most weight from each of the following classes: less than 139 pounds, 140-159 pounds, 160-179 pounds, 180-199 pounds, 200-219 pounds, 220-239 pounds, and 240+ pounds. Men from all ages, class standings and backgrounds came out for the event, and with them came a large gathering of supporters.
“I was there to support my brother, Kaniel,” said Ashera Hunt (junior, pre-physical therapy). “It was quite entertaining and I found myself getting nervous for them as they got ready to bench. Working towards a degree that involves understanding the complexity of the human body, it was great to see how strong the human body can be when pushed.”
Lane Babb (junior, business administration) who has worked the competition for three years said, "The Bench Press Challenge gives the guys an opportunity to mark their progress and to see the results of all their hard work over the year. It also brings a lot of the guys together and it draws a good crowd from the community, too."
After weeks and, for some, maybe even months of training, it was clear that each and every one of the competitors opted to show up and show off. While it was clear that all contestants gave their all, ultimately only one lifter was declared the overall winner of the competition, and that was Edy Gomez (junior, computer science), who lifted a whopping 365 pounds.
“I knew for a long time that I would attempt benching that weight but I was never sure I would succeed,” said Gomez. “I was nervous, since my friend was also hitting similar numbers. But at the end, I was able to succeed thanks to the cheers from the crowd. It was a very exhilarating experience and I am looking forward to making more progress and competing next time.”