By Liam Glass | WVUGo Staff Writer
The WVU Powerlifting Club clinched the Co-Ed Championship at the USPA Collegiate Nationals on February 23rd at Ohio University. 25 Mountaineers competed out of 120 total lifters for this title from colleges including West Point, TCU, Michigan State University, and Old Dominion. With three men and three women placing for medals in their respective weight classes, including first prizes for Michaela Piendel and Jordan Rodriguez, WVU returned to Morgantown as Co-ed Collegiate Nationals Champions. This victory for the Mountaineers was their first national title, and was done in only their second season of competing.
To win a team title in a powerlifting competition, a team must have the highest combined “wilks” score taken from the team’s top six lifters. Wilks is a score calculated by a lifter’s weight class, gender and total amount lifted from their best squat, bench press and deadlift. With the two first placements for Piendel and Rodriguez as well as a third place achievement by Madison Eichstadt, WVU took the co-ed title with 2nd place finishes for Tony Perry and Matthew Maloney and 3rd place for Grant Judy for the male lifters. WVU also placed second for best men’s team, losing out only to West Point.The championship was a phenomenal experience for the club.
“Powerlifting is usually an individual sport, so it was incredible to head to an event with the atmosphere we brought as a team,” said WVU Powerlifting President Matthew Maloney.Team competitions like this don’t come around too often for the club, but they made the most of the Collegiate Nationals and won their first title.
This was an exceptional achievement for the club, as it was done in only their first official year. The team was officially founded at the university in 2017 with five members. They competed at the Collegiate Nationals the following year in January with 11 lifters competing out of the 15-member roster.
The team now sports a 48-member co-ed roster and trains weekly at Mylan Park - Pro Performance. “We have team practices every Sunday at 2, but most of us are there daily. There’s a good chance if you wanna work out and are headed over, you’ll be able to do so with some of the team,” said Maloney.
Going forward, the team is working on their own training facility to condition privately. They look forward to hosting multiple charity events and clinics in the future along with co-hosting the Strongest Mountaineer competition at the Student Rec Center next fall. “It’s a great community that I’m proud to be a part of. It’s been a great experience to watch the team grow, and I’m anxious to see what lies ahead,” said Maloney.