|Brian Olson warms up for the Power Clean.
JULY 1, 2012 - COVINGTON
Each season Buccaneer football coach Dave Miller challenges his team to raise the bar in the weight room - improving on the year before. And in this, the sixth season under Miller, the Buccs have once again taken the weight room performance to another level.
"Last year was the strongest team we've had here and our numbers in the lift-a-thon are better than we were a year ago," Miller said. "Sure, we have a long way to go before the season starts, but I'm pretty pleased with where we are at this point of the summer."
Although the Buccs were missing a few kids due to vacations, 41 members of the team were able to compete in the lift-a-thon. Of those, 20 kids lifted over four times their body weight in the three combined lifts - squat, clean and bench. Seventeen of those are returning players from a year ago.
Plus, four more kids went for over five times their body weight; A.J. Ouellette, Troy Cron, Justin Williams and Brian Olson.
"To have twenty kids lift four times their body weight just shows how hard the kids have worked," said Miller. "You have to remember, we have a large freshman class who are still learning proper lifting techniques, so that many kids is a really good number. I'm sure there will be more as we get closer to the end of our summer schedule."
And the top guys in the weight room are setting the bar very high.
"Our guys at the top are great examples of how we do things at Covington and anyone who wants to be successful can look at them and follow their lead," Miller continued. "Their attitudes, effort and work ethic is why they are at the top of the boards in almost every category."
Justin Williams had the biggest day, winning the pound-for-pound title and winning the championship in the heavyweight division. He edged out A.J. Ouellette for pound-for-pound honors and Brian Olson for the top spot in the heavyweight class.
And in the process, Williams shattered two weight room records in the squat and total weight.
"The lift that put him over the top was the squat and guess who spotted him - A.J.," said Miller of Williams' winning lift that was difficult to see because the entire football team surrounded the squat rack to cheer on their teammate. "Knowing Justin needed that lift to win, A.J. could have easily said he assisted him, but A.J. isn't that type of kid. I know it was a clean lift because A.J. and the rest of the guys said it was. No doubt in my mind."
Ouellette took the championship in the middleweight class with Alex Baskerville getting runner-up honors over Dalton Bordelon by a few pounds.
Things were also tight in the lightweight class with Troy Cron finishing in the top spot and Chris Homan taking second ahead of several strong challengers.
"The competition on this football team is high and there are a lot of kids who are positioning themselves for playing time on Friday nights," Miller stated. "I'm not the type to throw names out because we are all about team, but guys like (Jacob) Albright, (Chris) Homan, and (Brandon) Magee - and there are several others - they've really worked hard. If they keep it up a lot of those guys will find the field."
As it says on the weight room wall, "Hard Work is Always Rewarded".
Just how high the reward will be determined by how much higher the Buccs raise the bar over the next eight weeks.
"As good as we've done so far, we still have a long way to go before August twenty-fourth," Miller emphasized. "The potential is there."