Powerlifting Varsity win for CUPLC

Cambridge 2496.9 - Oxford 2330.4 Results


It was a beautiful March day on the West Cambridge site, with sunshine, the promise of spring and the prospect of insane weights being lifted. The preceding week had been spent on long debates about gastric clearance and squat technique, the Cambridge lifters separated from their beloved weights for a week of rest. On this day however, the lifters were more shredded than ever. This commentator was very impressed at what might be the most shredded Varsity team of any sport, ever. Notably, Jack West’s serratus anterior muscles were visible for the first time and Andrew Hodgson looked almost human.

Spirits were high; the Cambridge team confident in their absolute victory.

Tens and tens of lay people, many of them girls, came to watch the freak-show. The band stand teeming in anticipation, we began the morning with the lightweight flights. What followed was a systematic destruction, the savagery of which has not been seen since the allies dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

Sidney Jules opened with a 190kg squat, showcasing his superb form and giving the crowds a small taste of what was to come. Salman Khan, BUCS champion, matched his opener. Sidney and Salman then engaged in what can only be described as a squat duel, of which Sidney was the victor, squatting 212.5kg in his third attempt to top Salman’s 202.5kg squat. Salman possibly played it safe in his third attempt as the bar slid during his second attempt leaving him off-balance. Joe Hughes and Alex Thoma were not far behind, squatting 200 and 197.5kg in their third attempts.

The battle between the top two lifters of the Varsity continued in the bench press. Sidney pressed away an easy 115kg, for what could have been a warm-up rep for him. Salman set the bar higher (!) with a 127.5kg opener. This time Salman came out on top with a 135kg press, trumping Sidney’s 127.5kg press. The Thomahawk was not far behind again benching a cool 130kg.

Now on to the deadlift: the decider of champions. Salman made it look like he would come out on top here, opening with 225kg conventional over Sidney’s 215kg, also conventional. However, Sidney made a well calculated jump to 230kg for his second lift and then hit a stunning 235kg in his third attempt, evoking applause from the now ecstatic crowd. Salman hit 235kg for his second attempt. He then danced with 242.5 but could not reach lock-out. In a sudden twist he fainted, falling onto the platform to the sighs of many of the female spectators, his black velvety locks draping over his broad shoulders. Fortunately, a quick sniff of some of Hodgson’s ‘mind chalk’ aroused him and he survived to lift another day. Alex Thoma then pulled 230kg sumo-style, earning himself the number 4 spot overall and a Full Blue. Lawrence Rowles but in a very consistent performance throughout, contributing many Wilk’s points to the Cambridge scoreline.

‘Pull of the day’ had to go to Earnest who, having a tough day missed his opener, but managed to heroically grind it out in a second attempt to the amasement of the crowd. The lightweights having finished their show of power immediately began drinking with all the vigour of Vikings. It was time for the heavyweights to gain Brodin’s divine favour.

Jonathan Faasse began the proceedings for Cambridge with a 180kg squat. Then a fierce rivalry began between Jack West and James Thomson for a hallowed Full Blue ranking in the Cambridge top 6. Jack lashed out with 190kg before JT immediately countered with 210kg. Check mate, or so he thought. President Wil ‘most virile man in the world’ Solano squatted an easy 205kg before pressing the weight and throwing it into the Oxford crowd: “Are you not amused?!” he roared. Judges still gave him three white lights. At 106kg, Frank ‘the Tank’ Sanders, a renegade rugby Blue created a spectacle when he squatted a quarter of a ton. Many of the spotters fled in fear of being crushed by this huge mass. And the weight on the bar was pretty big too. Andrew ‘Hodge’ Hodgson, the biggest lifter of the Varsity then squatted 215kg.

Having let Frank take the biggest squat of the day, it was Hodge’s turn to win the crowd with an enormous 170kg bench press. The battle continued between JT and Jack, JT again coming out on top with a 137.5kg bench press to top Jack’s 135kg press.

Having opened with 240kg on the deadlift, Jack then made a calculated jump to 269kg for his second attempt, while JT lifted 248kg in his second attempt. Jack thus achieved 0.04 more Wilks points than JT and got the number 6 spot in the Cambridge rankings.

Wil Swolano earned his place in the top 6 with a 260kg deadlift. The Tank, then given the honour of final pull of the day, deadlifted 290kg in a lift with all the excitement of an entire football match, smashing through about five sticking points on the way up.

Thus ended Varsity 2015; with a decisive Cambridge win and the strongest Cambridge team in history. Notably, three Cambridge lifters achieved over 400 Wilks: Sidney Jules, Salman Khan and Frank Sanders. The top seven Cambridge lifters achieved the Full Blue standard of over 375 Wilks.

Congratulations to Sidney Jules, who was top lifter with 419 Wilks.