Georgia Lifters At Collegiate Nationals

With lifters from colleges and universities from all over the nation, USAPL Collegiate Nationals is arguably the most exciting meet in the country. This year, we are fortunate to have Josh Rohr hosting this meet here in Atlanta. Josh is both an experienced meet director and former collegiate lifter so he knows what's required to ensure lifters garner a first class experience. 

With over 300+ lifters the competition is intense. The competitive atmosphere is arguable the best in the country. Lifters will experience teammates cheering them on and a crowd that will bring an electricity like no other meet you will ever see. Winning or placing in a weight class may represent the pinnacle of a powerlifter's career. 

With strong high school powerlifting programs, teams from the states of Louisiana and Texas have historically taken the team titles. The University of Georgia is currently the only Georgia School to introduce a team at Collegiates. This year however, we can expect to see teams from UGA, Georgia Tech, and Georgia Southern and hopefully eestablish a long tradition going forward.

Although this meet is known for its team competition, powerlifting is inevitably an individual sport. Collegiates is open to any lifter who is a full time college student and 25 years old or younger regardless of whether their school has a powerlifting team. It is also one of two meets where lifters can attempt to qualify for the Junior National team to represent the USA at IPF Junior Worlds. 

The 2015 Collegiates will no doubt be another great event. Take a look at this year's promo video to understand what all the hype is about:

YouTube Video



Information about this year's meet can be found here:


The following list is compiled of lifters either from Georgia schools or lifters who have moved to Georgia after Collegiates and are still involved in powerlifting. Although Georgia has not had the same team involvement other states have, Georgia has produced some very impressive collegiate lifters!



Ryan Goldin:

Georgia Southern University
2 time National Champion and All American
1999 242 class, Ft. Wayne, In.
2000 242 class, Colorado Springs, Co.

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 684 lbs   Bench: 519 lbs    Deadlift: 601 lbs   Total: 1785 lbs





James Vang:  

University of Georgia
Three time National Champion and All American; 
2012 Baton Rouge, La (148 lbs class)
2013 Killeen, Tx (145 lbs class)
2014 Orlando, Fl (145 lbs class)

Best Lifts at Nationals:
Squat: 578 lbs    Bench: 363 lbs   Deadlift: 556 lbs   Total: 1,504 lbs

What are your favorite memories of Collegiates?

My favorite moments are always eating food with my friends after competing; 2012 (steak), 2014 (dinner with friends). During the competition itself, I do enjoy the final moments of the dead lifts, crowning the champion.




YouTube Video



Josh Rohr:

Ashland University
Two time National Champion and All American
2004 Omaha, Nebraska
2006 Miami, Florida
165 lb weight class

Best lifts at Collegiates
Squat:595 lbs    Bench: 347 lbs    Deadlift: 628 lbs    Total: 1571

You started a program from scratch. Tell us about your collegiate career.

The 2003 collegiate nationals was my second meet ever and it was my first national meet ever. I can honestly say that the 2003 collegiate nationals is where i became obsessed and in love with the sport of powerlifting. In the fall of 2003, while at Ashland University, myself and another female powerlifter that I had met started a team because we saw how awesome it was to have a team at collegiate nationals. I remember seeing LA Tech, LSU, Ball State, ULL, some of the large teams and the commoradory that they had. Being from a small school, we were never to reach the size of an LSU or LA tech but we prided ourselves in quality. At the 2003 Collegiate Nationals, Tiffany Sommers (the girl that co-founded the team) won the 181 class. The following year in 2004, Ashland University took 5 lifters to collegiates. I was fortunate enough to win the 165 weight class. 606 was loaded for my 3rd deadlift and I needed it to win. It was the longest deadlift I have ever pulled but I finished it. That win qualified me to compete at the 2004 IPF Junior Worlds in South Africa.

In 2005, Ashland University took 5 lifters to Collegiate Nationals, one of them being Hope Hunt (now in Atlanta). 4/5 of us bombed out, including Hope and myself. This was the lowest of the low, especially for me being the returning champion and the fact that I was now coaching everyone. This still goes down as my lowest point in powerlifting. I had not done my job in preparing my team or myself and it showed.

However, in 2006, my senior year, Ashland University again took 5 lifters to Collegiate Nationals in Miami, FL. We had 4 guys and 1 girl. 3/4 of the Ashland men won their weight classes and we placed 3rd in the men's team standings with only 4 lifters - something that has yet to be duplicated. We placed ahead of some teams with 30+ lifters. To me, this is my favorite moment in my powerlifting career, even above my first national title and my first medal at Worlds. This was my first team placing at Nationals - lifters that I had coached and helped become champions.

I think that was the moment that I wanted to coach powerlifters for a living.








Brooks Conway:

University of Georgia
Two time All American
Bronze medalist 2010 Collegiates, Orlando, Fl

YouTube Video

5th Place 2011 Collegiates, Scranton, Pa

Best Lifts at Collegiates:
Squat: 655 lbs Bench: 419 lbs Deadlift: 644 lbs   
Total: 1719 lbs

What is your favorite thing about Collegiates?

Never in my life besides Collegiates have I had the opportunity to crush the dreams of 40 people in a single weight class.


















David Young:

Georgia Southern University
231 lbs Weight Class, 5th place and All-American at the 2014 Collegiates in Orlando, Florida

Best Lifts:
Squat: 727 lbs    Bench:  512.5 lbs   Deadlift: 551 lbs   Total: 1,791 lbs 

What was your favorite memory from Collegiates? 

Favorite memory was getting my first 700 squat, then immediately coming back for 727.


What makes this meet so special?

YouTube Video


The meet is so special because when you walk in, you're immediately surrounded by dozens to hundreds of people stronger than you, which in this world of local lifting and record chasing is pretty rare, and in my opinion is the exact point of powerlifting.









Doc Holloway:

Louisiana Tech University
Four Time National Champion and All American
weight classes: 114 lbs and 123 lbs

Best Lifts at Nationals:
114 lb class
Squat: 396 lbs   Bench: 193 lbs   Deadlift: 490 lbs   Total: 1080 lbs

123 lb class
Squat: 451 lbs   Bench: 231 lbs   Deadlift: 529 lbs   Total: 1240 lbs
















Matt Goldin:

University of Georgia
2 time National Champion and 3 time All American 
198 lb class
Bronze medal 2002 Killeen, Tx
National Champion 2003 St. Louis, Mo
National Champion 2004 Omaha, Ne

Best lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 650 lbs    Bench: 402 lbs   Deadlift: 661 lbs   Total: 1703 lbs

What is your favorite memory of collegiates?

Favorite memory was breaking the 1700 total

What makes collegiates special?

Collegiates is so special because of the competition and the build up before hand. Someone is always talking about the next best thing and then seeing if that lifter performs.



James Townsend

Louisiana Tech University
Bronze Medalist and 3 time All American

4th Place 242 lb class, 2000 Collegiates, Colorado Springs, Co.
3rd Place 242 lb class, 2001 Collegiates, Alexandria, La.
4th Place 220 lb class, 2003 Collegiates, St. Louis, Mo.

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 589 lbs   Bench: 435 lbs   Deadlift: 601 lbs   Total: 1581 lbs

What makes Collegiates such a great meet?

Collegiate nationals is the best meet the USAPL has to offer and has been for a long time .  The indivual and team competitions and rivaleries can't be matched  by any other meet.  The best national meet  atmosphere I have ever witnessed was the 2001 collegiate nats in alexandria ,  the crowd was huge and very loud (standing room only), the competition was fierce, I have never been more fired up to compete at a meet !!! 




Matt Buttimer:

UCLA

181 lb class
2010 Collegiates, Orlando, Fl

Best lifts at Collegiates 

Squat: 501 lbs   Bench: 385 lbs   Deadlift: 501 lbs   Total: 1387 lbs









Jacqueline Higgins:

University of Georgia

3rd Place and All American 2013 Collegiates, Killeen, Tx 
184+ Weight Class

Best Lifts at Collegiates
Squat: 391 lbs    Benchpress: 209 lbs   Deadlift: 385 lbs    Total: 986 lbs

What makes this meet so special?

Powerlifting is an unlikely adrenaline sport, but Collegiates is a room packed full of 18-23 year olds oozing adrenaline, hype, and drive. Powerlifting is also very much an individual sport, comparable to golf. While you may be competing against someone else, your opponents performance does not affect your strength and performance that day. While there are different levels of strength, there are not different levels of effort. Everyone is giving 100% even though the weights people are lifting are different. Hands down, the coolest part of the meet was watching a blind lifter compete. While I was in a heavier weight class, both she and I were giving it everything we had that day. We both played the best hand with the cards we'd been dealt and didn't leave a single kilo on the platform. Being in an environment that has its own pulse because of all the energy, excitement, and effort was definitely the best part of Collegiate Nationals. The Bronze Medal wasn't too shabby either.



Caleb Williams:

College of Wooster

2004 National Champion and All American, Omaha, Nebraska
148 lb class

Best Lifts at Collegiates
Squat: 655 lbs    Benchpress: 407 lbs   Deadlift: 562 lbs    Total: 1625 lbs

What makes Collegiates such a great meet?

The best thing was the teams that were there and everyone supporting and yelling for each other. That added a great atmosphere to compete in.








Brad Robbins:

Life University

National Champion and All American
165 lb class, 2000 Collegiates, Colorado Springs, Co

Best Lifts at Collegiates 

Squat: 584 lbs   Bench: 308 lbs   Deadlift: 523 lbs   Total: 1416 lbs






Lawson Hale:

Georgia Gwinnett College

5th Place and All American 2013 Collegiates, Killeen, Tx
205 lb class

Best lifts at Collegiates
Squat: 622 lbs    Benchpress: 380 lbs Deadlift: 622 lbs    Total: 1625 lbs












YouTube Video

Cody Leatherwood:

University of Georgia

10th Place 2012 Collegiates, Baton Rouge, La
198 lb class

Best Lifts at Collegiates
Squat: 606 lbs    Benchpress: 363 lbs Deadlift: 551 lbs    Total: 1521 lbs


What is your favorite memory of Collegiates?

My favorite memory of Collegiates isn't the competition itself. It isn't the huge venue, the amount of lifters, or even the quality of competition faced. My favorite memory stems from the fourteen hour drive me, my coach, and teammates took to get there. We were broke and couldn't fly but it didn't matter because just like every other meet the camaraderie experienced between the guys was what made the trip worthwhile. Traffic and directions were bared easily  in light of jokes cracked, stories told, and big numbers discussed as we strategized the upcoming meet. That's what makes powerlifting what it is to me pushing everybody to be better and forging friendships in the process.

Hunter Pooser:

Life University

Bronze Medalist and All American 2014 Collegiates, Orlando, Fl
264 lb class

Best Lifts at Collegiates
Squat: 727 lbs    Bench: 451 lbs    Deadlift: 684 lbs Total: 1862 lbs

What makes this meet so special?

The fact that there are almost 400 college athletes competing in this meet. Compared to the other national meets, where they have the same amount of competitors but from all age groups.

What is your favorite memory from Collegiates?

My favorite memory is the feeling of placing in the top three and having the support of many people that I don't even know.




Hunter is actually the only scholarship powerlifter in the state of Georgia!

Lauren Bridgers:

University of Georgia

5th Place All American 2014 Collegiates, Orlando, Fl
114 lb class

Best lifts at Collegiates:

Squat: 264 lbs    Bench: 132 lbs    Deadlift:    242 lbs    Total: 639 lbs

What is your favorite memory about lifting at Collegiates?

As for my favorite memory from the meets, it would probably be traveling to Texas and flying in an airplane for the first time with my coaches Mark Freeman and Brooks Conway, Vang, and my family. Before that meet, my family hadn't traveled much, so Texas was a huge trip for us, especially since we were all getting on a plane for the first time. Also, it was awesome knowing that my first plane trip was happening because I was going to compete at a national meet for powerlifting- most people can't say that's why they got on a plane for the first time. And seeing other lifters from schools around the country board the same plane as us to compete was awesome too- it was a cool opportunity to meet new people and an amazing experience for my college career.



Amy Walden:

YouTube Video


University of Georgia

8th Place, 2014 Orlando, Fl
158 lb class

Best lifts at Collegiates:

Squat: 325 lbs      Bench: 165 lbs  Deadlift: 319 lbs    Total: 810 lbs

What will you remember the most about lifting at Collegiates?

It was a huge meet, everyone was so pumped. And I think knowing that I actually had a shot to place. Everything about it was fun. Even though I only got 8th, I left knowing I gave it my all. I think a huge part of it was just feeling proud of myself for cutting over 20lbs and still being able to hit the numbers that were my max at 181. So no matter what, I knew I had still succeeded and reached my goal.



Arthur Bui:

YouTube Video


Valdosta State/Georgia Tech

7th Place, 2014 Orlando, Fl

Best Lifts at Collegiates:

Squat: 496 lbs   Bench: 336 lbs   Deadlift: 523 lbs   Total: 1355 lbs

Arthur represented Valdosta State in 2014 but will be representing Georgia Tech in 2015.

What is you favorite memory from Collegiates?

My favorite memory of collegiates last year would have to be my last deadlift... It was my first ever equipped meet and I was pulling to move from 7th to 5th to medal and even though I missed it, I'll never forget the effort I put into it. I loved the people I met there and friends I made. Competed with friends so that was great and getting to represent my school.. Amazing experience...definitely would never pass up an opportunity to go.


Omar Rogel:

Georgia State University

4th Place and All American
163 lb class
2001 Collegiates, Alexandria, La

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 446 lbs    Bench: 259 lbs   Deadlift: 451 lbs   Total: 1157 lbs

Carter Fitzgerald:

YouTube Video


University of Georgia

205 lb class
2014 Collegiates, Orlando, Fl

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 473 lbs   Bench: 341 lbs Deadlift: 562 lbs   Total: 1377 lbs





Iain Risk

YouTube Video


University of Georgia

205 lb class
2013 Collegiates, Killeen, Tx

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 562 lbs   Bench: 303 lbs   Deadlift: 523 lbs  Total: 1388 lbs



Chantal Elmore:

University of Georgia

125 lb class
2013 Collegiates, Killeen, Tx

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 214 lbs   Bench: 105 lbs   Deadlift: 281 lbs   Total: 601 lbs









JP Yarid:

YouTube Video


University of Georgia

5th Place and All American
181 lb class
2012 Collegiates, Baton Rouge, La

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 611 lbs   Bench: 402 lbs Deadlift: 512 lbs   Total: 1526 lbs





Frank Harvey:

University of Georgia

264 lb class
2013 Collegiates, Killeen, Tx


Jeff Robison:

Arizona State University

2nd Place 1994 Collegiates
3rd Place 1998 Collegiates

What do you remember most about Collegiate Nationals?

I competed in the 1993 and 1998 Collegiate Nationals. I took 2nd in 1993 in a tightly contested battle, and 3rd in 1998. I was more proud in 1998 as I was a full time student at Arizona State, married with my oldest daughter, and trained sporadically. They were my first competitions with real teams of lifters supporting each other. I thought it was great that everyone was pulling for each other lift after lift. In my 25+ years in the sport I have never seen the excitement that a collegiate nationals brings. Super tight competition in all classes both mens and womens brings out the best in every lifter. The level of competition is superb as well. I thought I had a pretty good shot to win then TWO lifters broke the total record!! One of them being a future IPF World Champion.

Trey Cunningham:

Louisiana Tech University

3 Time National Champion and All American
123 lb class
1999 Ft. Wayne, In.
2000 Colorado Spring, Co.
132 lb class
2001 Alexandria, La.

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 457 lbs   Bench: 281 lbs   Deadlift: 507 lbs   Total: 1245 lbs

Jordan Thomas:

University of Georgia

8th Place, 2012 Collegiates, Baton Rouge, La.
242 lb class

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 512 lbs    Bench: 457 lbs   Deadlift: 606 lbs   Total: 1576 lbs







Donnie Byerly:

United States Military Academy West Point

Bronze Medalist and two time All American
3rd Place, 2011 Collegiates, Scranton, Pa.
5th Place, 2012 Collegiates, Baton Rouge, La.
6th Place, 2010 Collegiates, Orlando, Fl.
242 lbs class

Best Lifts at Collegiates

Squat: 622 lbs   Bench: 551 lbs   Deadlift: 611 lbs   Total: 1763 lbs

What are your favorite memories from Collegiates?

No lifter forgets their tightest wraps, burst blood vessels and torn callouses, or the sadistic satisfaction of "leg day." A credit to Coach Scarpulla and my Army teammates, anybody who witnessed his infamous pre-lift smack to the neck caught a snapshot of the intensity and focus of our sport.

Twice owning a national bench record, if only between flights, was my proudest accomplishment, especially being a year our program was fighting to justify relevance to the school. Four years worth of training in a moldy, condemned gym always felt worthwhile once under the white lights of the Nationals stage. (The irony that football scouts had once dismissed my size potential was admittedly sweet.)

What are your favorite memories from lifting with the Army team?

... Interestingly, I trained as a football player and wrestler under Ryan Goldin in Georgia long before picking up competitive lifting in college... I loved the mix of camaraderie and accountability, because it removed excuses and blame often found in other sports to make the team sincerely close... Powerlifting broke me free from my own ceiling of expectations, and I'm thankful that mindset carries self-confidence forward today.



Tyler Wright

United States Military Academy West Point

4th Place and All American 2012 Collegiates, Baton Rouge, La    
198 lb class

Best Lifts at Collegiates:

Squat: 622 lbs    Bench: 451 lbs   Deadlift: 567 lbs   Total: 1640 lbs


































Comments