Written by JP Widner/SWT Sports Writer
Winchester-The 23rd Annual Weightlifting Unlimited Bench Press Contest took place last Saturday at the Eagles Club in Northern Virginia. After driving 3 ½ hours Friday afternoon, Pulaski Middle School eighth grader Cherokee Widner weighed in at 131 lbs while entering four raw (unassisted) categories. In a bench press contest, the
competitor is allowed a weight belt and wrist wraps. Commands of “press” after the bar is motionless on the chest and “rack” when the lift is completed must be adhered to. No movement of the feet or head is allowed, a lifter’s gluts cannot leave the bench and there is no sinking of the weight after the press command is given. The lifter must also lock the weight out at the same time with both arms. Any infraction of these rules will nullify a lift. A lifter must receive at least two out of three white lights from the three judge panel.
On Saturday, Widner lifted in the first of four flights with all the teenagers and light weight lifters. With lifts of 160, 175 and 185 lbs with a pause on his chest, the rising ninth grader captured first place in the 14-15 year old/132 lb category, first place in the high school category, first place in the open category (against all 132 lb. competitors of all ages), first place in the novice (never have won at this particular meet) category and the Best Novice Lifter Award.
During the awards ceremony, the teenager was awarded two swords, two sculptures and a certificate for a Titan bench press shirt. Widner will compete next in the American Powerlifting Association RAW National Powerlifting Championships this Saturday in Defuniak Springs, Florida.