MILTON — Four teammates who train at The Bar Strength and Conditioning competed in the United States Powerlifting Association National Powerlifting Championships July 7-9 in Las Vegas.
The strength sport of powerlifting consists of making three attempts at maximum weight on three lifts: the squat, the bench press and the deadlift.
Patt Porter, John Severson, Alex Sudduth and Tyler Griffis competed.
Porter has been into weight lifting since he was 11 years old. He studied health, leisure and sports at the University of West Florida. Not only does he coach, but Porter also incorporates his knowledge in nutrition in his coaching.
Living in Pensacola, he drives 20 minutes twice a day to get to The Bar Strength and Conditioning.
“When I was at Pensacola Beach, I drove 45 minutes," he said. "That’s how important this place is.”
At the national meet, Porter placed first in the Master’s Division 308-pound weight class at the 40 to 44 age.
This was Severson’s first national powerlifting meet. He's been competing for two years, he said.
“My dad was in the military so I was always in the gym," he said.
He was tired of the regular gym and wanted to get into powerlifting.
“The day I walked in here, I knew I was home,” he said.
As for this meet, he said, “(On the) opening squat, I locked my knees out and when I was given the rack command, my legs buckled and I was given two red lights. On my second attempt, when I unracked, something popped in my back and I was not able to fight the squat all the way up. I did not take a third attempt.”
He benched 396 pounds and pulled 749 pounds.
“So I ended the day with a hurt back a strained left arm and a black eye.”
Severson is mostly recovered now and says he’ll try again next year.
Sudduth started coming to The Bar in ninth grade at 15 years old to help build muscle for baseball first at Pace High School then Jay. Severson and a friend, Matt Millbury, convinced Sudduth to take on powerlifting, Sudduth said.
“I’m not going to win. I’d like to. Doing my best is all I want to do and extend all my numbers. I’ve only been doing this nine months.”
“The environment is so different,” Sudduth said, speaking of the gym. “People know me. They’re the best training partners around. It’s the best gym I’ve experienced.”
At the competition, Sudduth placed third in the junior 18- to 19-year-old division.
While Griffis was unavailable for an interview, the Press Gazette learned he placed first in the junior 20- to 22-year-old division. He set a state record on the dead lift at 611 pounds and a world record bench press at 507 pounds.
An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that this was John Severson’s first powerlifting competition. This was his first national competition. He’s been competing in powerlifting events for two years.