Four local powerlifters win national titles

Matthew Gourlie
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Rhaea Stinn sets record as best-ever female lifter in Canada

Friday was a great day for a pair of local powerlifters.

Rhaea Stinn deadlifts 196 kg at the CPU nationals. This lift gave her the Canadian women's total Wilks record.

Rhaea Stinn finally broke a record she had been chasing for years and Aaron Ziffle won a national title that eluded him.

All told, local powerlifters won four national titles at the Canadian Powerlifting Union's Nationals Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships in St. Catherines, Ont. last week.

There were six local competitors and the other two both finished with silver medals.

Rhaea Stinn has accomplished a lot in her career, but she finally got the Canadian female Wilks record this past weekend. The Wilks is a formula used to determine the best lifter at a competition by factoring in their weight and the weight they lifted.

"She's been chasing that all-time female Wilks since she really got close to it. She got to within four points of it," said Ryan Stinn, a local competitor and coach. "She had some rough years where things started going poorly, but in the last year, year-and-a-half it's starting to come around. She's come closer and closer to it in the last year."

Rhaea's previous best Wilks was 553, which was just shy of the record of 556.9. Her Wilks at nationals was 565.24.

"It was a big (personal best) for her," said Stinn. "She actually beat it on her second deadlift."

She now has the fourth-best Wilks' total ever in Canada amongst men and women.

Stinn won the 72 kg open equipped class with national record total of 571.5 kg. She set national records in the deadlift (204 kg) and the squat (222.5 kg) and had a 145 kg bench press.

"Her diet was dialled in. She came in light and she was training at the weight she was competing, so that helped her not have to make a big weight cut. That helped on competition day," said Stinn.

Ziffle won the 93 kg equipped class to claim his first national title.

"He had been in position for it a couple of times and came up a little short in that deadlift," said Stinn.

He had a squat of 302.5 kg, a 207.5 kg bench press and a 270 kg deadlift for a 780 kg total. His final deadlft put him in the lead, but he had to wait to see if his nearest competitor would beat him with his final lift.

"It kind of sucks to be in that position where you lift and then you have to wait to see if it will be good enough," said Stinn. "He kind of went to the corner and hid, so we got to go over and take his headphones off and tell him what happened. He was pretty pumped."

Ryan Stinn was on the other side of that scenario the next day. He had a 355 kg squat, but missed out on having his 365 kg squat count due to a technicality. He had a 270 kg bench press and a 320 kg deadlift for a 945 kg total.

That put him in the lead, but his competitor tied him with his final lift. Because Stinn has a higher body weight, he finished second. However did earn the national record for the total since he lifted it first.

"If I had hit that squat it would have changed the day and made him pull a little more to beat me. It is what it is. It's hard to go to nationals and put your best total up. I'm happy with how it went," said Stinn.

His total was satisfying in part because it had been a long road to get back to that level.

"I've slowly been coming back for five years since I hurt myself," said Stinn. "This ties my personal best total which was a month before I hurt myself. So I'm kind of back to where I was and I'm actually at a lower body weight, so I have a higher Wilks now."

Stinn injured his back at nationals when it was held in Moose Jaw and has struggled to be back to full health since.

"I was squatting and it was my second attempt and I squat down and something in my back popped or tweaked. I had basically been re-doing that ever since. About a year-and-a-half ago I really started to recover and figured out what was wrong with it," he said.

Shantelle Szuch and Melanie Ziffle both competed in the 63 kg open equipped class.

Ziffle returned to competition after having her second child nine months ago. She squatted 177.5 kg, bench pressed 95 kg and deadlifted 170 kg for a 442.5 kg total to win her weight class.

Szuch squatted 170 kg, bench pressed 90 kg and deadlifted 167.5 kg for a personal best total of 427.5 kg and a second place finish.

Pamela Windrum won the 84+ kg open equipped class. She had a bit of trouble with squat and was only able to get her opening attempt at 175 kg, she recovered with a strong bench of 110 kg and deadlifted 162.5 kg for a 447.5 kg total.

The winners all qualify for the International Powerlifting Union world championships in Denver in November. It is possible that Szuch and Ryan Stinn could also still qualify.

"If someone doesn't want to or if there's an open spot, it goes to the best Wilks in that category, so I think even Shantelle and I will have a chance to get on the team," said Stinn.

In the meantime Ryan and Rhaea Stinn will take part in the North American championships at St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in July.

Organizations: Canadian Powerlifting Union, Nationals Powerlifting and Bench Press, International Powerlifting Union North American

Geographic location: Canada, Moose Jaw, Denver U.S. Virgin Islands

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Recent comments

  • Linda Rousseau
    April 10, 2014 - 12:37

    Amazing lifters! I love watching them.