Meridian Star


June 22, 2014

Powerlifters strive to excel at State Games

COLLINSVILLE — Winston Lewis stood underneath the bar that carried the weight of 405 pounds, visualizing in his mind precisely what he was about to attempt to do.

    The Collinsville native and West Lauderdale High School alum lifted the weight off the stand, took a few steps back and began his attempt to squat the weight at Hot Spot 24/7 Fitness Saturday.

    The 165-pound Lewis descended into a squatting position. His knees, covered in wraps, began to tremble yet he steadily began his rise. The crowd cheered and celebrated as the local powerlifter let out a grunt as he came set to his original position.

Lewis placed the bar back to its original position and shot a glance to Commissioner Jason Porter, who shouted, “Good lift.”

    “You have to work on your leg strength,” Lewis said. “Leg strength is imperative in the squats.”

    Additionally, Lewis notched lifts of 450 in dead lift and 275 in the bench press.

    “Immediately after I get off work, I go to the gym,” Lewis said. “I spend about two hours a day in there and try to go six days a week.”

    And Lewis was more than willing to put his hard work on display as he squared off against several worthy lifters.

    “There is a lot of big guys here (Saturday) and all of them are great powerlifters,” Lewis said. “It was exciting to challenge myself against them.”

    Lewis and his competition still managed to throw support at each other despite serving as competitors in the gym.

    “There’s a huge support system,” Lewis said. “It’s competitive out there, but everyone is also there to cheer on one another.”

    Yet Lewis is unlike most of his fellow powerlifting contemporaries, as the 19-year-old Meridian Community College student has recently enlisted in the National Guard.

    “I’m pretty patriotic,” Lewis said. “I love America. I’m just a huge Patriot.”

    But Lewis was quick to point out the benefits also served as a major factor in his decision

    “I chose the National Guard for the benefits and mostly for the free education,” he said.

    Not to be outdone, 16-year-old Sean Porter managed to squat 285 pounds.

    Sean had the added pressure of performing well as his father, Jason, served as the event's commissioner. Sean didn't disappoint.

    “Me and him have a close relationship as it is,” Sean said. “Sometimes we get into arguments, and that’s bound to happen, but it’s a great bonding experience. We’re always talking to each other, and we get after it and compete.”

Having only been active in the sport for the past nine months, powerlifting has provided not just an outlet, but a lifestyle for the younger Porter.

    “I used to be a short, chunky fellow who didn’t participate in a lot of activities,” Sean said. “With powerlifting, it has given me strength, more athletic ability and I can do a lot more things that I used to not be able to.”

    Both Porter and Lewis shared a similar sentiment in experiencing the uplifting applause after a successful lift.

    “That’s an awesome feeling,” Sean said. “It’s a feeling that I can’t describe, you just have to experience it to be able to understand it.”    

    Added Lewis, “It really does help. Just to be able to impress people, and show off what you can do, and to see their reactions is just really cool.”

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