The USAPL Collegiate Nationals is one of the loudest, most competitive meets you will ever encounter. With deep classes and large crowds, teams come from around the nation with one goal: Win the team title! There are only two divisions, the men’s division and the women’s division and IPF scoring rules are enforced. Historically, it has taken a minimum of 57 points to win the title.
To achieve this tally, a team will usually have to produce at least 2 first place winners and have 4 other lifters place in the top three of their respective classes. If a team can produce three first-place finishes, they have almost always gone home with the team title.
The 2012 Collegiate National Championships looks to be the most competitive championships to date, as there are 5 teams that appear to have the talent to win it all. The nominations suggest that the following teams are the frontrunners for the coveted title of “national champions”:
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The UL men have won the title two of the past three years, with a dominant performance including 4 first-place finishes and a whopping 63 total points in 2011. After being hit heavily by graduations prior to this season, UL still returns two national champions: Nelson Boutte (132) and Kyle Ramsey (242). If the rest of UL’s (mostly) underclassmen can chime in with the rest of the points, look for UL to repeat.
The UL women finished third last year and were equally hit by graduation. Led by Dana Wallace (97) and Alex Jackson (165), UL’s roster is comprised entirely of freshmen and sophomores.
Louisiana State University
The LSU finished third in the men’s division last year, but return a much improved roster. Led by defending National Champion, Vincent Bradbury (123), the Tigers have reloaded with talent and are sure to be in the mix.
The LSU women have been the most dominant collegiate squad of the past decade. With returning National Champions including Kaitlin Stewart (105), Kiela Badeaux (123, moving up to 132) and Ariel Parker (198), LSU is the heavy favorite for another team national championship.
Louisiana Tech University
After dominating the sport of collegiate powerlifting for over 25 years, Louisiana Tech has been down in numbers in recent years. Nonetheless, they will bring one of the most talented men’s squads to the 2012 National Championships and a quick glance at their roster reveals that the Bulldogs could once again be the premier men’s team in the nation. Led by 3-time champion Ja’Mon Williams (114) and the squatting sensation Jordan Dunn (165), they’ve also got two or three other lifters that could potentially finish in first place as well.
University of Texas at Austin
UTA lays claim to two of the most dominant lifters that collegiate powerlifting has seen in years. Preston Turner (275) and Ian Bell (198) are two of our sports greatest talents, despite their young ages. After finishing in second place last year, the Longhorns return almost their entire roster. Look out!
The women of Texas A&M won the national team title in 2010 and placed second (53 points) in 2011. Once again, the Aggies are loaded with a talented roster that will likely challenge LSU. Kayla James (123), Olivia Harrington (165) and Bryanna Alba (181) have the ability to win their weight classes. If they do, it could be another team title for the Aggies in 2012.
Other Top Lifters
Of the 300 registered lifters, other front runners include Molley Jaegar (105) of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Michelle Van Dusen (114) of the University of Wisconsin at Waukesha, Heather Crocker (132) of Northeastern University, Suzanne Louque (148) of Nicholls State University, Luciano Torres (148) of Florida Gulf Coast University, Knute Douglass (181) of the University of Southern Mississippi, and Chris Vickery (220) of Sam Houston State University.