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This item originally appeared in the April 21, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

By ERIN BASS

Associate Sports Editor

The Louisiana Tech Iron Dawg Powerlifting team traveled to Baton Rouge this past weekend and brought home a Men's National Collegiate title. This is the men's 15th national title and 12th consecutive honor since 1994.

The men's team won by out lifting against state and national teams such as Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge.

"I think the men's team did very well," head coach and former lifter Emilio Saldierna, said. "They, as well as every team at the meet, faced very difficult judging, but they focused and came away with the national title."

Although the men's team brought home a national title, there were some individual placement awards.

David Summers, a freshman basic and career studies major, placed first in the 114 lbs. weight class, Jeremiah "Snoop" Welch a senior computer science major, placed second in the same class, Mike Hafenbrack, a junior biology major, took second in the 123 lbs. weight class.

Freshman developmental education major Joey Moreno, placed third in the 132lbs. weight class, Mike Houston, a freshman psychology major, took top honor in the 148 lbs. weight class and junior kinesiology major Josh Chovanec took home second in the 275 lbs. weight class.

On the opposite end of the gender spectrum is the women's team, who placed third due in part to four bomb outs.

"I am very proud of the women's team. Close to a third of them were disqualified, or "bombed out", due to technical rule infractions, not strength, which does not represent what they are truly capable of," Saldierna said. "This meet was very difficult for all schools that entered."

"It was a good weekend although we did have some downfalls," sophomore women's lifter and biology major, Gracie Espericueta said. "We trained hard and we had great lifters, but there were some outside factors that hurt us which we had no control over."

Saldierna added that the women's team was definitely capable of taking home a national title, but agreed with Espericueta that it was technical flaws that got in the way.

Among the Louisiana teams they competed against, the Iron Dawgs faced LSU and Nicholls State University-Thibodaux, which are considered Tech's main rivals.

The men's team swept the national title right from under LSU's feet by five points, but according to Ben Brooks, a junior health and exercise science major, it was well-earned.

"We continued a tradition of having a men and women's team compete at collegiate nationals and, although the men came out victorious, the women still placed third out of at least thirty colleges, and that is extremely impressive," Brooks said.

Despite the aforementioned, Saldierna, who was also named Male Collegiate Coach of the Year in his first year of coaching, was most impressed with the teams kindness and generosity.

"One aspect of this meet that I am truly proud of is the way the team helped any and all schools at this and every meet," Saldierna said. "Many lifters, coaches and officials commented on how impressive it was that the tech team would help out and cheer for all lifters, and I truly believe that is what being a champion is all about."


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