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GPC Western Classic Recap

On the weekend Smith's Fitness took 10 lifters to the 2nd inaugural GPC Western Classic Powerlifting Competition held at Rucci's Gym in Malaga. This was my first time visiting Dan and Paul's new facility and boy, it did not disappoint. I've been competing and coaching at competitions held by the Rucci brothers since 2016 and surely these competitions would have to be up there with the best in the world. There is just not much more you could ask for. The new facility is decked to the nines with speciality powerlifting equipment and set up permanently for competitions. The whole operation is a well-oiled machine from the warm up room, to the scoring system and platform crew.

The crew had been training hard as usual for this competition which is sort of in an odd spot on the calendar given it's only 5 weeks from the Christmas/new year break which typically creates a bit of havoc in a lifters preparation. Nonetheless as we do, we got on with, continued to hone our skills and get stronger in order to bring a good package to the platform.

Our 10 person team was again the second largest team behind the home side Rucci's, something that makes me quite proud. We love competing and we show up on comp day, again and again. Not only did we have 10 lifters but we had another dozen make the hour long trip to Malaga to cheer us on, plus Natalie Allen who volunteered to referee. What a bunch of legends. This was a one day event with two sessions comprised of two flights. For me that is a perfect setup; warm up, squat, warm up, bench, warm up, deadlift. No waiting around between lifts.

The majority of our lifters where lifting in the first flight of the first session, so the crew was tasked with handling and wrapping duties. A big thank you must go to Dillon Boynes and Nathan Hollis for their hard effort on the day, it doesn't go unnoticed. There was a fair amount of nervous energy in the warm up room before the first flight started. A few of our girls hadn't competed in knee wraps before which added to the anxiety. So first up we had Courtney Nixon in the 56kg weight class, plus Julia Nicolson and Kylie Johnson in the 60s. Below I've outline their results.

Courtney took 1st place in the 56kg weight class unfortunately lifting alone with no other competitors. This happens a lot in Powerlifting unfortunately, especially in the lighter class. Taking nothing away from Courtney as this was her first sanctioned competition and she managed to nail her first 100kg squat. Double body weight is just around the corner. Court finished with a 100kg Squat, 45kg Bench Press (Court is actually still on the mend from a pectoral injury so this is well below her best) and a 107.5kg Deadlift for a total of 252.5kg.

Kylie Johnson is our adopted team member from over the road. She has worked tirelessly under the help of coach Troy Abbott and looked really strong coming into the competition. I think Kylie would agree it wasn't her day going 5/9 although she still did manage to take out the bronze medal in the 60kg weight class with a total of 277.5kg included a 95kg Squat, 55kg Bench Press and 127.5kg Deadlift.

One of the highlights for Smith's Fitness was the performance of Julia Nicolson who took out the 60kg weight class after a late entry to the competition. Julia overcome a lot of nerves just to get on the platform for her first sanctioned competition but we are all glad she did. Totalling a very impressive 307.5kg on 7/9 lifts Julia set the standard from the start and won quite convincingly with a 110kg squat, 52.5kg Bench and whopping 145kg Deadlift at 58.5kg bodyweight.

Next up we had the second flight of the first session which included out two most experienced Powerlifters Sally McBrydie in the 82.5kg weight class and Troy Abbott in the 75kg weight class. They were joined by Steve Loftus who competed in the Bench Press only and Ben Davidson competing in his first sanctioned competition and looking to really test himself. Sally is a great competitor and would expect nothing else but first place, Troy was keen to add to his total and put pressure on a long-time rival and Steve was focused on nailing his first double bodyweight competition bench press weighing in at 82.5kg. They did not disappoint.

Sally cleaned up, went 8/9 and secured her first 400kg total on the back of a personal best 157.5kg Squat, another PB followed with a bench press of 72.5kg and an equal PB Deadlift of 170kg. Sally narrowly missed 180kg on her last deadlift attempt, unfortunately stalling just below the knees, but she had easily done enough to secure another medal and add to her total.

Had a couple of lifts gone his way Ben could have easily come away with gold in his first sanctioned competition. Nonetheless he had to settle for silver with a total of 405kg at 67.5kg bodyweight on the back of a 135kg squat, 100kg bench and 170kg Deadlift.

With just two competitors in the men's 75kg weight class it was a shoot-out between two old rivals. Unfortunately Troy fell just short of good mate Warren Page, who is a very impressive lifter. Troy has slowly closed the gap on the best in the state in this weight class and will continue to be a real threat in the 75s. Troy managed to total 542.5kg on the back of an impressive personal best squat of 207.5kg, with more in the tank I believe, another personal best on Bench press with 120kg and an equal PB of 215kg on Deadlift.

We were all pretty upset for Steve when he went down with a knee injury a few weeks prior to competition day. He was training as hard as ever and focused on doing well. To his credit he still competed in the Bench press only competition and after blitzing a 150kg opener took a big jump to 165kg, double body weight, and managed to squeeze it out. A great accomplishment for any lifter.

The afternoon sessions saw up and coming junior lifter Jakob Parr take to the GPC platform for the first time in the 100kg weight class. Joining him was Damion Le'Cocq in his first competition in the 90kgs and myself (AJ Smith) also in the 100s.

Damion was up against it from the start in a very talented weight class and in his first competition. He still managed to put up a respectable total of 577.5kg after squatting 200kg, benching 137.5kg and deadlifting a new gym record for the 90s of 240kg.

My own performance was relatively uneventful and dictated by my efforts towards training which were not solely focused on Powerlifting. Finishing with a squat of 210kg, bench of and a rather disappointing deadlift of 200kg I am still stoked with how the day went. Nonetheless, I would've loved hitting that hail Mary third Deadlift of 235kg to sneak onto the podium. It was not to be.

We were all very keen to see Jakob hit the platform as the youngster has literally gone from strength to strength. Whilst Jakob still managed to put up a very impressive total of 605kg, we all know, including Jakob, he had a lot more in him if not for a couple of little errors on the platform. With that said this competition will be a learning curve as he takes that total higher and higher. Jakob finished with a new gym record 260kg Squat, a 127.5kg bench and 217.5kg deadlift.

Overall I couldn't be happier with the performance of the crew on the weekend. Not only did we lift well, but we again represented our gym with pride both on and off the platform. Having a large group of supporters travel to cheer their mates on makes me very proud of the environment we have at Smith's Fitness. I'm looking forward to our next big event, the GPC States competition, where will may have an even bigger team.

Thanks for reading guys and girls. Stay busy getting strong. AJ

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