Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pennridge powerlifting team muscles its way into the record books

Pennridge powerlifting team muscles its way into the record books

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Coach Steve Pattison, or “CP” for short, recruits Pennridge students for his powerlifting team by walking up to them in the school hallway and asking, “Hi, how are you? How much do you weigh?”

Unmoved by the brazen question, about 35 students and parents have joined CP in his gym in Perkasie for intense one- to two-hour lifting sessions four times a week. And whatever he’s doing, it’s working because the Pennridge powerlifting team has beaten not just school, state and regional records, but 26 world records. Going up against about 40 other countries, the team beat others and its own past world records in bench, squat, dead-lift and total — the best of all three — at the world championships in Las Vegas in 2012.

“Coming from a town like Perkasie, what these guys have accomplished really is unheard of,” CP said. “It’s just not done.”

The team is on its own for finances, which can add up to large amounts quickly. This year the team had to pay its way to Las Vegas, and two years ago team members paid their way to the Czech Republic.

Though the team does have some tall, brawny characters, the majority of them look like normal Pennridge students until they flex.

“It’s not necessarily a body builder strength,” CP said. “Your body does get bigger, harder, firmer but it’s more power. That’s what it’s all about.”

Danielle Tasher, a Pennridge student who weighs 97 pounds, can dead-lift 230 pounds, but no one would guess it with her petite frame.

Johnny Hess, a 92-pound member of the team with bright blue eyes, broad shoulders and a constant smile, can bench 135 pounds. What makes Hess even more impressive is that the 16-year-old sophomore can bench that much while paralyzed from the waist down, a result of spina bifida, a birth defect.

CP said usually your legs are your base of everything, your drive for power.

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