HHS Powerlifter David Still Becomes Two Time National Champ


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By: Madi Held

He did it again.

For the second year in a row, sophomore David Still won first place in his weight class becoming a back to back National Powerlifting Champion. Four Hershey High school students traveled to Orlando, Florida to represent Hershey in the USAPL High School National Powerlifting Championship on April 1-2, 2016.

David Still takes his turn with deadlifting during the USAPL High School National Powerlifting Championship on April 3, 2016. Still was able to achieve three new personal records while at the competition. (Submitted by David Still)

David Still takes his turn with deadlifting during the USAPL High School National Powerlifting Championship on April 3, 2016. Still was able to achieve three new personal records while at the competition. (Submitted by David Still)

Freshman Kyllian Harper placed sixth in his weight class. Junior Matt Stauch also placed sixth in his weight class. Sophomore Ian West increased his school record bench to 275 pounds, but got disqualified. However, Still had the most impressive result for the Trojans.

“You have three attempts in all three lifts; the squat, the bench, and the deadlift, and the officials take your best weight from each lift and combine them for your total,” said Still who reached a total of 1,283 pounds for his title.

Head Coach Troy Smith had goals set for Still prior to the competition. “My goal for David was to be a repeat national champion, as well as achieve personal records in all three lifts,” said Smith.  

Still did just that, and was successful in eight out of the nine lifts, only missing a 303 pound bench attempt.

Still awards his successes to his coaches and how much they have prepared him.

“Coach Smith watches film from our lifts during practice and can tell what area of the lift we need to improve on. Whether it’s the top, middle, or bottom,” Still said. According to Still, the coaches are able to form a plan to strengthen the lifters in the areas they need it the most.

“One of the main areas we worked on with David in the month leading up to nationals was for him to transition into a new Titan squat suit making sure he could get proper depth,” Smith said. A Titan suit is a harness worn by lifters who are lifting big amounts, according to Still.

In order for a squat to pass the national standard, a lifter needs to break parallel meaning the crease of their hip has to go lower than the top of their knee.

Smith said that all four lifters trained three days a week since November in preparation for nationals. The coaches’ tactic was to use accommodating resistance chains on the squat, bench press, and deadlift in order gain top-end strength in all three lifts. “We waved their intensity levels week-to-week throughout the month of March,” said Smith.

One thing Still remembers hearing most from his coaches is that he has no reason to be worried about the other competitors. Still’s coaches wanted him to only worry about himself and his accomplishments.    

Smith explained that it’s important in this sport to look inward not outward.

However, Smith also seems to think that since they have built up the program the past 12 years, they now have a tradition to uphold giving the lifters more of a motivation. Smith said, “The four guys that traveled to nationals are all self-motivated individuals, so motivation is not an issue, making the experience one to never forget.”