By Scott Prater
Former 50th Space Wing Vice Commander Col. Kenneth Allison’s performance during last year’s Schriever Bench Press and Deadlift Competition was not only good enough to win the event in a landslide, it inspired this year’s winner as well.
Bryan Bell, a contractor in the 50th Operations Support Squadron, had recently arrived on base last year when he read about Colonel Allison’s victory.
“He walked through my office a couple times a week after that,” Bell said. “So, I struck up a conversation and we talked a lot about power lifting. I’m sort of glad he restationed because that means he wasn’t here today to compete.”
Bell pushed 365 pounds up in the bench press segment and hoisted another 455 pounds in the deadlift segment Jan. 21 to edge Trevor Lane, a civilian at the Joint Functional Component Command Integrated Missile Defense, for the overall competition title.
“Between six knee surgeries and a couple of shoulder operations, I haven’t had a lot of time to train in the past 10 years, but starting a few months ago I managed to get some work in during my lunch break at the fitness center annex,” Bell said.
The recent training proved beneficial when Bell beat his previous personal-best deadlift by 50 pounds. His wife, Westy, just happened to be on hand for the occasion because she also competed, placing second among female competitors with a bench press of 135 pounds.
Though Bryan Bell lifted the most weight in both events, winners were actually decided by a weight- lifted to body-weight ratio. Bell and Lane were the only athletes who competed in both events.
Much to the surprise of the competition staff and his fellow competitors, 150-pound Tech. Sgt. Howard Santos, 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron, won the bench press competition with a heave of 295 pounds.
“He was impressive,” said event director Seth Cannello. “That’s nearly twice his body weight.”
Though Sergeant Santos has been weight training for more than 15 years, this marked his first competition.
“The last time I maxed out was 14 years ago,” he said. “I only did 265 pounds then, so this was a personal best by far. I got it on my last lift and felt good enough that I think I could have lifted more, but we were limited to a total of five lifts and I guess I strategized poorly. I started too low and didn’t know what increments to go up with.”
Sergeant Santos may not have given himself enough credit for a performance well done. Mr. Cannello said competitors could start at any weight and lift more on successive attempts, but once they failed at a particular weight they were done.
“It was better to be conservative,” he said. “And there were people who made mistakes because they didn’t plan on lifting in a format like this.”
Capt. Caitlyn Diffley, 50 OSS, captured the women’s deadlift title, but couldn’t hold off Brenda Lewis, 50th Network Operations Group, who used a 165-pound bench press to claim the overall title. Dan Sanders, 11th Space Warning Squadron, took first in the men’s deadlift.
The Schriever Fitness Center hosts a different sporting event each month and invites everyone who has access to the base to participate. Contact the fitness center for more information on February’s sporting event.