By Scott Prater
In the two and a half years Kentrel Brooks has been stationed at Schriever he has heard many tales of sheer brute strength.
Soon after arriving here late in 2009, he heard how the 50th Space Wing’s Commander, then Col. Cary Chun, shocked the base by winning its annual bench press and deadlift competition. The next year he heard similar stories about how then 50 SW Vice Commander Col. Kenneth Allison destroyed the field to earn victory.
Previous commitments prevented Brooks from entering last year, but this year, despite a lack of time to properly train for it, he was determined to throw his name in the hat.
“I was anxious at the start because I didn’t know what to expect,” said Brooks, who played running back for Mississippi State’s football team in the mid-2000s and has been lifting weights since he was in middle school. “I didn’t know the format, didn’t know who might show up and didn’t quite know what I was capable of since I hadn’t lifted competitively for more than a few years.”
He walked into the fitness center Jan. 20 at 232 pounds, the heaviest of all six competitors. Since the competition was based on total weight lifted compared to each participant’s body weight, that put Brooks at a disadvantage.
As it turned out, his concern seemed downright silly.
Brooks bench pressed 405 pounds, 100 pounds more than his closest opponent. If that weren’t enough he exploded on the deadlift, raising 550 pounds. His effort in the deadlift equaled that of Allison’s from 2009 and catapulted him to an overwhelming victory. Brooks total weight lifted to body-weight ratio came in at 4.12.
Trevor Lane, runner-up at last year’s competition, claimed that honor once again, lifting 305 in the bench press and 485 in the deadlift.
“We were hoping to get more of a turn out, but the competition went well,” Event Director Bing Hack said. “We had three competitors lift 100 pounds more than their body weight and that’s an impressive feat.”
Brooks said many of his opponents registered personal bests on the day and attributed their efforts to the competitive nature of the event.
“Competition gets the juices flowing,” he said. “I was impressed with a lot of the guys here like Christopher Flowers, who is under 200 pounds but pressed more than 315.”
Brooks neared his personal bests as well, coming within 20 pounds on the bench.
“I felt like I could have benched 435 today, but I didn’t want to hurt myself,” he said. “I think I even should have stopped at 515 in the deadlift, but luckily I managed to pull up 550.”
Besides the Schriever event, he doesn’t plan on competing anytime soon, instead focusing on lifting as a means for shedding calories and staying in shape.
“Lifting is great way to burn calories,” he said. “People who want to get into weight training should go in with clear and concise goals though. Seth Cannello and the staff at the fitness center really help in that regard. They have a lot of knowledge and they’re also great resource finders. If someone wants to get into Crossfit for example, they can direct you to the right places.”