2018 Classic Open Nationals Preview - Men

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by Connor Lutz

The sport of powerlifting in Canada has grown exponentially over the past couple years and participation at the 2018 Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) National Championships, in Calgary Alberta, is no exception. A combination of factors such as an accessible location, Canada being the host nation for the 2018 Classic World Championships and the increased popularity of powerlifting have all contributed to the largest National Championships to date! With 523 registered lifters there is no doubt fans can expect a multitude of podium battles with Canada’s strongest vying for the opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage this coming summer on home soil.

At the World Championships each nation’s open team is made up of 8 men and 7 women, with each country restricted to sending no more than 2 lifters per weight class. For those unfamiliar, the CPU has well defined selection criteria for the Canadian National Team that competes at the world championships each year. The first obstacle in qualifying for the open team is achieving an “International A” wilks standard which is 450 points for men, and 390 points for women. Assuming a lifter has achieved this standard the team is then comprised of each weight class winner from the national championships for the given year. Should a weight class winner choose not to accept their position on the team or happen to win their weight class without achieving the “International A” standard, the highest wilks out of all the second place finishers will be granted the spot. If the alternate lifter fore go’s their spot on the team, the opportunity passes to the next highest wilks of all second place finishers. This process continues through all second place finishers and then all third place finishers and so on, until 8 men and 7 women have chosen to participate. What this means is that beyond being crowned National Champion, where athletes place at nationals is extremely important. In laymen’s terms, the only way for a lifter to guarantee themselves the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Championships this year is to win nationals!

So who will be contending for a spot on Team Canada’s Open team this summer?

59kg Nominations            

Williams

Pete

BC

502.5

Ng

Derek

ON

476

Gauthier

Serge

QC

467.5

 

The 59kg men has been a class in Canada that is traditionally low on participation and subsequently depth. I always attributed this to the fact not many 59kg men are well suited to survive a Canadian winter but the best 59kg powerlifter in the history of the sport is from Siberia so that can’t be it. It must have something to do with more 59kg men having success in today’s NHL.

Anyways, this years competition will be comprised of three men; Pete Williams, Derek Ng and Serge Gauthier. While still low on participation this class is not low on depth. Either of these men could stand atop the podium. Despite declaring on social media he will not make the cut to this class again, Pete comes in nominated in the number one position. Pete is followed by Derek, who despite being a junior aged competitor has chosen to compete in the open, and thirdly Serge nominated narrowly behind in the bronze medal position. Despite being nominated third Serge comes into this championships as the only competitor with International experience. Expect him to draw on his experience to push the other two lifters. One very interesting component to this battle will be the achievement of an “International A” standard as all three lifters fall just short of the 450 wilks required to qualify for team Canada. Look for these men to take some risks as they push themselves not only for the gold but also for the International standard.

59kg Prediction

  1. Derek Ng
  2. Pete Williams
  3. Serge Gauthier

This class will come down to the final pull as I predict Pete Williams to enter the deadlifts winning on subtotal but for young Derek Ng to use his National Record deadlift to steal away the gold!

66kg Nominations

Cascioli

Stephen

BC

660.5

Moores

Jesse

ON

630

Remulla

Daniel

ON

627.5

Duran

Daniel

AB

562.5

Tang

Leng

ON

515

 

The 66kg class is sure to provide fans with everything they want in a competition, with a world record squatter, a potential national record bencher and the Canadian Powerlifting Union’s greatest set of triceps. I do however, feel like I’m doing this class a disservice by not making mention of the 66kg junior battle that will unfold the day prior. The junior men in this class will be putting on a show with five young men stuck in an absolute dog fight for the title of national champion; all of whom are more than capable placing amongst their open counter parts. In a couple years this class will be one fans of Canadian powerlifting will be telling their grandkids about.

Shifting our focus back to the Open category, Stephen Cascioli comes into the competition worrying his fans with cryptic social media posts about his ensuing performance giving the rest of the field a glimmer of hope in the last couple weeks of preparation. Steve is a seasoned international competitor toting multiple IPF metals holding the world record in the squat more than once. Naturally he comes in as the favourite; however, if Steve truly is limited by injury the door is wide open for both Daniel Remulla and Jesse Moore’s to de- thrown the three time National Champion.

66kg Prediction

  1. Stephen Cascioli
  2. Daniel Remulla
  3. Jesse Moores

Despite concerns of his health, I predict Steve will come in and take care of business on the day. The silver and bronze medal battle is one that will be great to watch. This one could very well come down to a win on bodyweight giving the edge to Remulla as Jesse was a last minute addition to the 66kg roster sneaking down from the 74’s days before the deadline.


Photo credit Loaded Bar Collective

 

74kg Nominations

Lutz

Connor

SK

690

Langley

Ben

MB

655

Thomson

Bryce

BC

648

Demone

Conor

NS

630

Tiller

Kris

NL

575

Sun

Aaron

ON

555

Nguyen

Loc

ON

552.5

Landsman

Matthew

AB

550

Nhung

Daniel

BC

550

Houle

Jason

AB

540

 

The 74kg class is, for obvious reasons, the most anticipated session of this year’s competition. Atleast this is the class I am most excited about… but maybe that’s just me. In all seriousness though, this is a challenging class for me to preview. Despite having a productive training cycle to date and being nominated in the number one position this class has grown in depth over recent years and there are numerous lifters deserving of the title. If I’m being honest, I enjoy embracing the underdog mentality and would much rather be chasing those ahead of me than fending off those behind. Both Ben Langley and Bryce Tomson come into this championships with monster squats and international experience in 2017. Something I can’t say for myself! These gentlemen are more than capable of tackling the National Record in the squat discipline and will no doubt have their sights set on their first national title. Another lifter to keep your eye on is Conor Demone, Conor is coming off a major injury last season making him a bit of a wild card coming into the meet. Conor has a multitude of experience in the sport but no national performances to date. He is a gifted squatter and could definitely find himself on the podium with a strong showing.

74kg Prediction

  1. Connor Lutz
  2. Ben Langley
  3. Bryce Tomson

I think this will be a fun session to watch as all the top lifters have a great track record of making lifts in competition, making it a true chess match for podium position. I’d like to think I’ve made enough progress in the squat and deadlift this preparation to allow my bench to carry me to the top spot on the podium. Conversely, I think despite having potentially the biggest squat and deadlift of the session, Bryce’s bench will just not be enough to snag the silver medal from a very well rounded lifter in Ben Langley.

 

83kg Nominations

Ramzy

Adam

BC

767

Yee

Randy

BC

685

Reyes

Josh

ON

667.5

Brennan

Mike

AB

622.5

Paradis

Sylvain

ON

620

Sae

Roland

ON

607.5

Mouallem

Khalil

AB

607.5

Kim

Stephen

ON

605

deGuzman

Henry

MB

605

Klaus

Jeremy

BC

605

Wylie

Byrin

AB

600

McCarthy

Shawn

MB

598

Dupuis

Jonathan

QC

597.5

Oleniuk

Kyle

SK

570

 

In years past the 83kg class has had some amazing depth but unfortunately fan favourite Mark Wasson has opted not to compete this year and last year’s champion Michael Previdsa will be trying his hand in the 93kg class. This leaves us with one major story line for the 83kg session and that’s Adam Ramzy. For those unaware Adam boasts the highest male wilks ever in the history of the CPU, achieving a monstrous 620 wilks points at the World Games this past summer in the equipped category. Adam has dabbled in the classic division throughout his last 4 years of World Games preparation; however his primary focus has always been equipment. With over 6 months to prepare for his first major unequipped meet I can only assume he will come in prepared to put on a show. Adam’s total currently stands as an unofficial national record which I’m sure he’s looking to stamp officially into the record books, obliterating the current mark. In addition, he could very well take the squat, bench press and deadlift national records. Oh ya, he’s also working towards his PhD, MD… Sorry ladies, he’s taken. Behind Adam lies a group of formidable lifters which include fellow provincial team mate Randy Yee, the first year open Josh Reyes, Mike Brennan and Sylvian Paradis. Randy Yee leads this secondary charge with a very impressive squat and deadlift which will presumably propel him to a silver medal finish, look for Josh Reyes to utilize his recent additional bodyweight to challenge for the position all while fending off the tireless work ethic of Mike Brennan and up and comer Paradis. Mike comes in to this years championship fueled by a great training cycle while Sylvian looks to be making great strides following his first year in the sport.

83kg Predictions

  1. Adam Ramzy
  2. Randy Yee
  3. Josh Reyes

I expect this session to shake out just as the nominations dictate. Assuming Randy Yee calls a good day I think he has what it takes to hold off the surge from Josh Reyes. I think Josh will make things interesting by loading a big deadlift, which may prove to be just a touch too much on the day.

93kg Nominations

Cariazo

Walter

ON

797.5

Weeks

Cody

BC

743

Guedes

Stanley

AB

740

Previdsa

Michael

ON

737.5

Blanchard

Trent

ON

733

Sauka

Kristers

AB

700

Yamashita

Taro

ON

677.5

Lam

Willy

AB

675

Gear **

Thomas

NL

672.5

Powell

Dave

QC

665.5

Allen

Keto

AB

662.5

Laborde

Quinton

AB

657.5

Proulx

Devin

AB

655

Normandin

Devan

MB

640

Odgers

John

SK

635.5

Tsui

Jeremy

ON

622.5

Chuong

Brian

AB

605

 


Photo Credit: Loaded Bar Collective

The last couple years the 93kg session has been one of, if not the deepest and most exciting groups to watch and I don’t think 2018 will be any different. This year should be very interesting however, as there are a lot of new faces in the mix. The group is led by Walter Cariazo who burst onto the scene in 2016 with his world class deadlift. Walter has since added a quality squat and bench press to his repertoire allowing him to take over a class that see’s last years silver and bronze medal finishers move up to the 105kg division. This leaves the podium wide open for a good portion of the class including first time national competitors Cody Weeks and Stanley Guedes as well as long time rivals Trent Blanchard and Michael Previdsa. Correctly predicting the outcome of this class is less likely than me hitting it big at the Grey Eagle Casino after a few rum and cokes (diet of course, because it has to fit my macros). What I can say is that if the top 5 lifters have a good day it’s possible you see 5 totals over 750kg.

Cody comes into the competition with a lot of powerlifting experience however no national competitions to date. Cody is a very well rounded lifter with a standout bench press and could have his eyes on a National Record attempt in this lift. Meanwhile, Stanley is a new lifter achieving a 449 wilks score in his very first meet; nearly the International A standard! He has a phenomenal squat and deadlift with personal bests of 275kg and 315kg respectfully. Compare these two to Michael and Trent with extensive National and International experience and standout lifts of their own which include Trent’s 283kg squat and Michael’s 312.5kg deadlift. Regardless of outcome this is a group you will not want to miss!

93kg Prediction

  1. Walter Cariazo
  2. Michael Previdsa
  3. Stanley Guedes

Well, here it goes. As nominated, Walter will secure his spot on Team Canada. I’m predicting Michael’s experience in tight, high level competitions along with the opportunity to pull for position to allow him to come away with the silver medal. Staying with my theme of deadlifters locking up podium spots I have to give the bronze medal to Stanley Guedes in his home provincial in a pull for the podium position. Should this attempt fail, I think Trent will find himself coming home with the bronze when all the chalk settles from the third attempt deadlifts.


Photo Credit: LVD Media

105kg Nominations

Krawczyk

Bryce

AB

840

Roberts

Nick

NL

792.5

Brown

Leon

ON

790.5

Boulianne

Joel

QC

760

MacDonald

Mike

AB

750

Ryan

Austyn

ON

742.5

Alfante

Justin

ON

740

Bush

Gage

SK

740

Gosselin

Gabriel-Antoine

QC

715

Lieu

Trung

ON

700

Mercier

Julien

QC

682.5

Kozyra

Ben

AB

680

Sehovic

Tarik

ON

667.5

Gagne

Maxim

AB

660

Kennedy

Cameron

AB

657.5

Olsson

Eric

BC

655

MacIntyre

Rory

AB

650

Lund

Brett

SK

640

Aleman

Alex

BC

635

Rooney

Robert

SK

621.5

 

The 105 open class might be the deepest, most exciting class of the week long championship. This group on platform 2 and the aforementioned 93kg opens on platform 1 will be what the kids are calling straight fire. The 105 class comes stacked with competition which includes both the silver and bronze medals of the 93kg class of 2017, a world record bencher and the best deadlifter in the history of the CPU. The group is led by national record holder in total, Bryce Krawczyk, aka Calgary barbell, who is fresh of a world record deadlift of his own in the equipped division, followed by Nick Roberts who is carrying a ton of momentum into the day on the back of the decision to grow into the 105 class. Expect him to have his sights set on a national record squat! Rounding out the top three is Leon Brown, no short of his own accolades having multiple world record bench presses to his name, all while competing in the open category as a Master 2 lifter. That makes Leon north of 50 years old! While everyone will certainly be watching the performance of the top three men, there are numerous other competitors that could challenge for the podium on the day. This group includes the big benching, Joel Boullaine who competes with more intensity than any lifter in the CPU with no shortage of French profanities, Mike Macdonald who has been competing at a world class level before some of these lifters picked up there first dumbbell, Austyn Ryan, Justin Alfante and Gage Bush. While the battle for medals will no doubt be exciting the battle for the top 5 will be just as entertaining.

105kg predictions

  1. Bryce Krawczyk
  2. Nick Roberts
  3. Leon Brown

While Bryce Krawczyk has had an inconsistent squat for the past couple years, his bench is even less impressive. Fortunately for Bryce he quite literally could pull anything he needs to win. All jokes aside, Bryce is a phenomenal lifter and relentless competitor who I have no doubt will take home the gold medal and secure his spot on team Canada in front of friends and family. While Nick and Leon will certainly challenge Bryce to be his best on the day, I don’t think they have quite what it takes to build a sub total bigger than Bryce can out deadlift. Between these two guys it will come down to who can put together a better day and based on Nick’s momentum of coming up a weight class I have to give him the advantage. As much as I would love to see the celebration and antics that would ensue following Joe Bull making the podium in this class, I think Leon’s 225kg bench may be too much to overcome.

120kg Nominations

Willis

Erik

ON

900

Cloutier

Mickael

QC

855

Cardinal

Marc

QC

822.5

Brougham

Philip

ON

800

Dennison

Kerry

ON

755

Martin

Shane

AB

740

Paterson

Kyle

SK

735

Agnew

Russell

SK

727.5

Baker

Jeffrey

AB

685

Seeley

Max

AB

675

Singeris

Anthony

AB

645

 

The 120kg class unfortunately comes with it a major injury to a top competitor as Mickael Cloutier sustained a serious injury a few weeks out from the competition. This leaves the class to be dominated by the run-away freight train that is Erik Willis. Erik comes into the championships as the only lifter in Canada to hold all four national records in the same weight class. Quite obviously this means Erik is a force to be reckoned with in all three disciplines and the only lifter who has the potential to challenge him is his Innerstrength team mate who will be competing as a junior in this same class. Assuming Mickael is not able to compete to his best abilities, this class finds the competition for silver and bronze wide open to a number of lifters including the big squatter Phil Brougham, the monster bench of Shane Martin and two huge deadlifters in Marc Cardinal and Kerry Dennison. This group will be fun to watch as Shane is coming in fresh off a silver medal in the bench from IPF Open worlds and will be looking to show his abilities in the classic division while Kerry Dennison has committed to coming up to 120 from the 105 kilo class last year, a decision I’m sure will help his subtotal!

120kg Predictions

  1. Erik Willis
  2. Marc Cardinal
  3. Kerry Dennison

Barring disaster this class is Erik’s to lose, look for him to be eyeing a massive total over protecting the gold medal position. Behind him, I’m looking for Marc Cardinal to secure the silver medal and for Kerry Dennison to use his new found mass to surpass Phil for the bronze medal with a massive third deadlift!

120+Kg Nominations

Branton

Kelly

ON

1020

Byrne

Jason

ON

922.5

Laybolt

Brody

AB

837.5

McLaren-Almond

Chris

ON

780

Abdulkadir

Omar

ON

775

Snell

Steve

AB

760.5

Hickie

Raymond

SK

750

Martens

Jeff

AB

750

Sparks

Nathan

AB

742.5

Boyd

John

SK

737.5

Demelo

Curtis

AB

730

 

The 120+kg class is always very interesting because despite being one class, you can almost divide the group into two sub classes. Those that are over 120kg and those that are super heavy weights. To be truly competitive in this class you have to embrace the “Eat and Grow” mantra of Kelly Branton who has literally grown into the force we see today, well beyond his years of competing in the 110kg junior division. While most lifters are stressed about making weight, the men above will sitting back, feet up trying there damndest not to sweat. When tuning in to watch this session all eyes will be on the squat and bench press of Kelly Branton who has long been predicting a 1000lbs/a lot of kgs squat attempt at some point in his career. Will this be the day he makes the dream a reality? Along with this squat we can expect Kelly to Bench something well over 275kg which is truly mind boggling. Behind Kelly there is a man that many know little about who is deserving of much more publicity and respect as a lifter. This man is Jason Byrne who holds the National Record in deadlift and is the lone competitor who has the potential to challenge Kelly with a great performance. I’m not sure if there is truth to this story or not, but for those unaware during last years national championships in Saguenay Quebec there was a massive snowstorm that shut down the highway into the region. In order to compete, Jason single handily lifted his snowmobile into the back of his pickup, drove until the road was shut down and drove through the storm on his snow machine to make the event. This is a man’s man and if brute force and determination ever prevailed, this would be one of those times; second to every single one of Mark Wasson’s squat sessions. Leading the pack of lifters over 120+kg is Brody Laybolt. While Brody won’t challenge Kelly for the gold weighing in at a svelt 122kg, he certainly could challenge Jason for the title of man’s man fresh off a dip of red man to keep him occupied during his drive down from cold lake. Look for Brody to put together a well rounded total capped off by an impressive deadlift!

120+ Predictions

  1. Kelly Branton
  2. Jason Byrne
  3. Brody Laybolt

History has dictated that Kelly has had technical issues at nationals in the past, but assuming he registers a total I think the predictions for this group will be pretty cut and dry. What fans can look forward to is the potential of new National Record attempts in the squat, bench press and total which always makes for an exciting event!

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Find the open women's classic preview here

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Tune in to the live stream February 20-24 here


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