He’s got the power

Published 8:42 am Friday, August 14, 2009

COURTLAND—Richard Poland has battled many opponents on the football field. His latest battle is at weightlifting events where he so far has mastered all of those battles.

Poland, 17, a defensive end and offensive tackle for Southampton Academy, really became excited about the sport when he was introduced to powerlifting by Michael Baugham, the preacher at Boykins United Methodist Church.

“Me and him are good friends through church,” Poland said after football practice on Monday. “I lift in his garage and we work out there. I’ve been lifting since ninth grade but lifting with him for a year.”

Poland has competed six times and has won all six events. His latest victory was at the USA Powerlifting meet in Charlottesville in the 16-17-year-old 198-pound division. Competitors are judged on their top squat, deadlift and bench press. Of the three, Poland said his best events are the deadlift and bench press.

“The squat is sometimes shaky. You have off days and (if) you just ran, the squat might be off,” he said. “During the competitions it might be less, but I can do about 260 pounds in the bench press in a regular gym.”

Besides winning weightlifting championships, Poland said powerlifting helps with football.

“It gives you the upper edge when you are on the football field,” he said. “If they don’t lift and I do, I have the upper hand. I need to be stronger on the field. There are always bigger, heavier guys out there playing football.”

Poland said when he is training for a weightlifting event, he will lift four days a week.

“I think my next meet is in December. Right now I won’t work out until I get into football season,” he said. “Normally, I usually start when I find out there is a meet. He (Michael Baugham) will tell me about it, sign me up and get me lifting, and I will be on the road doing it.”

Poland, the son of Chet and Connie Poland, is hoping to take his football skills to college.

He is looking at Bridgewater College, Randolph-Macon College and Hampden-Sidney College as possibilities. Perhaps the powerlifting will give him the edge to play at the next level.