The Daily Northwestern

Strongest man competition tests strength, will

Nicole Drummer

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McCormick sophomore Tasuku Miura said he put himself through a rigorous training regimen of 90-minute daily workouts for an entire week and consumed nothing but crackers and water to prepare for Saturday’s strongest man competition.

Weinberg senior Aaron Danielson simply got plastered the night before.

But whatever their strategy, the 12 powerfully built male students and professor who gathered in Patten Gymnasium for Northwestern’s first strongest man competition said they were glad the football team stayed home.

Miura, who bench pressed 260 pounds to win the title, said he chose to participate in the contest for fun.

“I wouldn’t say I’m really the strongest man,” he said. “My friends posted the flier (for the competition) on my door. They constantly joke about me always lifting and said I should participate. But I’m glad not too many football players and wrestlers showed up, because it would have been a different story.”

During the competition, the participants grunted, muscles bulging and faces contorting in pain, as they lifted weights to their chests and heaved them over their heads.

The strongest man was determined after three attempts each at bench press and bicep curls. Each contestant’s highest weight-lifting total was then divided by the participant’s body weight to get the final score.

Runner-up Matt Edelstein, a wrestler and Weinberg junior, nearly toppled Miura. Luke Koerner came in third place, Danielson finished in fourth and Weinberg freshman Rob Thorsness took fifth.

Koerner, a Weinberg junior, had the best individual bench press at 300 pounds.

Danielson, who extolled the virtues of partying the night away before the competition, said he enjoyed testing his athletic mettle.

“Holding the competition after a Friday night is just a total conflict of interest,” he said. “(But) it’s all about testosterone and having fun, not impressing the girls.”

The students were also impressed that political science Prof. William Reno competed for the strongest man’s title after working out for 90 minutes prior to the contest.

Other spectators came to cheer on their more athletic friends.

“I came to see these big, sexy guys lift weights,” said Evan, a Weinberg junior.

Weinberg senior Kamal Patel, who organized the competition, said NU needed an event testing athletic strength instead of academic ability.

“I’m surprised at how well it turned out, because it was chaos at first,” he said. “People were confused as to what they were supposed to do.”

The time of the competition was changed from 3 p.m. to 2 p.m. because of the Bears game, further adding to the turmoil.

“It was really confusing because half the competitors showed up at two, and half showed up later,” he said.

Although parts of the competition were disorganized, the contestants had something to shoot for besides mere male bragging rights – the winner received a $100 check from Undergraduate Residential Life for General Nutrition Center. Miura said he would probably use the prize to buy protein drinks for all the other contestants.

Patel, who aims to plan a bigger strongest man competition during Spring Quarter involving throwing kegs or pushing tires in Deering Meadow, said he appreciated Residential Life’s support.

“I was glad they did it because this competition was not exactly educational,” he said.