Let’s just call it his personal redemption tour.
Columbus powerlifter Luis Arreola had a disappointing end to last year after tearing his pectoral trying to set a new national bench press record of 413 pounds during a powerlifting competition.
The 23-year-old has been on a “tear” of sorts since then. He set a state record two-and-a-half months later to capture first place in the Midwest Border Wars in March. He continued his success by winning the 198-pound weight class in the National Powerlifting Championships at Golden Nugget Las Vegas earlier this month.
Recent Columbus East graduate Isaac Doss, who set the bench and squat national records for the 18-19 age group in the Midwest Border Wars, placed second at the Vegas nationals in the 242-pound weight class. Both lifters felt they could have done even better in Vegas.
“I actually didn’t do as good as I wanted to which was kind of a bummer,” Arreola said. “I took first place so at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. But I left a lot at the table. It was a long day.”
This was only Doss’ second powerlifting competition of his life and the 12 hours of competing was the longest competition both he and Arreola have participated in. They woke up at 5 a.m. and didn’t end the competition until 7 p.m. later that day.
In powerlifting, the three competing lifts are squat, bench press and deadlift. Arreola said squat usually is the weakest lift for him. So he knew it would be a good day after squatting a personal best of 468 pounds, Arreola said. Competing with a slightly bruised pectoral didn’t stop him from excelling in bench press either.
Arreola bruised his pectoral in the March competition and did more damage after trying to come back too early, which forced him to take a break from upper body workouts from April until June. He went into the national competition still sore but managed to bench press 386.8 pounds. He also deadlifted 540.6 pounds for a total weight of 1,395.4 pounds.
“Going into nationals I didn’t feel 100 percent, but I had no choice” Arreola said. “This is the biggest stage I’ve ever stepped on so I had to show up for it.”
Doss, a former Columbus East football player, came into the competition looking for a first-place finish and didn’t miss his goal by much. He was only six total pounds behind the winner in squat and bench but didn’t hold up as well in deadlift. Doss’ absence of deadlifting for three consecutive months left him at a disadvantage.
“I was going for first place, but I just didn’t have my best day out there,” Doss said. “I gave it my all … That’s my biggest downfall when it comes to lifting is I haven’t been deadlifting for very long.”
Doss squatted 522 pounds and said he could have squatted an additional 75 pounds on a good day. He benched 330 and deadlifted 507 pounds for 1,359 total pounds. Neither Arreola nor Doss are planning on basking in their accomplishments for too long, as they have already started training for their next competition in September.
Arreola will be looking to redeem himself from tearing his pectoral in December of last year by heading back to the same competition in September. He and Doss will be lifting in Vol. 2 of that competition, and Arreola will be moving up to the 220 weight class.
“(Going back) is going to feel good actually,” Arreola said. “I’m really really confident. Me and my brother came up with a workout program. I feel pretty confident, we have a good feel of what we need to be doing.”
Luis Arreola: First place in the Vegas national weight lifting competition
Weight Class: 198
Dead lift: 540.6
Isaac Doss: Second place in the Vegas national weight lifting competition
Weight class: 242 (18-19 year-old division)
Dead lift: 507