The roar of the cheering crowd echoed through the gymnasium at Episcopal High just after 9 a.m. Saturday as Walker’s Christian Moore returned to his original position after squatting an invitational record-setting 655 pounds in his weight class.
But Moore, a senior, said he’s already got his sights set on another goal.
“I’m getting 700 next meet no matter what,” he said.
Moore went on to set invitational records in the bench (410) and total weight lifted (1,595).
Later, on the girls side, Walker junior standout Breanna Gurzynski grabbed the attention of the packed house, setting records in the squat (455), bench (235) and total weight lifted (1,030).
Yet Saturday was the culmination of the hard work that each puts forth on a daily basis.
“It’s really a mind game (as well as a physical toll),” Gurzynski said of powerlifting. “It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort. (Powerlifting) requires 110 percent effort in everything that you do.”
Powerlifting is entering its second year as a Louisiana High School Athletic Association sanctioned sport, but Gurzynski and Moore have been competing in the weight room since their freshman seasons.
“I really started to get into powerlifting in the summer before my freshman year,” Gurzynski said. “It’s just my life. It’s my lifestyle at this point.”
Gurzynski and Moore have the added element of competing against each other, as well as many other talented athletes at Walker, during practice — pushing each other to be better.
“We duke it out,” Moore said with a laugh. “(Gurzynski) will beat her max by 10 pounds, and then it will motivate me to beat mine by 15. We both always have to try and one-up each other.”
Walker powerlifting coach James Roberts said there is still plenty of room for improvement for Gurzynski and Moore.
“Moore’s got to understand the mechanics of (powerlifting) and how to sit those hips above his heels, and he’s got to learn to stop doubting himself,” Roberts said. “(Gurzynski’s) been working hard for three years. She’s had some really big lifters come before her. She’s been able to sort of emulate and copy their style, and now she understands that it’s something she can do and it’s very possible.
“It’s all about repetition in the weight room — once we get that muscle memory working in the weight room, it builds that confidence that they lack right now.”
Although Moore and Gurzynski are currently filled with plenty of confidence, they weren’t always considered the cream of the crop.
“Powerlifting was difficult at first for me,” Moore said. “There were a lot of people who were a lot stronger than me. But it was just more motivation to push myself to be stronger. I’m not one to lose. I don’t like to lose. If someone is better than me, then I’ll congratulate them, but I don’t want to lose.
Ultimately, what Moore and Gurzynski have been able to accomplish over the past two seasons comes down to their dedication and work ethic.
“You cannot substitute hard work,” Roberts said. “It’s the kids that go up and do the work in the weight room, and those are the kids who will be successful.”