2004 Billy Jack Talton Award Winner
Coach of the Year
Presented each year to the USAPL members who best demonstrate
the ideals that USAPL stands for of sportsmanship, dedication and
perserverance to the cause of drug free powerlifting in America.
Please follow the links above to read about this years winners.
2004 Men's 123lb National Champion
By: Priscilla Ribic,
USAPL Athlete's Rep.
I'd like to introduce the 2004 Men's 123lb National Champion, Mike Kuhns. I met Mike at the American Open in 2003 and was excited to see that he was going to make his way to the National platform. Although he reports in the interview below his poor performance at Seniors, he notably had what it took to hang in there and become this year's National Champion and at only 18 years of age!
Hometown: Whitehall, PA
Occupation: Student, beginning college August 31
Weight Class: 123
Best Competition Lifts:
Squat - 505 (RAW @123)
Bench - 330 (USAPL Open Record)
Records: USAPL 123 Open Bench (330), several AAU and ADAU records, had an IPF Sub Junior 123 squat record @ 480 but it was broken.
Priscilla: Tell us how you got started in powerlifting and how long have you been competing?
Mike: My Father was the one who got me interested in weight training. I began lifting around 12 years of age and when I was 13 I entered my first Bench Press competition. After that I was hooked. I did bench only meets until I was 14 then I started competing in full meets. I started competing at 148, then after a year or so I moved down to 132, where I did all my RAW competitions with the ADAU. Then during Sep. of 2003 I decided to compete in full USAPL meets ( I had previously done the USAPL Bench Nationals RAW)and I did my 1st meet Oct.24 which was the New York State meet, that is where I broke the Open 123 Bench record, totaled elite and qualified for the USAPL Senior Nationals.
Priscilla: I know you hold the IPF Sub-Jr World Record in the squat, is that your favorite lift?
Mike: The Squat is my favorite lift, but the Bench is in a very close 2nd. Although the Squat is my favorite lift, the Bench I believe is my best lift.
Priscilla: Tell us a little bit about your routine, your workout partners and your coach.
Mike: I have to have the most unorthodox training routine. Basically what I do now, and what I have always done, even up until the Seniors is I train when my Father finds time to train. He is my only regular training partner, so without him I have no one to spot me. But on Saturdays I always Squat with my club, the Twin City Powerlifting Team, coached by Nick Theodouro, where some of my greatest friends and Powerlifters come together once a week to Squat. My Father is my coach, he is responsible for all my Powerlifting success, except in the Bench Press, Mike Miller and Nazareth Barbell are where I learned proper Bench technique and it is because of Mike Miller and Nazareth Barbell that I'm able to Bench what I can. I also have to mention my very close friend and training partner Chris Cirnigliaro. Chris is the one who told me about the USAPL and how the greatest lifters in the country compete there and have the opportunity to compete Internationally against the best in the World. Also he has given me the best training advice, he supports me tremendously, and he is always there to help me out.
Priscilla: How do you compare your experience at the American Open winning Champions with that of Senior Nationals in Baton Rouge? How was the transition? And, what is your personal assessment of your performance on the National Platform?
Mike: The American Open was only my 2nd full USAPL meet. That is where I set the IPF Sub Junior Squat record. But other than that I had a bad day. I only got my opener Bench and opener Deadlift. The same at the Senior Nationals, I only got my openers there. The reason I did poorly at the American Open was I held my peek for too long following the New York meet 1 month before.
The Seniors was a totally new and different experience for me. I have only myself to blame for my performance the only thing I can assure is that next year I will be at my best. Luckily for me, even with my bad day, my competitions was worse and that is why I am the Senior National champion this year.
Priscilla: What were some of your most memorable events from the Senior National's weekend?
Mike: -Being able to compete at the Senior's this year, for me was an experience I could not describe in words. I had the greatest time of my life there. Meeting the best in the sport, male and female, talking and joking with living legends, being excepted by everyone. It was something that I felt I almost didn't deserve. Meeting all the greats was my most memorable experience. Lifters such as Shawn Cain, Ray and James Benemorito, Mike Bridges, Brad Gillingham, Brian Siders, Doc Holloway, Dave Ricks, Wade Hooper and everyone else who was there.
Priscilla: What's next for you?
Mike: What's next for me is I'm going to begin my freshman year of college at the end of August, but I will be competing at the American Open this year in King of Prussia. There I will qualify for next years Senior Nationals where I will defend my title.
Thanks again Mike for the interview, the future is bright for you and I hope to see you on the National platform again! Good luck breaking those records.