The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Bob Rowland bought his son, Tyler, a Smith machine and some dumbbells when Tyler was in the eighth grade, hoping his son could bulk up for wrestling.

Tyler put the weights in the garage and started taking care of business.

“I was always a real small guy, real skinny, and my dad wanted me to get stronger for wrestling,” said Tyler, who will graduate from Clay High School next month. “When I first started working out, it was tough. It was a lot of work and I was skinny, and I wasn't seeing a lot of results. My dad kept pressing me through it and I could start to see results. On the mat, I could tell I was stronger than other kids and that kind of kept me going.”Rowland

Rowland, 18, who began wrestling at age 7, became a City League junior varsity champion as a freshman, sophomore and junior before moving up to the varsity as a senior. Rowland, however, injured his wrist in January and never returned to the Eagles' wrestling team.

“It was pretty disappointing,” said Rowland, who competed at 145 pounds. “It was my senior year and I always had goals to make it down to the state tournament.”

Rowland continued weight training and decided to compete at a regional powerlifting meet at Northwood High School. Ironically, the meet was held on the same weekend (March 3-5) as the state wrestling tournament; it was the first powerlifting event for the 5-foot-7, 155-pound Rowland.

“My wrist wasn't bad,” he said. “The weight comes straight down on it, so it didn't hurt. It only hurt when I would bend it.”

Rowland competed in all three events at the Northwood meet – the bench press, squat and deadlift.

“It was pretty eye-opening,” he said. “I've always had a good bench. I worked out for wrestling and one of my buddies (fellow Clay senior Canen Smith) asked me to compete with him and I thought I would give it a shot. I didn't know how I would stack up against other people. After the meet I was thinking, 'wow, I didn't think I was that strong.' I was pretty much just focusing on the bench, because I'd never really squatted or dead-lifted before.”

Competing in the 155-pound weight class, Rowland set a Northwood meet record with a 275-pound bench, which came on his final attempt. Rowland trained for the meet at Maumee Bay Turf Center in Oregon.

Rowland said he knew he could push more weight on the bench, so he and Smith signed up to compete at the Division 1-2-3 State Powerlifting Championships on March 19 at Kenton High School.

Rowland trained for all three lifting events, but he put most of his focus on the bench press. He ended up squatting 225 pounds and deadlifting 320.

“I didn't really squat because I wanted to save my energy for my bench,” Rowland said. “We squatted first, but the whole goal was to set a record on the bench, so we just set a weight. I've squatted like 335 before.”

Rowland's strategy paid off. He set another state record in his class in the bench press with a lift of 290 pounds. Rowland set his opening weight at 265 pounds.

“You can pretty much start wherever you want,” he said. “I knew I did it (265) before and I wanted to open with something solid for my confidence. The weight felt real light, so it made me want to go get more. I went to 280 and that one was even better than the first one. The third lift was 290.”

Rowland, who said he bench-pressed 295 pounds in late April, said he was “kind of” surprised he managed to win an event at his first state-level powerlifting meet.

“I knew it was going to be close, coming right after wrestling season,” he said. “It was real iffy. The powerlifters there seemed like they were more focused on their legs. Their benches were pretty low compared to mine.”

Smith, who won the 155-pound division with a three-lift total of 1,170 pounds, had the second-best bench press at the Kenton meet, at 260 pounds, followed by Nate Caudill of Minford (250). Rowland earned a medal for winning the bench-press portion of the meet.

“It wasn't really about the medal,” Rowland said. “No one has ever done that much weight before. I think the previous record was 285 back in 2007, and no one had beaten that since then. To me, it was kind of mind-blowing that I could achieve that”.




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