Hill students are set to hold first strength contest



Hill will be holding its first community-wide strength contest on May 21. It will be a powerlifting-style competition where participants will test their one-rep max in squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.  

Ben Sullivan ’24, who spearheaded the organisation of the event, was inspired by Hill alumnus Nicholas Li ’22 to plan the event.   

“At his school, he is part of a strength club,” Sullivan said. “They do a mock powerlifting meet at the end of every term, and I just thought it was a cool idea and something I wish that we had here.” 

Sullivan approached Gavin Harter, instructor of science, who “thought it was great”.  

 “There is a big gym culture on this campus, and everyone wants a way to show off their hard work in the weight room,” Harter said. “A competition just made sense.”  

 Sullivan and Harter then met with Elle O’Brien, the assistant director of athletics of sports performance, to discuss the idea.  

 “After that meeting, it was all set in stone,” Sullivan ’24 said.  

 The contest does not allow the use of knee and elbow wraps, bench shirts and lifting suits. Headphones are only allowed on squat and deadlift as commands must be heard for bench. For all lifts, the competitors will be given three attempts. For squat and bench they can select three different weights to attempt, for deadlift they are allowed three fails.

However, the trio was met with some logistical challenges involving the contest format. Instead of having competitors choose their own weight, they are doing the deadlift portion a little bit differently where there are pre-selected weights and competitors can attempt each weight rather than selecting their own 3 attempts.  

“It’s sort of a ‘go until you fail’ model that is designed to have only one lifter going at a time so that they can have the most amount of hype and encouragement,” Harter explained.  

O’Brien describes the goals of the competition as “to have fun and to have our community learn about powerlifting.” She would love for enough students to be interested in Powerlifting or Olympic Weightlifting to start a club next school year. The trio also hope that “everyone has fun and that we help build an inclusive environment around the weight room,” Harter said.  

Sullivan ’24 has been lifting in the gym since the start of third form year and is currently training for the contest. “Since the finalisation of the meeting date, I have been training specifically for the meet,” Sullivan ’24 said. ”It’ll be about six weeks of prep.” 

“I’m super proud of Ben for planning this event,” O’Brien exclaimed, “Everyone should come out to support all the competitors, see all of the strong students we have on campus and have a great time!”