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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Senior qualifies for Strongman competition

Friday, February 3, 2012

Northview Senior Jed Thomas (left) poses with Travis Ortmayer, after his second place finish at a Texas Teenage Strongman event. Ortmayer is a professional strongman and served as a judge at the contest Thomas participated in.
Northview Senior Jed Thomas qualified for Teenage Strongman Nationals, after a strong showing at a Texas Teenage Strongman competition in January.

Thomas said the events to test the competitors' strength varies from competition to competition.

"The events can range from anything from pressing logs over your head to picking up (heavy) stones," Thomas said.

Thomas said the contest is scored by where the competitors finish.

"They score it on how you place in each event," Thomas said. "And whoever has the highest average of scores wins."

Thomas said his goal was to qualify for Teenage Strongman Nationals, and he needed an overall top three finish to qualify.

"I went down there in January, a few weeks ago, to qualify for nationals, because if you place in the top three, at a gold level strongman event, which this was, you qualify for nationals," Thomas said. "... It was in Houston, Texas at the MetroFlex Gym, which is a famous gym down there."

Thomas said as soon as he arrived, he realized he was up against some tough competition.

"I'm a 200 pound lightweight, and we get there and the second smallest teenager was 6'3" 250 pounds, so it was me, one lightweight, and eight other heavy weights," Thomas said.

"They (judges) said, 'Sorry, generally there are more lightweights, but you're just going to have to compete against these guys.'"

Thomas said his trainers, Jeremy Peevler and Mike Gugino, anticipated Thomas might be one of the smaller competitors, so they trained endurance and technique to help offset the size difference and play up his strengths.

Although, Thomas said he knew that in some events the bigger guys would have a distinct advantage, but in others his quickness and size would help.

"The first (event) was a press medley, and it's pretty much a relay race," Thomas said.

"You had to press 200 pounds over your head, (then) you had to press a 90 pound dumbbell over your head, and then, there was a 200 pound wooden log, solid oak, that you had to clean up to your chest and press for reps."

Thomas said in the press medley event he got fourth out of eight, which was just outside where he needed to be to qualify for nationals.

The next event was called the Conan's wheel.

"(For) the Conan's wheel there is a pillar, and they draw a circle around it and the pillar swivels," Thomas said. "At the end of the pillar is a steel beam that sticks out, and you carry it on your chest at the edge of the circle and walk around as many times as you can. "With the weights for the teenage division it was a little over 300 pounds, and I tied for second in that. I carried it 239 feet, which is three and quarter revolutions. So, that was really good to bounce back from that first event."

Thomas said the next event was another medley, this time consisting of various heavy items the competitors had to carry a certain distance.

"The third event was the carry medley," Thomas said. "You carried a 200 pound sandbag 60 feet, and you ran back and carried a 200 pound fire hydrant 60 feet, and then you ran back and dragged an almost 300 pound sled ... across the 60 feet.

"And I thought I had that one won because I could sprint back so must faster, and my feet were a lot faster. One kid edged me out by a second or two. So I got second place points in that."

The next event is one of the more physically daunting events Strongman competitions have to offer, the semi pull.

"The event after that (carry medley) was the semi pull," Thomas said, "and I really had to grit down on this one because if I didn't place well in this one ... it was me and two other kids fighting for the first three spots, and I knew that this is a big man's event because the more mass you have the more mass you can pull.

"I went second to last, and I pulled the semi 60 feet in 22 seconds. Another kid did it in 22.7 seconds and the kid who had been getting first the whole time pulled it in 19 seconds ... and that sealed his spot for first place."

Going into the last event Thomas said he was right in the thick of things to qualify for nationals, and needed a good effort in the final event.

"The last event was the dead lift for reps," Thomas said, "you had a 60 second time limit, and it was 400 pounds and you just repped it out."

Thomas said the judges gave competitors an up command and a down command so they would know when they had achieved a clean lift.

"So me and the other kid, we were going for second and third place, he went before me and he dead lifted 400 pounds, 25 times in 60 seconds, so I had my work cut out for me," Thomas said. "As soon as the buzzer sounded I got my up command from my judges, and my very first rep I didn't wait for the down command, so it didn't count, and there went 2-3 seconds.

But fortunately, ... I was able to dead lift it 25 times, so I tied for second place points and got second place (overall) by half a point."

Thomas said a second place finish, against the type of competition he was facing was a big confidence boost for him.

"So I qualified for Teenage Strongman Nationals," Thomas said. "That's in July, and they'll take all the lightweight teenagers and heavyweight teenagers who qualified and they'll compete for the championship. Once you do that, it automatically throws you into the adult class if you want.

"I'm very confident right now, and I'm working very hard because being able to beat all those huge kids who were heavy weight strongmen ... I beat seven out of eight of them, and I'm feeling really good about it."

Thomas said he will continue to work with his trainers, Peevler and Rugino, at Peak Performance Gym, as he readies himself for nationals in July.

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Go Jed!!!!!!!! You can do it!!!! Congratulations on your finish in Texas.

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Mon, Feb 6, 2012, at 11:28 AM

What a proud accomplishment for you! You've worked so hard and it's paying off! Good for you, Jed!!

-- Posted by Emmes on Mon, Feb 6, 2012, at 12:07 PM

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