WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – When Friends University first-year Strength and Conditioning head coach Joseph Belden began the job to help train the university’s athletes, he was also given the task of starting a powerlifting team, and he’s already turning that role into success.
“It’s been a great thing,” says Belden. “We went out and recruited five athletes out of the gate and pulled over seven athletes from other sports.”
His expectations for the team soared to new heights. Earlier in December, Belden watched in awe as his athletes made an entrance into the record books participating in USAPL KS State Powerlifting Championships at the Top Crop Barbell in Wichita. In fact, his athletes made an impression right away. Junior Juan Salazar squatted 226 Kg in the first powerlifting attempt in school history.
“It was a really cool experience, and I’m looking forward to see what we can do,” says Salazar.
That same day, Friends saw two more athletes set new Kansas State raw powerlifting marks and also qualify for Nationals at Penn State.
“We came home with several first and second place medals,” Belden says.
There is one athlete who is still looking to contribute to the team, though. It’s sophomore Tyler Wilson, who suffered an injury.
“I could tell there was something wrong with it right after it happened,” Wilson says. “The whole thing went numb and swelled up real bad.”
An Andover, Kansas native, Wilson injured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) in October playing football for the Falcons. He is recovering from the elbow injury right now, but his competitive drive is to not only help push his teammates, but also to join them at Nationals.
“Usually when you get hurt you get weaker,” Wilson says, “but I think I’ve actually gotten stronger from the accessories that I’ve done and the variation of those movements. They’ve really helped me.”
It’s that kind of drive that fuels Coach Belden.
“It’s exciting to see them come in and watch them and how they interact with each other, coach each other up,” Belden says. “I could not show up and this group would take care of business.”