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SFS defenders win big at powerlifting competition

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Tech. Sgt. Rudy Garcia, the 30th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of combat arms, competes in the squat event at the 2010 United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals competition at Venice Beach Saturday, May 29, 2010. Sergeant Garcia, who weighed in at 181 pounds, came in first place in the Full Power Submaster Division and third place in the Open Division. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Tech. Sgt. Rudy Garcia, the 30th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of combat arms, competes in the squat event at the 2010 United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals competition at Venice Beach Saturday, May 29, 2010. Sergeant Garcia, who weighed in at 181 pounds, came in first place in the Full Power Submaster Division and third place in the Open Division. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Staff Sgt. Cole Whitney, a 30th Security Forces Squadron conservation officer, competes in the deadlift event at the 2010 United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals competition at Venice Beach Saturday, May 29, 2010.  Sergeant Whitney, who weighs 165 pounds, came in first place in both the Junior and Open Divisions. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Staff Sgt. Cole Whitney, a 30th Security Forces Squadron conservation officer, competes in the deadlift event at the 2010 United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals competition at Venice Beach Saturday, May 29, 2010. Sergeant Whitney, who weighs 165 pounds, came in first place in both the Junior and Open Divisions. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Two members of the 30th Security Forces Squadron competed in the 2010 United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals competition at Venice Beach May 29.

Tech. Sgt. Rudy Garcia, the 30th SFS NCO in charge of combat arms, and Staff Sgt. Cole Whitney, a 30th SFS conservation officer, competed against more than 50 powerlifters who represented active-duty members, retirees and Guard and Reserve personnel.

The competition was open to all five branches of the U.S. military. During the competition, the powerlifters battled to out-lift their adversaries in the bench press, squat and deadlift events.

Vandenberg's defenders placed high in the events. Sergeant Garcia, who weighed in at 181 pounds, came in first place in the Full Power Submaster Division and third place in the Open Division. He lifted a cumulative weight of 1,246 pounds in the squat, deadlift and bench press lifts, which is nearly seven times his total body weight. Sergeant Garcia views powerlifting competitions as a way to test himself.

"I enjoy seeing how far I can push my body and how strong I really am," said Sergeant Garcia. "In competitions like these, you can actually see how strong people are since there are strict rules and commands that you have to follow. During a competition you have to stay focused, stay tight, and listen to the commands. This is because here there are no big egos and no gym lifts!"

Sergeant Whitney, who weighs 165 pounds, came in first place in both the Junior and Open Divisions. Upon final tallying, Sergeant Whitney was able to lift a cumulative 678 pounds in the deadlift and bench press events.

"This was my first competition, and as it was a military national competition, I was a little bit nervous," said Sergeant Whitney. "I enjoy working out, so it was good to see how my strength and technique would perform in a competition. It's a lot different than just going to the gym and throwing around weights. You have to stay focused and have perfect form and technique while lifting."

It was no coincidence that these Vandenberg defenders had high marks in the powerlifting competition given the support they have received from their leadership and the Vandenberg community.

"We'd like to thank Mr. Edward Panas (a 30th SFS conservation officer) for going out of his way and coming down with us to the meet and helping us with gearing up and prepping for our lifts," said Sergeant Garcia.

After recently competing in the powerlifting competition, Sergeant Garcia and Sergeant Whitney are already preparing to compete again at the East Bay Open Championship in Concord on June 26.

"At Concord, I am going to attempt to beat the 181 pound Submaster Bench State Record, which is set at 403.41 pounds," Sergeant Garcia said.

The powerlifters of the 30th SFS are a true testament of what follows focus, determination, persistence and strength - success.