OU Adds Weightlifting/Powerlifting

Posted by Paula Paine on January 14, 2015 in Ottawa University is pleased to announce the addition of men’s and women’s competitive weightlifting/powerlifting to its athletic lineup. OU’s Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Pete Townley has been named as head coach for the Braves and Lady Braves.Pete-Townley.png
Because each offers lifting styles that appeal to different athletes, both weightlifting and powerlifting will be included in the program. Ottawa University will be recruiting student-athletes to compete at a high level in the USA Weightlifting and USA Powerlifting federations at sanctioned meets. Ottawa University will also host one meet for each discipline during the competitive season that will be sanctioned as a national qualifier.
“The strength and conditioning focus of today’s young student athletes makes competitive weightlifting and powerlifting a great addition to our program offerings,” says Director of Athletics Arabie Conner. “We are fortunate to have a highly qualified faculty member on staff who has brought a tremendous amount of experience, knowledge and passion to providing strength and conditioning guidance to our current athletic programs.  It will be great to watch him build this new program on our campus while continuing to serve and build the performance-based training of our existing sports.” 
Rare in higher education, Ottawa University will also be offering scholarships to weightlifters and powerlifters, thus providing student-athletes an opportunity to receive a top undergraduate education while also pursuing a unique collegiate-level sport. There are only 48 colleges and universities in the U.S. that sponsor powerlifting as either a club or a team. Ottawa University will become the fourth regionally, joining Benedictine College, Kansas State University, and the University of Kansas.
Weightlifting was included in the first Olympic Games of 1896. By 1972, what is today's modern Olympic weightlifting program – the snatch and the clean and jerk lifts – became the standard. It wasn’t until 2000, however, that women’s weightlifting was officially introduced in Olympic competition. The modern sport of powerlifting originated in the U.S. and the U.K. in the 1950s. It is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.
As an increasing number of young athletes forego the traditional sports route to pursue weightlifting and powerlifting, the USAW is partnering with businesses, and now schools, to promote the sport. Ottawa University is excited to open the door to weightlifting and powerlifting athletes and provide them skilled training and competition opportunities.Pete-Townley-2.png

“My philosophy and/or mission for the teams will be self-empowerment through strength training,” says Coach Townley (MSE, CSCS, USAW). “I want my athletes to challenge themselves to be the best they can be and use the lessons of hard work and perseverance they learn with the weights in the rest of their everyday lives.”
Townley has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and a bachelor’s in athletic training, both from the University of Kansas. Over the past 12 years he has worked as a certified athletic trainer, as well as a certified personal trainer, within the public school system and within healthcare. During this time, he became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA and developed a speed and agility training program to serve local athletes. After serving as an adjunct instructor at Ottawa University, Pete was hired as an assistant professor in the exercise science department in 2012 and serves as the Education Department Chair. 
Ottawa University is currently recruiting for the 2015-16 academic year. For more information on the University’s new weightlifting/powerlifting program, contact Coach Pete Townley at pete.townley@ottawa.edu or call 785-248-2559.