FIU powerlifting team to host ‘Strongest Panther’ Competition

Joshua Ceballos/ Contributing Writer

The University is home to thousands of Panthers, and the Wellness and Recreational Center is looking for the strongest of them all.

In the spring of 2016, the FIU Powerlifting Team, along with the Wellness and Recreation Center, hosted a tournament to determine who among the student body had enough physical and spiritual fortitude to be called the “Strongest Panther.”

This year, the competitions will be held in the weight room and will feature two events, the bench and the squat, according to Ratasha Iribarren, the PR & marketing graduate assistant for the center.

Both events require competitors to lift weights surpassing 100 pounds — with the bench event requiring lifters to be lying down on their back, and the squat event requiring them to place the weight on their shoulders while squatting from a standing position.

Iribarren also said the event will have five categories for would-be competitors in this tournament.

“We’re going to be awarding a top male, a top female, a top Greek female, top Greek male, and also the top faculty/staff competitor,” said Iribarren.

Anyone is allowed to compete in the event, including teachers and staff here at the University, though it is suggested that competitors have some level of fitness and experience with lifting weights as to avoid injury.

Though the Strongest Panther Competition is being hosted by the Wellness and Rec Center, it began with and is run by the FIU Powerlifting team.

“The Strongest Panther Competition was initially a fundraiser last year, and it still is, but this year we’re pertaining it more towards a lifting event,” said Roman Fronzaglia, president of Powerlifting Team at FIU. “It’s to show who has the strongest bench and squat.”

Competitors will have to pay a $5 fee, and this money will go toward the Powerlifting team to help them go to national competitions.

Despite the fundraising aspect of the event, Fronzaglia says the competitors have plenty to gain as well, as being the Strongest Panther is “definitely huge bragging rights,” and could earn you a spot on the team.

Winners will also be awarded prizes from EXN Nutrition, a local business at the University that sells sports supplements and various other “goodies” helpful to athletes and lifters.

The Strongest Panther Competition will be held on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Wellness and Recreation Center.

Competitors can register online at, though walk-ins are allowed. Students are encouraged to come by and watch the competition take place and witness who rises up to be the strongest panther.

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