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610-Pound Squat for Adam Gay Highlights Night of Champions XVIII

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fred Slow and Van Nunley of KNML, hosts of the Two Men On have little bumper stickers with #FOTS on them, meaning “Friend of the Show”.  After Adam Gay’s performance at Night of Champions XVIII, Gay could have his own bumper sticker with #610, and it would be fitting for all involved.

In front of a huge crowd and a live radio audience, Adam Gay obliterated his Night of Champions squat mark of 565 with a 610-pound squat, highlighting an incredible night for the Lobo Football program.  Gay was one of 20 football players to compete in the program that included eight players in the clean, and six players each in the bench and squat. The marks bear out what head coach Danny Gonzales was hoping for, as a total of 30 lifts hit or bettered previous maxxes.  Last year, that total was 18.

“This was a terrific night and I’m so appreciative of the huge amount of fans that came out to watch,” said Gonzales.  “Derrick (Baker), Tim (Gray) and Deep (Mahein) have done a great job of motivating and teaching and getting the most out of our guys.  It’s a great step in the right direction.  Now the next nine weeks are the most important for us, to continue to get in the weight room and continue to get stronger.”

Certain Gonzales’ early Spring Ball plan worked.  New Mexico was the first Division I FBS team to begin Spring Practice, completing the campaign on March 12, the day that UNM’s Spring Break started.  It allowed for seven consecutive weeks of strength training, a must with a new strength staff, but it has certainly borne fruit.  Twenty-two players so far in the spring have hit 300 or more in the clean.  As Gonzales noted, it’s not a record (which was 41 by in the early 2000s under Rocky Long’s watch), but it’s better, and it’s only going to continue getting better.

What set things apart was that Night of Champions XVIII was a true event.  Nunley and Slow broadcast live from the weight room with Robert Portnoy, DonTrell Moore and Kole McKamey joining in.  It turned into three hours of Lobo Football talk on the radio, as Gonzales, Baker and Jerrick Reed II joined the conversation.  Even the callers got into the act as Hank Baskett called into the show in the opening hour to swap storied with his former teammates.

However, the real action started at 6 with the clean.  OJ Bartley bested his target of 295 four times, finishing at 335 pounds, a mark that was equaled by new running back Dennis Hayden, who hit his mark three times.  All told, eight Lobos PR’ed 12 times and seven times equalled their PRs for an astounding 19 top marks, besting the entire total of 18 last year.  That got the program rolling, althought it was one of the smaller Lobos who practically stole the show.  Luke Wysong, one of the league’s fastest players could now make the case as pound-for-pound on of the strongest.  The 170-pound Wysong cleaned 325, almost doubling his own weight.  He was the first Lobo to break the 300-mark on the night.

In the bench one year after no Lobo hit the magical 400-pound mark and only one bested 335, three players hit 390 or better.  Dion Hunter banged out 390 pounds, Alec Morenco hit 395 and Vincent Santos hit 405 pounds for the best mark in the discipline on the night.  But all eyes moved to the squat, where the real heavy lifting hit.  It was there that Gay raced past his NOCXVII mark of 565 pounds, hitting 565 on his first go, 595 on the second, and then 610, ironically the AM call signal of KNML which broadcast most of the competition live.

Last year Gay was joined at 565 by Bryce Santana, and Bryce past it this year, successfully squatting 575, doing so in front of a huge crowd of family and supporters making the trek from Los Lunas.

“I’m really proud of the guys, as they have worked hard, but it’s not over, and if we are going to win that fifth conference championship, they are going to have to keep fighting and grinding every day,” said Gonzales.

Weights listed are successful lifts. Bold denotes Max (PR) lift.

Jake Saltonstall – 325, 345
Zach Doyle – 375, 400
Vincent Santos – 365, 385, 395, 405
Alec Morenco – 375, 395
Shancco “Ise” Matautia – 340
Dion Hunter – 355, 375, 390

Dennis Hayden – 235, 275, 295, 305, 315, 325, 335
Will Dennis – 225, 265, 285, 300
OJ Bartley – 225, 265, 285, 305, 315, 325, 335
Luke Wysong – 235, 275, 300, 315, 325
Bobby Wooden – 225, 255, 275, 295
Cody Moon – 205, 235, 265, 275, 285, 300, 305
Reco Hannah  – 235, 275, 295, 305, 315, 325
Omar Darame – 225, 265, 285, 300, 315

Chad Alexander – 500
Adam Gay – 565, 595, 610
Ian Shewell – 495, 525
Collin James – 520, 545, 550
Jerrick Reed II – 500, 525
Bryce Santana – 545, 575