I just got off the phone with Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Paulsen to talk about this year's Night of Champions weight lifting tournament. For those of you that have never attended the NOC you are truly missing out.
Wednesday night at 7:00PM Lobo football players will be separated into 2 teams and will compete to see who can push up the most weight in various lifts. I asked Coach Paulsen who has been at the University of New Mexico seemingly forever how this event has grown since he has been here. According to Paulsen for the people that have attended an NOC they always come back, and they "are amazed that more people don't show up as it is a lot of fun and very impressive to see," says Paulsen. "Every year a new person walks out and is just amazed."
For the players it is obviously another chance for these athletes to compete and show off their skills. While it may not be on the football field every player wants to be number one and obviously to be rewarded for their hard work during the off-season. And of course, who wouldn't want the coveted "Beefmaster" trophy?
According to Paulsen you don't see the joy in being picked as much as you see the disappointment in those not being picked. "To see the disappointment in a guys face that wasn't chosen to compete," says Paulsen. "That means it means a lot to them."
With that said, I asked how they decide which player is chosen to compete. " It is a bit subjective but anybody that is out there has demonstrated they are a worker," says Paulsen. "We give priorities to upper classmen but if it comes down to everything equal it will go to the senior or junior. And, there are a lot of variables. Plenty of times a guy is left out because he isn't handling things right in school or sociably and you can't miss to many workouts or we boot you."
According to Paulsen, "We are limited to how many hours we can work with them, they realize that if they want to get better they can't do the NCAA minimum. I try to pound in their head that the NCAA minimum is for losers!" Where in the world can you achieve any degree of success by doing the bare minimum?" And how and why would you argue with a man that has guided so many players to realize their athletic potential?
One of the best parts of Night of Champions is when a player goes for a record. There is a positional record, a team record, and of course a UNM record that takes into account all of the athletes in various sports. Coach Paulsen said a couple of records have been broken already and he expects more to be broken today as the team is squatting as a team tonight, and Night of Champions always brings out record breakers. One of those going for a record Wednesday night, Offensive Lineman Devin Clark:
Offensive Lineman Devin Clark has the chance to be our 1st ever 400lb power cleaner at the University of New Mexico! We have never seen it here ever. We've had some close ones but in Devin have a serious possibility.
Also a record was broken as:
QB Victor James bench pressed 385lbs. for a QB that is a lot of weight and to see his size you would go no way! But he is one of those genetically strong although he works very hard and a great kid.
Coach Paulsen said he expects a few of the squatting records to be broken so he, Coach Long, and the entire Lobo football team invite you all out to a "Night of Champions"