The University of Rhode Island powerlifting team opened their season with an impressive start this Sunday at the USAPL Raw Collegiate Cup held at CrossFit Watch City in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The Rams accumulated a host of accolades at the meet, totaling 16 medalists, including a clean sweep of the men’s 74 kilogram class, and saw seven of their eight women competitors medal in their respective weight classes.

Among competing schools were Northeastern University, UMass Boston, Bunker Hill Community College and Rutgers University. In total, the competition hosted over sixty lifters representing seven schools. Of these sixty, seventeen were new members to the URI team, all freshmen or sophomores, and from these seventeen, seven were able to lift their way to the platform of medalists by the end of the night.

Achieving gold medals and winning their respective weight classes for the Rams were: Danny Baez (59kg), Jake Limbardo (93kg), Mark Gall (74kg), Matthew Leake (120kg), Katherine Packard (63kg) and Payton Grande (52kg). Gall, as some may know, has become infamous in the past few weeks on social media outlets such as Barstool Sports, for carrying his own bar to the Mackal Weight Room.

President of the team and returning All-American Sam Kopech did not lift at the meet. However, he was present to help prepare and coach the competitors through something he has achieved immense success in. In the wake of the meet, Kopech seemed eager to see what the future has in store for the team, and believes its new members have the drive and tenacious mind frame to make a serious name for themselves and the team in years to come.

“I think a lot of the new people here are figuring out what they need to be doing pretty quickly, which is really exciting,” Kopech said, about the impact of the new lifters to the program.

The team will now continue training according to their programs in preparation for their next meet in February. Ultimately, they look to send as many members as possible to the national competition in late April, hosted by Texas A&M in College Station.

“We’ve been pretty consistent in having a good amount of people medal in nationals each year,” Kopech said on looking toward the future. “After seeing this meet, we’re hoping to build on this and what we’ve been able to accomplish so far as an organization.”