Cleveland powerlifting club heads to national championships


CLEVELAND — A northeast Ohio powerlifting club is on its way to the national championships.

What You Need To Know

  • The Cleveland Powerlifting Club consists of Cleveland youth
  • The Club was started by Marzell Pink to provide young people a safe and healthy environment to train in powerlifting.
  • The team from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will compete at the USA Powerlifting High School Nationals competition

While spotting his athletes at the bench, Marzell Pink said he sees the gains these lifters and the gym itself have made in a short period of time.

“We had this, we had this machine, this bar, these weights, that,” Pink said while pointing to a few pieces of equipment.

Now, the room is full of weight training equipment.

As the head coach of the Cleveland Powerlifting Club, he gets to pass down his love for the sport to the next generation. 

“Just an old beat-up meathead man trying to find my way after high school sports was over,” Pink said. “And then I got talked back into it by one of my former students because he was trying to get back into it. And he talked me into it about 10 years ago.” 

Pink serves as the dean of engagement for Davis Aerospace & Meritime High School. The club has had a lot of success since it started. Not just in competition, but also in the development of these young athletes. 

Pink shared a moment he had with the mother of one of the lifters. 

“She was just almost in tears watching him lift and I was like, you know, ‘what’s wrong? You know, what’s going on?’ And she was like ‘you know Mr. Pink if you really knew that when I had him, the doctors said he wasn’t going to make it to 1 years old.’ And you know, it just socially made him a little bit stronger,” Pink said. 

Meanwhile, powerlifters like 19-year-old Keonna Crute are pushing hard at King’s Gym preparing for this major opportunity.

“My brothers, they was in here and then I come to their practices and then I started to think if I could try it and then he told me I might as well just join and so I liked to join it anyways because it was fun,” Crute said.  

The high school senior has gone from lifting just the bar to competing on the national stage alongside her sisters who are also a part of the club.

For a family lost their mother at a young age, the weights they’ve lifted in life are far greater than the ones in the gym. 

“We really didn’t know how to function without her, so then when we got introduced to powerlifting. It was more so fun because, well our grandmother, she gets to come see us and stuff and, it’s just like, I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just better. It makes everything better,” Crute said.  

At the gym, you can also find assistant coach Eli Auerbach. The powerlifter and coach made it a family affair when he recruited his dad to help.

“A year ago, even though it was a goal we talked about, especially with COVID, I wasn’t sure how many if any at all we’d get there. We were planning on optimistically four to six, so to have a full team of 10 people competing and have a legitimate shot at competing on a national stage as a team is beyond words honestly,” Auerbach said. 

And as coach Pink gets his team ready for nationals, he hopes that powerlifting has made an impact on their lives that will only continue. 

“They know about being resilient. They know about coming to school in spite of my circumstance. They know about that. They got a Ph.D. in that. So our goal as educators, as coaches, is can we tap into the strength that you already have and start to apply it to other areas of your life?”

A powerlifting team, not just making serious gains in the sport, but also in life.

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