Sports in the By David Butler ’77 Photos adorn the back wall of the Catholic High weight room. Some are of former athletes proudly wearing their college uniforms while another section portrays Catholic High football players over the past 30 years who have earned the designation of Top Bear signifying their achieving a lofty goal in the weight room. Their photos are on permanent display in the weight room. The idea originally came to Coach Dale Weiner while attending a coaches’ clinic in Dallas in the early 80’s. Don James, the head football coach at the University of Washington, spoke about off season conditioning and their version of Top Bear. “I wanted the kids to improve and think big. This allowed the kids to set genuine goals to get bigger, stronger and faster,” said Weiner. “The Top Bear designation is a motivator and focuses the kids on an end result. What do you want to be by your senior year?” Four core lifts originally comprise the assessment — power clean, bench press, squat and incline bench press. “In 1998 we dropped the incline bench press and added the snatch, an Olympic lift,” added Weiner. “It is one of the essential athletic movements and is a multi-joint explosive lifting. It is very technical and the lifter has big responsibility to learn proper techniques.” Standards are set by position with achievement level of Top Bear; orange, white then grey. Not everyone achieves grey. Weiner recalled the program’s inception in 1987. “The guys said it
was impossible. No one is going to make it. Four guys made it the first year: Todd Hebert ’88; Greg Anding ’88; Brian Hutchinson ’88; and Steve Alch ’88. Over time the guys have gotten stronger and the standards were raised,” said Weiner. In 2014 Uriah Alexander ’15 set the all time record with 1560 pounds with an all time squat record of 675 pounds and an all time clean records of 370 pounds. That same year K. J. Wilson ’16 lifted 1480 pounds for second place all time. In achieving Top Bear, three of the four levels must be achieved as well as the total. The standard for lineman is squat 450 pounds, bench 300 pounds, clean 250 pounds and snatch 200 pounds for a total of 1200 pounds. Top Bears from last year’s state championship football team include Blair Bogan ’16, Aaron Moffitt ’17, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ’17, Braeden Smith ’16 and K.J. Wilson ’16. “It was Dale Weiner’s first year,” said Anding. “He came in motivating us and telling us to write 6AAAA District Champs on 3x5 cards and to place them on our lockers and challenging us to become Top Bears. It is hard to believe I am now doing Crossfit using the foundation I learned in the Catholic High weight room.” Jason Coffey ’93, a three-time Top Bear, commented on the Top Bear program. “Gayle Hatch and Dale Weiner were incredible attributes to my strength training at CHS and the US Naval Academy. I have very fond memories of the Top Bear Competition and lifting in our old weight room,” said Coffey.
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