Small town powerlifter puts up huge numbers at state competition

Gatesville's Ryan Smiley shows off his gold medal after the state powerlifting meet
Gatesville's Ryan Smiley shows off his gold medal after the state powerlifting meet(Coach Jason Moffett)
Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 9:57 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - On his way to a state championship, Gatesville’s Ryan Smiley squatted 815 pounds.

That is the equivalent of lifting an adult grizzly bear!

When you think about putting over 800 pounds on your back, it is hard to imagine what would be going through your head.

Ryan Smiley fills me in, saying, “The first thing I am thinking is, ‘can I get this back up?’ That is the first thing that comes to mind. Then I go down, I am just praying, and then I come back up with it and realize I am done!”

Ryan always knew he was strong, but he never imagined he’d be dominating at a state powerlifitng meet.

In fact, he didn’t even powerlift until his sophomore year, after his head coach stole him from the basketball program.

Gatesville powerlifting coach Jason Moffett laughs, “I had to go find him! He was over there in the basketball gym. He was a basketball manager after football season. I got mad at him and told him he wasn’t allowed to do that anymore.”

Ryan quickly started making incredible progress. At the end of his Junior year he took home the bronze medal, but he wasn’t satisfied – even for a minute.

Coach Moffett remembers, “Literally, the conversation happened as soon as he finished his last dead lift. Before he even got his bronze medal, we started talking and he told me he wanted to do over 800 his senior year.”

Smiley adds, “That was basically my only goal, to get 800 pounds on squat.”

It wasn’t easy to get there. Ryan lifted before and after school almost every day this Spring, building up to the state meet.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about watching Ryan lift is that you won’t see him yell and scream and get all amped up like most of his competitors.

“I am just chill. I don’t even get hyped up. Usually I just go, lift it, then come back.”

Coach Moffett confirms it, saying, “He really does. He just walks up there, he lifts it, he racks it, he stands there for a minute, and then he leaves! He doesn’t yell, he doesn’t get excited – I think it’s cool, I love it.”

Ryan hopes to do USA Powerlifting while studying business at Texas Southern next year.

Even after winning state and reaching his goals, he is as hungry as ever.

“I might go for 1,000 pounds. Let’s just see the way it goes. I just keep pushing myself and whatever I get is whatever I get.”

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