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Home > Team MDUSA > Team MDUSA WL Bio's

Team MDUSA WL Bio's

Team MDUSA Women's Team

Rebecca Gerdon
Rebecca joined Team MDUSA in May 2013. Known to friends and teammates as “Becca”, she has only been lifting competitively for a little over a year but she has an extensive background in athletics. Beginning with soccer at a young age, Rebecca has also competed in several cross-country, cycling, and triathlon events. Growing up in Advance, North Carolina, Rebecca obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science from UNC Chapel Hill. She became interested in Olympic weightlifting while training under Travis Mash, owner and head coach of Mash Elite Performance.

During Becca’s short time competitively Olympic weightlifting she has posted some very notable results and accolades:
2013 University Nationals Qualifier - 75kg
2013 Senior Nationals Qualifier - 75kg - 5th Place
2013 ECU Open - 75kg - 2nd Place
2013 American Open Championships - 75kg - 7th Place

Rebecca follows Team MDUSA programming that consists of 9 training sessions a week. Rebecca’s favorite movements are barbell complexes, and she adds accessory lifts to work on her shoulders, abdominals, and lats; areas that she believes are her weaknesses. Rebecca maintains a consistent diet of high protein foods, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. A little known fact about Becca; before she began Olympic weightlifting, she was member of the LUNA Chix cycling team.

Team MDUSA Men's Team

Travis Cooper
Travis Cooper was raised in Tyrone, Georgia and has been lifting for Team MDUSA since August 2012. Travis has been active in the weightlifting community since his teenage years. He spent his high school years competing in weightlifting and also took his skills to the mats while wrestling for his school, eventually becoming team captain. After completing high school, Travis continued his education at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Travis Cooper has an inspiring list of weightlifting accolades on both the national and international levels:

2005 School-Age National Championships - 77kg - 1st Place
2006 National Championships - 77kg - 3rd Place
2007 American Open Championships - 85kg - 2nd Place
2008 Junior National Championships - 85kg - 1st Place
2008 National Championships - 85kg - 2nd Place
2008 North American Championships - 94kg - 2nd Place
2010 Collegiate National Championships - 85kg - 1st Place
2010 World University Championships - 85kg - 2nd Place / 1st place in Clean and Jerk
2011 National Championships - 94kg - 1st Place - Clean and Jerk

2011 American Open Championships - 85kg - 2nd Place
2012 American Open Championships - 85kg - 1st Place
2013 Pan American Championships - 85kg - 3rd Place
2013 National Championships - 85kg - 1st Place
2013 National Championships (Best Male Lifter Based on Sinclair) - 85kg
2013 American Open Championships - 85kg - 2nd Place

Travis prefers consistency in his training schedule and diet. His diet mainly consists of meats, vegetables, and some grains. His training schedule is 9 sessions of training per week. Travis’s favorite movement is the snatch; the front squat on the other hand is not a movement he particularly enjoys working on. Travis is an enormous part of our team here at MDUSA and he is a significant source of motivation for his teammates and all that watch him compete.

James Tatum
From a young age, James Tatum has been interested in fitness. Growing up in Hampstead, NC he was an avid sailor (he grew up living on a sailboat) and did power lifting and wrestled through high school. He enrolled in college at UNC Wilmington. While at UNCW, James majored in Exercise Science. He became interested in Olympic Weightlifting in 2011 when he took a course at a local CrossFit Gym.

James joined Team MDUSA in June of 2012 and has excelled in weightlifting, posting impressive results in national and international level competitions:

2012 American Open Championship - 77kg class - 1st Place
2013 US National Championships - 77kg - 2nd Place
2013 Pan-American Championships - 77kg - 9th Place
2013 World Championships - 77kg - 14th Place
2013 American Open Championship - 77kg - 1st Place

James maintains a strict diet to fuel his 9 weekly training sessions. His favorite piece of equipment is his 20kg Pendlay HD Barbell, and his favorite lift is the snatch. When he is not training, he coaches Olympic style lifting at CrossFit Smithfield where he is part owner.

Mike Szela
Mike Szela began lifting for Team MDUSA in June of 2012. Mike hails from Downers Grove, Illinois. He graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids Iowa receiving a BA in Physical Education with an emphasis on Strength and Conditioning. Mike was active in collegiate athletics, competing in both football and baseball, which eventually exposed him to Olympic lifting. His dedication to competition and physical fitness is apparent in his training sessions with Team MDUSA.

Since Mike’s beginnings with the team in June of 2012 he has an impressive list of accomplishments:

2012 USA Weightlifting Nationals - 69kg - 3rd Place
2012 American Open - 69kg - 3rd Place
2013 Arnold Weightlifting Championships - 69kg -1st Place
2013 USA Weightlifting Nationals - 69kg - 3rd Place
2013 American Open - 69kg - 1st Place

Mike’s training program consists of 9 training sessions per week, of which he performs 2 training sessions per day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. During days that he has two sessions he prefers the snatch and clean & jerk to max in his afternoon session. Mike’s least favorite lifts to perform are high hang complexes, but regardless of the day’s workout, he always expresses how he truly appreciates being able to train with some of the best lifters and coaching staff in the country. Looking toward his future, Mike hopes to open a performance training gym when he retires from weightlifting.

Tom Sroka
Tom Sroka is one of the original Team MDUSA members. He began training with Glenn Pendlay at California Strength before they both moved to South Carolina to form Team MDUSA. While attending college at Aurora University Tom was a three-time All-American track and field athlete specializing in the shot put. After college he competed in the Highland Games and was ranked number five on the U.S Amateur Circuit. While competing in the Highland Games Tom was introduced to Olympic weightlifting by a friend.

Tom has made quite a name for himself and has had many accomplishments along the way:

Two-time national qualifier for Amateur Strongman
2012 Senior Nationals - +105kg - 8th Place
2012 A Session American Open Qualifier +105kg
2013 Senior Nationals - +105kg - 4th Place
2013 Arnold Classic - +105kg - 4th Place
2013 American Open Championship - +105kg - 1st Place

Tom sticks with MDUSA’s training program and has 9 training sessions a week. While sticking with training the main two lifts, Tom puts a lot of work into his overhead flexibility and building stronger legs. Keeping his weight up is a struggle for Tom so he eats as much as possible. Tom mostly eats lean meats, vegetables, and dairy. Tom tries to limit gluten intake, but he does allow himself 3-4 cheat meals a week. Tom’s favorite lifts are the push press and Clean & Jerk while his least favorites are Sotts press and front squat. While Tom is not training he loves learning about ancient history and historic war periods (and if you search hard enough you can find video of Tom doing backsquats in a kilt).

Kaleb Whiteby
Kaleb Whitby, originally from Basin City, Washington, has been with Team MDUSA since June 2012. Kaleb is a born-and-raised farm boy and his work ethic shows it. Kaleb excelled at high school football, achieving the title of All-State Running Back and Line Backer. He was also active in high school basketball and spent endless hours in the weight room. Kaleb began following his path on Olympic lifting after being approached by Scott Glasgow at Gold’s Gym while performing cleans. He began an Olympic training program with Glasgow 6 days a week and eventually came to MDUSA in 2012.

Kaleb has performed at the highest levels of weightlifting as his accolades prove:
Utah State Record Holder for both 105kg and +105kg classes
2011 National Weightlifting Championships - +105kg - Top 5 Placement
2013 Arnold Weightlifting Championships - +105kg - 3rd Place
2013 National Weightlifting Championships - +105kg - 4th Place
2013 American Open Championships - 105kg - 4th Place

Kaleb’s training with MDUSA has been impressive to watch. He enjoys training different variations of the lifts and also enjoys doing significant amounts of accessory work. Kaleb’s diet is very similar to his training. He prefers having a wide variety of home cooked meals to fuel his intense training regimen. Outside of training with Team MDUSA Kaleb spends his time with his wife, son, and two dogs.

Trevor Britton
Trevor Britton comes to us from Morristown, Tennessee. Before coming to Team MDUSA, Trevor attended college at Middle TW State where he earned a B.A. in Spanish. During his high school years Trevor played golf then began lifting weights in college. Trevor dabbled in various athletic endeavors such as parkour, gymnastics, rock climbing, and yoga. His well-rounded skill set has translated well into his development as an elite Olympic weightlifter. Trevor recently joined Team MDUSA in June 2013 and has been an excellent addition to the team.

In Trevor’s short time here at MDUSA he has already posted impressive results at competition:

2013 National Championships - 85kg - 7th Place
2013 American Open - 85kg - 8th Place

Trevor’s training varies in volume and intensity depending on his competition schedule. His favorite movements to work on are behind the neck power jerks and bar dips. The split jerk is the movement he enjoys least. Trevor’s diet is a bit unique to the community. He eats salmon, occasionally prepares shrimp, but primarily consumes nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Trevor’s proudest accomplishment is becoming part of one of the country’s most elite weightlifting teams, Team MDUSA.

Sean Rigsby
Since joining Team MDUSA in July 2013 Sean Rigsby has been a very promising addition to the team Sean has a longstanding background in athletics and physical performance. Originally from Valencia, California, Sean grew up competing in ice hockey and rugby, excelling at both. Sean took on CrossFit for strength and conditioning training while playing rugby and was drawn towards to the Olympic lifts. Sean attended school at Moorpark Community College and majored in English studies.

Sean joined Team MDUSA in July of 2013 and has been a valuable asset to the team. Sean has posted notable results in his young weightlifting career:

2011 Powerlifting State Champion - California - 110kg
2012 Olympic Weightlifting State Champion - California - +105kg
2013 Olympic Weightlifting State Champion - California - +105kg
2013 American Open Championships - +105kg - 8th Place

Sean maintains a strong training program that consists of 9 training sessions per week. While he incorporates ample amounts of squats and presses, his favorite progression is to snatch to max. Sean also stresses focusing on his pulls and his grip as he sees this as one of his weaknesses. Although Sean’s diet is flexible, he manages to maintain consistent weight. Outside of training for Team MDUSA, Sean has competed in B.T.’s 40oz Burger Challenge, finishing in 8:17, an all time top ten finish. He hopes to one day hold the world record for B.T.’s Challenge.

Matt Bergeron
Matt was invited to join Team MDUSA in April 2013. Matt grew up swimming competitively for 13 years. While obtaining his undergrad degree in Applied Exercise Science, Matt started cheerleading for Ball State. He continued to cheer while earning his Masters degree in Sports Performance. The strength and conditioning program for cheerleading introduced Matt to Olympic weightlifting.

Matt follows Team MDUSA’s training program, which consists of 9 training sessions a week. Matt focuses on the two main Olympic lifts and their different variations as well as a lot of squatting and pressing. His favorite lift is the snatch while his least favorite lift is the press from the split position.
Matt strictly uses carb backloading as his primary diet for weightlifting and recovery. In his free time Matt enjoys reading and writing about nutrition, recovery, and training methods. Matt hopes to one day become a recognized strength and conditioning coach.