At the University of Louisiana, they toil in the outdated confines of Olivier Hall, while the rest of the campus gets a facelift. In their off time, they hustle and scrap for funding.  But they remain undeterred. No ticker-tape parades awaited them, no pictures with the President. No one on the campus knows them unless they’re wearing their sport’s distinctive shirts. But the UL men's powerlifting team won the National Championship, and they’ve got the rings to prove it.

For the second time in three years, the UL men’s powerlifting team, coached by Travis Werner won the National Collegiate Powerlifting Championship, defeating such big-name, money-rich schools as the University of Texas, LSU, Northeastern, Texas A & M, Penn State, and  the three service academies, West Point, Navy and Air Force. UL won with a total of 63 points to outpace the second place Longhorns with 55.

Weightlifting had a proud tradition at UL from 1955 until 1973, producing individual national champions and team champions, and prominent alumni such at UL System Board Member Gerald 'T-Boy' Hebert and local attorney Warren Perrin. But those teams performed the traditional Olympic lifts - the snatch and the clean and jerk. Powerlifting is different in that there are three lifts by which a competitor is judged - the bench press, the squat and the dead lift. In 2000, after a 27 year absence from campus, it was Werner, who as a UL student, restarted the club sport.

The 2011 team brought 20 student-athletes to Scranton, Pennsylvania to compete in both the men’s and women’s national championships. The Cajun women proved to be an up-and-coming force by finishing third behind LSU and Texas A & M. Most of the team returns and the women are definitely in the running to win a national title next year.