The Scene: Heavy lifting runs in Devin Preston’s blood

  • Devin Preston
  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Working out six times a week along with two or three yoga sessions a week help Devin Preston compete in strongman events such as the log press.

For Devin Preston, the future all gets back to grandpa, and more specifically, watching grandpa lift heavy things.

From there, and the influence of grandfather Toe Preston — still active in the sport at 72 years of age — Devin lifted weights, played some football at Waiakea High School and Eastern Washington University and more recently, found himself carving out a career in Strongman competitions.


“There’s a lot to it,” he said the other day, “it’s not what most people seem to think.”

Weightlifters, when serious about the sport and the competitions involved, fall into one of four categories, Olympic weightlifting (only two types of competitive lifts), power lifting (three separate exercises), body building (muscular development) and strongman competitions.

Preston, 23, won the middleweight Strongman Challenge held on Oahu, last month, the third competition in which he came away with first place recognition.

He said he “sort of” feels like he’s just getting started, yet this particular discipline has been a part of family for a couple generations. He grew up watching his grandfather’s competitions, he started himself when he got to the eighth grade, and he’s been at it ever since.

He considers it a lifetime sport, and why wouldn’t he, with a grandfather still involved in competitions?

“It’s more a matter of what kind of body type you are,” he said, “than it is about power lifting or Olympic training or whatever. Your body type is going to be more conducive to one than to another, so people need to get proper advice and training.

“After that,” Preston said, “it’s just a discipline, it’s you making a decision to get serious and go after it.”

Research it a little and you find, apart from weight loss and building up strength, weight lifting can help fight osteoporosis, improve agility and mobility and it can help manage conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis and others.

Preston mixes in two or three yoga sessions a week to improve flexibility while gaining and toning musculature.

“Yoga is big,” he said, “because it takes pressure off your body and makes it easier to lift. The key to lifting is all about opening up your core and your hips and yoga is great for that, they complement each other.”

He works out six times a week, about two or three hours a day when not working his construction job, in preparation for the Hawaii Strongman competition June 8 in Kona, an event that can send winners to mainland competitions where sponsors will be waiting to spot new talent deserving of sponsorship.

That’s the goal for Preston, a career in Strongman competitions, where people in their late 40s and early 50s are still competing.

He’s thinks he can make it to that level because he’s seen success in his own ohana.

“Put in the work and you have a shot,” he said, and there’s no denying, he’s been putting in the work.

Let’s Go Racin’

Around the country, the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 traditionally kick off a symbolic reboot to a summer full of racing and the approaching Memorial Day weekend is different only in scale on the Big Island.

Both car clubs here, the Big Island Auto Club and the Hawaii Drag Racing League, have major annual events upcoming that serve the dual purpose of launching us into the summer months while reflecting thoughtfully on the past.

This weekend brings May Morial, Saturday and Sunday at the Hilo Drag Strip, with gates opening at 8 am each day.

The re-opening of the track last year brought with it a renewed sense of purpose and an appreciation of all the people who helped the two organizations grow and thrive.

“Last year we felt we should have a kind of throwback recognition,” said Sydney Koga of the BIAC, “so we took time to recognize all the Big Island racers who had passed away, we had a moment of silence and all their names were on our poster.

“We will do something similar this time,” she said, “just as a matter of respect for the past.”

Koga’s father has raced for years, and so has she, from the time seven years ago when she was just 14 and first got behind the wheel in the junior drags. They’re building a new ride for her this year that might be ready for Saturday.

The racing, as always, is weather dependent, but usually starts around 9:45 or 10 a.m.. This will be the fourth event of the year for the club, originally organized 41 years ago in 1978. It will host about about eight more events through October. More information is available on the club’s Facebook page.

In Memory of Keith

On Memorial Day weekend, next week, the Hawaii Drag Racing League will continue an event begun a year ago, making this year, the Second Annual Reynoldo M. Crivello Memorial Day Drags, its fifth weekend event of the season.

“He’s really kind of a legend around here,” said Keith Aguilar of HDRL. “Very well known guy who raced here since the track opened in 1971, and his son Paul is still racing.

“We wanted to recognize one of the good people,” he said, “and Keith always comes to mind.”

Competition will include Factory modified, Open Wheel, Import, Grumbler’s Bracket, Mopar Novice and Open


Awards Season

Hilo swim coaching Bill Sakovich had his collection of accomplishments expand again last week when his Waiakea High School girls swimming and diving team received a gold level national award for having at least 12 swimmers with high grade point averages.

The Waiakea girls’ team had a 3.79 GPA to clear the grade point average. As it happened, the boys’ team also had a high GPA, but they didn’t have the necessary 12 to qualify.

The Waiakea girls team included:

Isabelle and Rylee Au, Kyrie Bartolome, Serena Camarillo, Bee Chang, Carina and Charis Cook, Selah Delaney, Gaaya Godbole, Kaylen Hamora, Sydney Hashiro, Sydney Kim, Natalie Mendoza, Caitlyn Nakata, Elenor Nichols, Kayla Okazaki, Mina Poppas, Rachel Rucknagel, Patricia Saiki, Megan Tayamen, Korrie Tengan, Akemi and Teryn Tominaga, Haruna Tomono, Sydney Ueda and Sam Yamamoto.

Grappling With Success

Just a little less than two years old, the Hawaii International Wrestling Club hasn’t taken long to train Hilo area youth in achievement in the sport.

Co-head coaches Shaedon Quevedo and Junior Tuyo-Scanlan, recently took some of their young ones to the Hawaii USA State Wrestling Championships held recently at the Lahaina Civic Center on Maui, where the results were impressive for such a young club.

Lalia Cruz-Tabar, took first place in the 53-56 pound weight division, while Charles J. Hao, did the same, winning first place in the 63-68 pound division. Other top finishers for HIWC included:

Menehune Boys Division (40 pounds) — Asher Lyons, 2nd place.

Girls Division (70-75 pounds) Jeream Estabillio 3rd place.

Boys Intermediate Division (53 pounds) Manol’i Publico, 4th place; (56-59 pounds) Riley Leffingwell, 4th place.

The club held its first practice session in June of 2017 and trains out of Panaewa gym. The Hawaii USA wrestling championships is sanctioned by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport.


For further information on the club, email

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