As a way to loosen him up, RISD Athletic Director Jeff Miller informed him that the state powerlifting meet scheduled for this Saturday had been cancelled.
When a reporter asked for his reaction to the cancellation, his face went ashen.
When it was finally revealed as a hoax, Czajkowski’s face returned to its normal shade.
The 5-foot-4, 195-pound senior has indeed earned a trip to the state powerlifting meet this Saturday in Abilene.
Czajkowski (pronounced Ja-kow-ski) is no stranger to the state meet, he qualified as a sophomore at Milano High School, before transferring to Rockdale last season.
Czajkowski—who set three school records this year—has had the good fortune to work with Andre Johnson, the most decorated powerlifter in the history of RHS.
After a six-year stint at Lockhart, the 2001 RHS graduate moved back home this school year.
He earned a silver medal his senior year, when his lifting eclipsed the Class 3A state record.
Czajkowski quickly realized Johnson could make him a better lifter.
“He is very inspirational,” Czajkowski said. “He’s by far the best coach I’ve ever had. I think it’s cool that I can have my name on the same record board as my coach.”
“He does not take any special supplements to improve his performance,” Johnson said. “He has put in a lot of hours in the weight room. He has perfected his lifting technique to be as fluid as possible so that he does not spend extra energy.
“All of his strength is put into lifting the weight properly.”
Johnson is a volunteer coach after Rockdale was forced to drop the powerlifting program due to budget cuts two years ago.
The Rockdale Booster Club helps with expenses.
Powerlifting is not a University Interscholastic League sponsored sport and is governered by the Texas High School Powerlifting Association.
Czajkowski competes in the 198-pound division and he counts the bench press as his best event.
“If I have a good day, I plan on breaking the state record.”
The state record is 425 pounds. Czajkowski has already done 430—twice. He says the deadlift is his weakest event, which coincidently, is the final event of the meet.
Powerlifting is made up of three events, squat, bench press and dead lift. All three weights are added together for a lifter’s score.
Czajkowski is ranked No 1. in Region 2 with a total of 1,515, well ahead of his closest competitor, Gerald Horne of Waco LaVega who has a 1,395 total.
His squat of 600 pounds and impressive bench press of 405 are tops in the region by a wide margin.
He is near the middle of the pack in the dead lift.
Czajkowski was not a team within himself in 2013, four other lifters made up the Tiger powerlifting team: Nic Gonzalez, Nick Young, Andrew Jenkins and Dalton Kurz.
All qualified for regionals.
“I was amazed this year at how well they did,” said RISD Athletic Director Jeff Miller. “We’re going to have to buy a new record board.”