March 22, 2024

3 things to know about bench winner Ryan Berta

Andrew Mahon/

WINNIPEG — Queen’s offensive lineman Ryan Berta broke a mark that hasn’t been broken since 2021.

The Hamilton, ON native sat down at the bench press and nailed 30 repetitions of 225 pounds to finish at the top of the leaderboard in the 2024 CFL Combine presented by New Era.

Berta is no stranger to reaching the 30-repetition threshold, having done the same in 2022 during the East-West Bowl. The mark was one ahead of Windsor’s offensive lineman Owen Mueller, who got 29 repetitions.

“I was feeling great,” said the O-lineman. “I did 30 reps back in the East-West combine, so I thought it was a good goal to go off of. I was honestly hoping probably for two, three more, but it’s a good goal to achieve.”

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Strong Gaels

Berta spent five seasons with the Gaels and played in 35 games, crediting the program for his strong build that led to his win over the field in the bench press.

“I’m from Queen’s University and we have a high performance center there with multiple coaches helping around the clock,” said the Ontario native. “It’s a great experience and we have multiple guys here that I think are gonna test really well.”

10 more

Every other prospect in Winnipeg would’ve been thrilled lifting 225 pounds 30 times, but Berta knows that for him that number is not only achievable but repeatable, setting it multiple times.

In fact, says the offensive lineman, there are plenty more in the tank when it comes to his bench press numbers.

“Had the goal when I got that 30 that I was gonna try to do as many as I can,” said Berta. “In training, I’ll be honest, I got pretty close to 40.

“You have too much adrenaline going up on the stage there. I really was hoping for a couple more but I’m glad with the number I got.”

Stone cold

Berta’s 30 and Mueller’s 29 were substantially ahead of everyone else, with three players tying for third place with 25 reps. Both numbers would also be enough to win the last two combines, with Elks offensive lineman Phillip Grohovac leading with 26 in 2023 and Argos running back Daniel Adeboboye tallying 28 repetitions in 2022.

Not only was Berta the first prospect to hit 30 reps since 2021, he also did it by going in stone cold.

“I know that it definitely sneaks up on a lot of players because they’ll say you got five minutes or whatever and then we’ll turn around and say it’s your time to go where. I like to absorb the people around me and kind of get locked in that way. Coming into it I didn’t even really get a warm up back there.”

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