USAPL Men's National Championships
July 9 - 11, 2004, Baton Rouge, LA
Meet Director: Paul Fletcher
The 2004 USAPL Men's National Powerlifting Championships "The Battle of the Bayou" was a fantastic event that featured some 103 lifters from across the United States! Veteran meet director Paul Fletcher, assisted by his lovely wife Joel and the LSU Powerlifting Team, promoted a flawless contest that rivals any past USAPL Men's National Championship. The Fletchers were assisted by a slew of devoted, skilled and knowledgeable staff members, which Paul dubbed "The Team" prior to the event. Paul assembled this group of people to ensure the best possible championship for the lifters. Interestingly enough, for you powerlifting trivia buffs, Paul now holds the distinction of being the only meet director to host both the USPF and USAPL Men's Senior National Championships. Tuck this one away the next time you are sipping on some suds and challenging each other's knowledge of the sport.
The contest venue was again Paul's hometown of Baton Rouge. The city of "Red Stick", translated from French to mean Baton Rouge, is rustic and old municipality that rests on the banks of the great Mississippi River. When first settled by French explorers in 1699, historical records described large red poles erected by Indians that were mounted with such trophies as fish and bear heads attached in sacrifice, to ward off those who dare to trespass on the land. However, this is quite the contrary now a day, for the city signifies what down home southern hospitality and kindness is all about. In addition, Baton Rouge is home to two of the most popular universities in the South - LSU, the NCAA champions of college football this past year, and one of the oldest and dearly regarded African-American schools -- Southern University. Finally, and not to be left out, and just down the road a bit, one shall find probably the most well-known party capitals in the free world - New Orleans, where quite a few of the lifters and their families spent sightseeing shortly after the competition was over. Unsurprisingly, Baton Rouge, served as a perfect venue and location for this year's Championship.
National Governing Body (NGB) Meeting
As with each year, the organization administration conducted its annual National Governing Body (NGB) meeting on Thursday, prior to the start of the championship. Given this, representatives from each of the state organizations, as well as appointed committee members, and their representatives meet to plan and direct the future course of the organization. Members are encouraged to attend and have their "voice" heard on matters relevant and important to both the sport of powerlifting and organization. When you have the opportunity, please review the minutes of the meeting. This information can be found on the main web-page: http://www.usapowerlifting.com Significant to this year's meeting was the election of new executive board member Lance Slaughter, and the re-election of veteran board member Bill Clayton. When you have the opportunity, review the interview of Lance within this issue of Powerlines and get to know your new EC board member. The unselected incumbent, Mike Hartle leaves the EC after serving eight (8) distinguished and notable years of service to the organization. Our special thanks to Mike! Other notable announcements include the re-election of Johnny Graham as the organization's Vice-president, and the selection of Brag Gillingham for the Brother Bennett Award, the USAPL's highest honor, as well as the annual coach of the year award, which was presented to Jim Ford. On behalf of the organization membership, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Johnny, Brad and Jim on receiving this year's member's choice awards. Also, our best wishes to Bill, Mike H., and Lance. Overall, you will not find more committed, and devoted individuals to the sport of Powerlifting, than these people - Thank you! One final comment, I must say, even despite some of the issues and matters that required discussion, the meeting was directed extremely well by Dr. Larry Maile, the USAPL President, and Karen Miller, the USAPL Secretary. Now onto the review of the competition and the lifting events that took place.
The 52kg class witnessed Ervin Gainer of Indiana win is eighth consecutive USAPL national championship on just a five (5) attempts. His last pull of 255kg/562lbs, just 1.0kg under the IPF world record, was commendable, but fell short of lock out. Ervin shall return to this year's IPF World Championships in Capetown, South Africa, committed to avenging last year's bomb-out in the bench press. Ervin shall be relocating to Maryland with his new job, and maybe the new surroundings shall spark this turn-around. Collegiate and Junior champ, Jeremy Scruggs of Team Quest, had a tough day, and bombed in the deadlift -- clearly opening way to high. In time, however, this young man shall challenge Ervin for the title, as he has all of the tools to make it go. Next year will more than likely be that year. Tony Scheldrup of Minnesota lifted very well, on solid and well selected attempts to gain and secure valuable team points for Minnesota in its pursuit of the state team title that was up for grabs this year.
The 56kg class had quite a surprise ending this year. Two (2) lifters lined up for a shot at the national title in this class. From the outset, Damario "Doc" Holloway of Team Quest sat comfortably in the driver's seat going into the deadlift, poised to beat Mike Kuhns of Pennsylvania. However, misfortune and heartbreak struck suddenly, when Doc was unable to lock any of his deadlifts out to completion. The third attempt was especially close, but was turned down with three red lights. This handed the 2003 American Open champion and IPF sub-junior world record holder Mike Kuhns the national championship. Both are relatively young lifters and still improving - so, I am sure there is more to come our way.
Team Quest finally got on the board in this class with a one-two punch, by winning first and second place with performances by Caleb Williams and Allan Whigham, respectfully. Caleb made some last minute decisions prior to the nationals to drop from the 67.5kg class, to the 60kg class. Caleb qualified just two weeks prior to the championship, which undoubtedly affected his overall performance. Nonetheless, Caleb lifted quite well for the first time on a national platform in this class by popping a 272.5/601lb squat with room to spare, especially after having to repeat his opener with 260kg/573lbs. Caleb went on to make only openers in the bench press and deadlift, with 152.5kg/336lb and a 242.5kg/534lb respectfully. However, despite all of the misses along the way, Caleb garnered a new squat and total American record, which makes this performance quite remarkable to say the least. His final performance of 667.5kg places him in reach of Sutrisno's 715kg/1576lb IPF world record in the total within the year. It was clear the weight loss had significantly affected his performance at the championship; however, with a little more training time under his belt at this weight class, will surely produce big dividends. My prediction is that Caleb will challenge for this year's gold medal at the IPF World Championships. Allen Whigham off of his performance at the American Open lifted quite well with some marked improvement in the squat and deadlift over last year, but was not nearly enough to take on Caleb. Again, for the second consecutive year, perennial national champion Tim Taylor was a no show. Hopefully, Tim resurfaces next year to regain his title, and make this class a three-way battle. Settling comfortably into third place, hometown lifter and Master's National Champion, Tim Smith lifted very well, making 7 of 9 attempts beating out fellow master's level lifter and two-time American Open Champion James Kavarnos of Pennsylvania. Remarkably Jim turns 50 this year, and continues to show marked improvement with his lifts under the tutelage of his coach, Greg Jones. I believe that Jimmy may be the oldest competitor to ever lift at the Men's National Championships. Congratulations to each of you gentlemen!
With Caleb Williams moving down, the 148lb/67.5kg class was now an open check book for anyone wishing to cash in on the opportunity to take this wide open weight class. Lining up this year was retuning national champion Scott Layman, Greg Simmons of Indiana, Keith Scisney of Colorado, Paul Wong of Minnesota, and newcomer, Casey Brown of Colorado. Each had the potential and ability to win the weight class. As predicted, Scott Layman jumped out to an early sub-total lead over the pack with class leading lifts of 262.5kg/578lb in the squat, and 172.5kg/380lbs in the bench press. Simmons and Brown made smart and calculated attempts to stay within reach come deadlift time. Scisney's missed 257.5kg/567lb squat, which he came back to make easily in his third; however, missed an opening attempt in the bench press which set him back into third. Wong was able to stay in the hunt with a huge class leading bench press of 175kg/385lbs. However, once the bar hit the floor, the pullers went to work. Surprisingly, Layman failed to make his opening attempt of 230kg/507lbs, and scratched from the contest. This opened the door for the precision lifting of Greg Simmons to steam forward ahead and jump out to lead position. Scisney trailed and took the necessary weight of 260kg/573lbs for the win, after and an easy opener of 222.5kg/490lbs. For Keith, missing the final attempt in the deadlift proved deadly, and allowed Casey Brown to come up from behind with a super 255kg/562lb deadlift, and clip him for the second place position. Unfortunately, for Keith this marked the third time in three years that he had the potential to win this class, but was not able to deliver. And, from my perspective, it is neither coaching nor strength that is holding him back. Finishing fourth was Paul Wong, who nearly locked out the 237.5kg/523lbs twice for the second place position. Congratulations to Greg for winning your first men's national championship!
Wade Hooper of Team Quest won this class easily with a huge America record total of 832.5kg. For us mere mortals that is 1835lbs - WOW! This total was achieved via a 330kg/727lb squat, 228kg/502lb IPF world record bench press, and 275kg/606lb deadlift. Notably, as the results indicate, Wade had a very close miss with a 338kg/745lb world record attempt in the squat. Wade now currently holds the second place position in the world in this weight class, behind Furashkin of Russia, with a shot to win the world championship this fall in South Africa. Wade even went as far as to throw a down-home Cajun Fest in the hospitality room of the hotel for everyone at the contest on Saturday evening, live with entertainment from Jimmy Kavarnos on the guitar. Great job Wade! Second place went to Eriek Nickson, who made some impressive lifts of 187.5kg/413lbs in the Bench Press, and a 295kg/650lb deadlift, after a shaky start in the squat, and ending with a personal best total of 740kg/1631lbs. Eriek had the distinction of being coached by IPF multi-world champion, David Ricks. Watch for this young man to continue to improve and in time, will ultimately challenge for this title. James Benemerito, with limited training time, powered his way into third place, off balance and well-picked attempts. It is good to see James back on the platform after some time off, where he was on the International Martial Arts Stick Fighting circuit,. Needless to say, he cleaned house. Todd Straub of Ohio and Dr. Robert Wood of Baton Rouge rounded out the top five finishers, with Stark and Cagliola trailing close behind. Keenan, Cagnolatti, and Thompson battled for the final spots in the order, with Macri scratching on the squats, and Davis missing on all three of his deadlifts. Great competition and sportsmanship amongst all of the competitors in this class - Great job guys!
From the opening nominations, this weight class was going to be the class to watch at the championship. Lining up were two of the greatest lifters and legends the sport of Powerlifting has ever known -- David Ricks and Mike Bridges. Also, contesting for this weight class, were going to be squat phenom Rob Wagner of Team Pennsylvania and new collegiate and junior sensation Steve McLawchlin lifting for Team Quest. Unfortunately, two weeks prior to the contest, Rob Wagner sustained an injury to his one of his quadriceps during training, which forced him to withdraw. When the contest finally was underway, three powerhouses had stepped onto the platform to slug this one out. The squats proved exciting; with McLawchlin finishing with a class leading 310kg/683lbs. Both Bridges and Ricks missed both their second and third attempts, leaving them in both second and third place. Crucial in the final placing in this class, was Mike Bridges final attempt in the squat with 322.5kg/711lbs, which would have been a new IPF master's world record that was turned down 2-1, on a very close decision by the referees. During this attempt, it as later discovered that Mike sustained a torn erector muscle in his lower back, which prevented him from finishing the contest -- Even despite the feverish attempts by the physician and chiropractors to nurse him back to health by the time deadlifts rolled around. Mike, unfortunately, had to settle with just a token deadlift attempt of 60kgs. Still holding on, and not to be denied was the young LSU Tiger, Steve McLawchlin, with just Ricks to contend with for the title after sub-total. Once Steve finished his deadlifts with a super 307.5kg/677lbs, he was left to the mercy of one of the greatest lifters of our era, David Ricks, who waited McLawchlin out to finish, so that he could take the necessary weight to pull for the win in this class. Not since the epic battle between Dan Austin and Dave Ricks at the 1994 USPF Senior Nationals, had I witnessed something this exciting. At this championship, Dan waited Dave out on the deadlifts and took the IPF world record of 337.5kg/744lbs to beat Dave on the final pull of the meet. Now, some 10 years later, the same situation prevailed, and Dave Ricks loaded 325kg/717lbs, the necessary weight for the bodyweight win. Needless to say, Dave came out storming, set, and pulled the weight to lock-out. When the lights came on, the lift was turned down 2-1 against, and it was unfortunately turned down -- A really heroic and valiant effort to say the least. Apparently, the shoulders appeared not to have locked out on the finish of the lift. Congratulations to Steve, who was probably not even born when these guys were setting records - Wow, great job, and my compliments to Arval Bridges, his coach at LSU. Needless to say, Steve is a fine young man, quiet, unassuming, who majors in Biotechnology at LSU. So, in this package you are getting both brawn and high degree of intelligence. In third place was Josh Decker of Michigan, followed by ever improving Sean DiCataldo of Rhode Island. Josh finished with an impressive 775kg/1708lb total. And, Sean with personal records across the board in his new weight class. He will be one to contend with in the future. Newcomer Tony Reid of Minnesota turned some heads with his solid and well selected attempts. White, Morrison, and McManus fought hard for the final placings in this highly competitive weight class - Great job guys, on your super performances! And, best wishes to both Mike Bridges and Rob Wagner for speedy recoveries.
This class proved to be as exciting as the last. Both Ray Benemerito and Mike Mastrean resumed their classic battle for this title. However, regrettably, both succumbed to technical difficulties in the bench press and bombed. This left the door open for American patriot and iron warrior, Jason beck to march and roll through the rest of his attempts to take his first ever men's national championship title via an 8/9 performance, with a 315kg/694lbs in the squat, 215kg/473lbs bench press, and 315kg/694lbs deadlift for a final total of 845kg/1862lbs. Jason will be well-over 1900 this time next year, and had way more in the tank this day. What is even more amazing is that Jason recently returned from the war in Iraq where he served with the Army for one over year. On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank Jason publicly for your heroism and bravery in defense of our great nation - Welcome home!! Moreover, Ray and Mike shall return; however, now that Jason is out front, could prove most interesting next year in Killeen, Texas, when all three square off for the national title. Not to be left out, Marcus Brandon of Team Quest was on hand with coach, Curtis Leslie, and placed a solid second, battling Jason all the way to the last deadlift. Last year's silver medallist, and Team California member, Greg Buffington continues his streak of consistent and steady lifting to place third - very well done. Placing fourth in his first nationals, Billy Dee Williams of Pro-Fitness in New Jersey gutted out some tough lifts and made his way into fourth. Steve Blindaeur of South Dakota jubilantly finished his first nationals in fifth place. Rounding out the final two positions were Steve Lemarie of Louisiana and Todd Shelton of North Carolina. Steve pulled a nice 295kg/650lb deadlift, after being asked to change an illegally 'registered' suit, just minutes before his pull-good job! Travis Pardue opened to high in the squat and bombed. On a final note, special kudos go out to David "Exxon" Sharon of the LSU Powerlifting team for great spotting during this session. As the back spotter, David literally caught a 310kg squat in mid air to protect one of the lifters -- Super job! Overall, this class proved to be quite exciting and fun to watch. Congratulations to all of the athletes in this class for a job well done!
Like last year, Charr Gahagen, Nick Tylutki, and Tony Succarotte squared off for this title, with it being a nail biter all the way to the last deadlift. I shall begin with Succarotte, who had a career day with personal record lifts in the squat, bench press, and total; however, it was still not enough to overtake both Tylutki and Gahagen for the overall title. Nevertheless, the highlight of Tony's day came when he nailed another IPF world record in the bench press with 277.5kg/611lbs, on his third attempt, after missing it on a second attempt -- Simply amazing! In my opinion, next to James Henderson's bench press of 711lbs, Tony's 611lb bench press is probably one of the greatest lifts ever performed in the bench press, under IOC drug-tested conditions, in single-ply gear. Not too bad for an overall third place finish at nationals. Second place finisher Nick Tylutki smoked all of his squats, ending with a superb and brilliantly executed 357.5kg/788lbs that gave him the early lead. However, Gahagen responded in terrific fashion, with a personal best squat of 332.5kg/733lbs, which kept him close and in the hunt. Going into the bench press, Nick made two solid attempts, but missed his third with 212.5kg/468lbs. Gahagen made his opener easily with 200kg/440lb, but missed his second attempt at 210kg/462lbs. What to do now? Instead of staying with 210kg, Charr made the gutsy call, and went to a personal record 220kg/485lb attempt and made it relatively easy, which placed him into the driver's seat to win this championship going away. To me, this was the lift that he needed to make in order to hold off Nick's big squat and deadlift and overall balance lifting. Not making this lift, would have put Nick into position to win this class, and provide Tony Succarotte a possibility of second. In making this, Charr went into the deadlift with a great of momentum and made three easy deadlifts, finishing the day with a career best squat, bench press and total of 902.5kg/1989lbs. Given the opportunity, I am sure Charr would have made a personal record deadlift as well. Believe it or not, his final pull of 350kg/771lbs looked more like a warm-up attempt. Expect a 930kg total at worlds! Overall, Tylutki and Gahagen continue to amaze me with their future potential and talent - The sky is the limit. These two young men are on the fast track of rising stars that will undoubtedly; carry the USAPL to the forefront of powerlifting on the international stage. On a final note, never count Succarotte out - With the championship being in May next year, works perfectly into Tony's work schedule, whereby he will not have to endure twelve (12) hour days, five (5) days a week in the scorching sun, as a Pipe fitter in the city of Philadelphia, while having train for Nationals at the same time. In fourth place, rugged Mike Ferrantelli of Florida has great potential to be in the thick of it next year, once he works out the technical flaws, and makes the necessary adjustments to IPF rules. He was on hand with his father that cheered him on after each lift. Mike is plenty strong has the necessary tools to contend. Rounding out the top five, Timothy McFarland of Wisconsin was able to pull enough in the deadlift to hold off Scott Waits of Nevada, as well as ADFPA/USAPL Ironman Shawn Cain, who by the way, lifted in his nineteenth (19) USAPL men's national championship - a record accomplishment in of itself. Jason "Deep-Squatter" Burnell from California was able to make enough to hold of Dr Robert Wood, Scott Miller and Rick Fowler. Jim Nicolosi, the 2003 USAPL American Open Champion, had a career day a made personal bests in all of lifts and total to complete and round out the list of entrants in this class. Brian Radulovich of Colorado opened to heavy in the deadlift and bombed. He is a strong young man; however, with some further refinement and experience, he will go places. Overall, I would like to congratulate all of the competitors for a very competitive weight class - Congratulations and well done!
The 110kg/242lb class was equally exciting as the other classes, and did not stop here! Tony Harris of Hawaii, having had time to heal from hip injuries in his last two competitions was able to hold together, and complete the contest with a solid win, off a well-balance lifting attack over Jeff Douglas. Nolan Crabbe, chief motivator and coach, did a great job as usual, and will have Tony ready for the world championships this fall. Jeff Douglas of Mississippi, had a great day in the squat, and the bench press, but did not have enough to overtake Tony in the deadlift. His 365kg/804lb squat and 242.5kg/534lb bench press were well done, and with some little added extra work in the deadlift, will challenge Tony for this title next year. Overall, super job! Finishing third for the second consecutive year in a row, Steve Mann of New York keeps punching his squat, bench press and total toward competitive marks to win this class. However, if Steve ever wishes to challenge for this title, he shall have to strengthen his Achilles Heal - the deadlift. Overall, Steve had a great day and made personal record lifts of 355kg/782lbs in the squat, and 885kg/1951lbs in the total. Fourth place was secured by Ryan Stills of Washington State who continues to improve with each respective outing on the platform. He lifts for the Bull's Eye Powerlifting Team, and was dead on with his attempt selection to stay enough head of Eric Steiner, who had a personal record day as well, and landed in fifth place. Look for Erik's lifting to improve tremendously, now that he has finished his Master's Degree, and will be settling in with his new teaching job in Pennsylvania. Erik also passed his IPF Category II referees examination. Congratulations to Erik! Shane Newark from Ohio benched big and made a 250kg/551lb on a third to stay in the contest. He nearly caught Steiner for fifth with some solid deadlifting; but Erik was able to pull his final attempt of 300kg/661lbs rather easily to secure the fifth place position. Navy Commander Reape, Michael Kalter, Steve Silver and Chris Kahanek all lifted well, and rounded out the final standings for this class. Super lifting everyone -- well done!
In the largest lifting class of the championship, Tony Cardella of Texas lifted like a man possessed, and was unstoppable from the outset, and motored through eight (8) solid attempts, totaling 1000kg, in thee toughest weight class of the championship. Tony is under the direct coaching of Dr. Larry Maile, and I must say they make a formidable team, with Tony improving every time that he steps onto the lifting platform. Remarkably, Tony is no longer the chubby college kid that everyone used to tease, hanging around the older guys wanting to learn how to lift weights. The tide has now changed and Tony now carries the demeanor of a champion preparing to enter stardom, reminiscent of the great Capt. Kirk Karwoski. My prediction is that Tony goes onto the win several world championships in this class. He is fine young man with great potential in every facet f his life. Great work Tony, and keep it up! Greg Wagner of Wisconsin finished in a solid second place, with some much improved deadlifting prowess. Emilio Saldierna, the new Louisiana Tech powerlifting coach surprised a lot of people with his exceptional lifting, and placed a very respectable third in his first ever men's national championships. His 385kg/848lb squat was phenomenal and gutsy for the new kid on the block. If Emilio were to have made one more bench press attempt, he could have placed second with a shot to go to this year's men's world championships -- Not real bad, and keep your eyes on this young man. He will shake it up again next year. William Ferguson of Texas lifted well; once he was able to get his final squat on the board. His third squat was extremely close and made it in with a 2-1 decision. His 250kg/551 bench press was strong, backed up with a 315kg/694lb deadlift was enough to hold off Matt Wenning, the Ball State University powerlifting coach, to gain fourth place. Matt lifted quite well himself, and pulled just enough to land himself in fifth place over veteran contender Sean Culnan of New York State. It is a pleasure to see Sean lift, especially when he prepares himself for a big pull in the deadlift. After making his first seven (7) attempts, Sean passed his second deadlift and loaded it up for one big pull that would land him in second place. The lift was close, but just a bit too heavy on this day. Continue to watch Sean improve in this class as he makes the metamorphosis George Hector-like transformation from a super-heavy lifter to a leaned down lifting machine at 125kg. Sean was followed up by Scott Ward, Evan Whalen, Rob Meulenberg, and Dr. Pat Anderson. American Open champion Deron Rogers battled with the remaining four place finishers James Toland, Dr. Mike Hartle, Schoen, and Collins. Dean Reece succumbed to technical difficulties in the squat -- where as Dr. Mike Anderson, Brad Madvig, and Scott Lade had difficulties in the bench press and all bombed. Overall, congratulation to all of the athletes for a well fought battle.
The expectations were high in this class for reigning national champion Brian Siders of West Virginia, who came to this contest prepared to erase Bill Kazmier's legendary all-time record in the total of 1100kg/2425lbs that was set all the way back in 1981, at the USPF West Georgia Open Powerlifting Championships, held in Columbus, Georgia. This is without a doubt one of the oldest and most distinguished marks in the sport of powerlifting, with many before Brian attempting to break it. However, they all felt short. Today, not only did Brian break this record, but he exceeded comfortably by some 12.5kg/27lbs, with much more left in him -- Welcome to the beginning of a new dynasty as Brian Siders now owns the largest total ever recorded in powerlifting history. In witnessing this awesome feat of power from the jury table, Brian manhandled his squats with 425kg/936lbs so easily and with such speed that the weight literally flew up off his back, when he came to lock out - Wow! I have seen some fantastic things before in the sport of powerlifting, but never anything like this. After completing the squats, Brian was not yet finished and effortlessly stroked a 317.5kg/699lbs in the bench press with relative ease that it really looked like a warm-up. A subsequent try on his third attempt with 325kg/717lbs to break James Henderson's mark, met with red lights for placing the weight on his stomach, as apposed to his chest. So, the miss was not on strength, but technique. The record of 322.5kg/711lbs by Henderson remains; however, not for very much longer. Brian will break the world bench press record and total record more than likely at the men's world championships in South Africa. So say good bye now! Brian's deadlifting was equally impressive and pulled 360kg/793lbs, and 370kg/815lb without a belt to set the break Kaz's record not only once, but twice in one day! At this point Brian's strength is still yet developing, and there is not telling what he can achieve. It is my opinion, he shall be the first ever lifter to break not only the 2500, but the 2600 total mark as well. Brian has the talent to exceed and break all of the records in the book in the SHW weight class, including Shane Hamman's squat record of 1008lbs. So, folks, if you have the opportunity come see Brian lift, do so, you will not be disappointed - Great job Brian, and congratulations. In second place, and not to be overshadowed, two-time world champion Brad Gillingham put on his own show and exceeded his best ever squat with a 395kg/872lb, and bench press with 287.5kg/639lbs, and stupendous 1062.5kg/2342lb total, which is 42lbs more than he has ever done before. If it were not for a slight hamstring tear, suffered at the 2004 IPF North American Regional championships, Brad would have totaled, more than likely, 1080kg/2380lbs. Watch for Brad to be exceed 2400lbs in total quite soon, and challenge Brian for this title. Folks, you can NEVER count brad out, he is a winner and true champion. Look for Brian and Brad to go Gold and Silver at this year's world championships. Rounding out the top three, Christian Power team member Randall Harris, lifted exceedingly well, and is another one to look at to challenge for this title in the future. Randall is an IPF Junior World Champion, and now is looking to add the men's IPF world title to his list of accomplishments. With his lifting talent at this age, he more than likely will accomplish this goal -- Great job Randall. Rounding out this class, ever improving Lance Karabel of Illinois finally breaks into the medal standing with some solid and well done lifting. Brian Laudadio is relatively new to the sport, but has the structure, and tools to become a champion. His improvement over the past twelve (12) months has been most impressive. He is another one to watch. Hometown hero Kory Wnuk, aka the "Swamp Monster" lifted quite strongly and put up some impressive numbers. Kory is a great guy, and is their always to assist Paul with his championships! Christus of Michigan is another giant to look after, and will only get better. Chandler hit the showers early after not being able to negotiate the IPF depth on the squat. On a final note, Jeff Lewis was registered to lift, but due to some unforeseen circumstances had to withdraw from the competition for personal reasons. It would have been truly interesting to see Jeff lift at this event, and see what he could do with both Brad and Brian at their best. One will never know. Hopefully soon, these three will be able to step onto the platform for a real test in the battle of the Titans!
Women's Invitational "Ladies Night" Championship
As a special introduction, on Friday evening, some of the best female lifters in the United States showed up for a special encore of their recent performances at both the IPF North American Regional Championships that were held in Florida, and/or the IPF Women's World Championships in Cahors, France. This demonstration showcased several of the top lifters in the world today, which included Priscilla Ribic, the 2004 IPF women's world champion, and Liz Willet, who successfully completed the first ever 300kg/661 squat by a female in the history of the sport. Interestingly enough, Priscilla nearly pulled a huge 250kg/551lbs at a bodyweight of 67.5kg/148lbs at this event. Also, Ribic's Wilks Score of 631points ranks her the highest ever recorded in the sport of powerlifting in the United States, and one of the best of all time in the world - great job Priscilla and congratulations. Folks, there is more to come next year, so stay tuned. Katie Ford and Gilly Martinez continued their battle from the world championships a few weeks ago, with Katie continues to improve on her marks. If I am not mistaken, I believe Katie set some American collegiate records along the way. Master's lifter Deb Hariston showed the young ladies how it is done, and stroked several new American masters' records in the bench press. Also, IPF bench press world champion Jennifer Thompson showed for some work with her squat and deadlift to test her recently repaired ACL that she tore in a surfing accident. Welcome back Jenn and we look forward to seeing you at this year's USAPL Bench Press Nationals and the IPF World Bench Press Championships being directed by Larry Miller in Cleveland, Ohio on December 5 & 6, 2004. Jen Hollier and Christy Newman both had technical problems and bombed. We shall see Christy also at Bench Nationals and World championships this year in Cleveland. Good luck to you both!
Referees, Officials and Staff
Again, this year's championship was a great success! However, this would have not been possible without the assistance of the following referees: Dennis Burke (I), Ben Brent (I), Bill Clayton (I), Lucian Gillis (I), Larry Maile (I), Ruth Welding (I), Dr. Billy Jack Talton (II), Jim Hart (II), Johnny Graham (II), Steve Howard (II), Bettina Altizer (II), Jack Marcus (II), Joe Marksteiner (II), Cathy Marksteiner (II), Ray Benemerito (II), Robb Grisham (National), Terri Kunsman (National), Erik Steiner (National), Curt St. Romain (National), Christy Newman (National), Bill Keel (National), Gerry Chidester (National), Regina Hackney (National), Maureen Post (National), Steve Johnson (National), Sue Hallen (National), Kim Beckwith (National), Bill Callahan (State), and Dr. Andy Anderson (State). Special thanks to go out Reed Bueche and Gino of Pro-Fitness for their exceptional announcing, as well as to Dr. Shay Corbin and Dr. Bernie Miller for the chiropractic assistance. I would also like to acknowledge the support and assistance of Mike Armstrong the championship secretary - great job! Also, I would like to recognize Ms. Kory Wnuk and Jon Magendie for their support and assistance with the event as well. - Overall, super job ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for your service to the great sport of powerlifting.
This group of referees is without a doubt, one of the best corps of officials ever assembled for such a championship. Each session, accept for the first session on Friday, and the 125kg/272lb "A" group on Sunday, saw at least three (3) IPF Category I and II referees on the platform, and three international grade referees on the jury. I must comment that this year's officiating was some of the best I have ever witnessed -- Consistent, professional and fair. Referees were also posted at key positions, such as the expeditor table and in the area leading to the platform to keep it clear. Cathy Marksteiner did a superb job of ensuring this one done. She is the absolutely the best at directing traffic! Again, my sincere thanks for a job very well done!
Team & Outstanding Lifter Awards
The Quest Nutrition team dominated the open team category by scoring eight (8) first place victories, along with one silver medal. Clearly, this is one of the most dominating team performances I have ever witnessed in national championship history. Compliments should be extended to Sherman Ledford for the building what could be the beginning of a long lineage of championship teams of the future. Second place was the ever steady Titan Supports Systems team, lead by Pete Alinez. In third, was ever consistent Team Pennsylvania, with two (2) first place victories - great job guys! In the newly created State team Championship; Team Minnesota took top honors, just nipping team Pennsylvania by one (1) point. Team Indiana was a close third. Each day, an outstanding lifter was awarded; Day One -Wade Hooper; Day Two - Steve McLawchlin; and, Day Three: Brian Siders. All of these superb and exceptional lifters lifted for Team Quest. Notably, Brian Siders won the overall Champion of Champions award as the overall best lifter of the championship. Congratulations to each of you gentlemen for a job well done! Not to be left out, Priscilla Ribic was awarded the overall best lifter award for the ladies invitational championships. Congratulations to Priscilla!
In brief, the drug-testing at this championship was at the highest level ever witnessed at any one championship within USA Powerlifting. I personally pulled fifteen (15) lifters for IOC drug-tests, along with seven (7) routine Quest Lab tests, for an overall total of twenty-two (22) tests. Included in these tests, was one out of competition test (OCT) executed on a US National Team lifter attending the championship. As of the preparation of this article, the DT results are not yet in; however, once all of the results are back, please view which athletes were tested, via the new on-line drug-testing data base that can be found on the main home-page of USA Powerliting.
This was an exceptional championship filled with much excitement and enthusiasm. All of the athletes, staff and officials, displayed decorum of sportsmanship and professionalism, and each should be proud of their respective accomplishments. Next year's Men's National Championships shall take place in Killeen, Texas under the direction of Johnny Graham, the USAPL Vice-president. If this year's championship is any indication as to what next year may bring, get your tickets early! Also, next year's championship shall be the official qualifier for the 2005 IPF Men's World Powerlifting Championships that I will be directing during November, in Miami/West Palm Beach, Florida. Early indications show that the 2005 nationals shall be one of the largest ever, as all comers shall want an opportunity to lift at the IPF men's world powerlifting championship on their own respective turf. Johnny shall be directing the 2005 national championship in the new Killeen Convention Center that boasts some of the best technology around to hold an event of this caliber. The contest shall take place May 6-8, 2005, and for those that need to qualify, do so early. See you next year, and the best of luck with your training and lifting prior to these epic events!
Robert H. Keller
IPF Category I Referee
2004 USAPL Men's National Powerlifting Championships
Thanks to Jimmy Kavarnos and
Jane Larsen Welborn for some photos.
Many more can be seen on Jimmy K's website.
Star of the show, Brian Siders
Touring the French Quarter with MD Paul Fletcher
Veteran Shawn Cain in his 19th nationals
A night out
Jeff Douglas on his way to Silver
Jason Beck -- American Military Power at work
USAPL Webmaster Tony Cardella, Gold at 275!
Just a bunch of little guys!
Liz goes for a WR Bench, can't do it, three tries.
Steve Mann of PA
EC Meeting before the NGB
A typical house in Baton Rouge!
Good to see John Mathieu back.
Pete Alaniz of Titan in coaching mode
Ray Benemerito - not such a good day.
Wade Hooper, squatting for a WR.
Liz, squatting over 600 lbs!
Best Legs in Powerlifting! (for squatting that is)
Your Powerlines Editor, very hot and sweaty at
Pat O'Briens on Bourbon St.