2004 USAPL Womens Nationals
February 5 & 6, 2005
St. Louis, Missouri

Meet Directors: Dawn and Harold Gaines

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The USA Powerlifting Women's Nationals was held the 5th and 6th of February, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri. Almost 160 of America's finest strength athletes gathered to celebrate their strength in a forum that is both drug free and supportive. The USAPL Women's Nationals is unique in that it is not only the sole, but the largest women's only strength spectacular in the U.S.

Dawn and Harold Gaines, hosting their first major national competition left no detail unexamined, and it is not an overstatement to say that they went the extra mile, and then some to make this a GREAT competition. Assisted by Rick Fowler and a crew that included friends, family, and many, many volunteers from the St. Louis lifting community, they managed an enormous competition with grace and a smile throughout the weekend. The medals were custom made for this competition, and very nice. The trophies were also unique and appropriate to a women's competition and very large (making for some interesting carry-on baggage for those who flew in.

The competition was kicked off with the annual Women's Committee meeting. Issues related to managing and improving this significant segment of our sport were discussed as were bids for future competitions. Selection criteria for World Teams was discussed and a rules clinic was given by IPF Category I referee Ruth Welding.

An early gear check was offered Friday night, and 110 athletes were checked in, had their gear inspected, and were off to bed within two hours. I mention this because it reflects the numbers of volunteers the Gaines arranged as well as the organization by Technical Secretary Robert Keller.

Youth Division:
There were five Youth Division lifters in this competition. They each lifted in a different wt. class, but showed what youth lifting is about, taking comfortable attempts and getting the crowd on their feet to cheer them on. In the 10-11 year old division, Beth Block finished with a respectable 150 kg. total at 56 kg. In the 12-13 year old division, Kendra Miller, of the Plainwell Miller's totaled 267.5 kg. She made easy attempts well within her range lifting in just a belt and wraps. Ms. Miller is a future World Champion without a doubt. In the 97 lb. class, Sarah Faye Biddle totaled 172.5 kg. based on balanced lifting and tremendous platform poise. Marlena Daniel, daughter of Maryland State Chair, Mark Daniel totaled 150 kg. in the 48 kg. class. Katie Swenson totaled 180 kg. in the 67.5 kg. class. Interestingly, several of these young lifters wanted to meet Jennifer Maile, many time teen and junior champion as they have been inspired to compete by her successes.

97 lb. class:
The 97 lb. class was a battle all the way to the end in the Open Division. 7.5 kg. separated the first three places, with Cheryl Anderson, competing in her first USAPL Nationals taking home the gold on the strength of her deadlift. She pulled 135 kg. (297 lbs.) to finish 2.5 kg. ahead of Barb Seips. Erin Dickey finished third after missing her final deadlift. These lifters are evenly matched in terms of strength and a missed lift either way and any one of them would have taken it. Many time World Team member, Cathy Solan finished fourth and Donna Aliminosa rounding out the class. Erin won the Jr. Division, Lauren Guidry the 18-19, and Jackie Miller won the 16-17, and Melissa Warner the 14-15.

105 lb. class:
There were two lifters entered in the Open 105 lb. class. 14 year old Caitlin Miller won her first trip to the Open Worlds with a 362.5 kg. total. Caitlin only missed on lift all day, and will be a solid competitor in the Open Division in addition to her recent medal at the Sub-Junior World Championships. Jonna Ocampo took home the silver with a 295 kg. total. Equally remarkable as the performance of the Open lifters were the lifts by master lifters Judy Gedney and Ann Leverett. Judy, at just over 60 years of age totaled 292.5 kg. which is just under her best as an Open lifter. Ann, lifting in the 50-54 division totaled 325 kg. on just three attempts. She took several attemps at Master World records and narrowly missed them. Lauren Guidry totaled 280 kg. in the 18-19 division, while Miranda Mueller finished with 245 kg. in the 16-17 age group.

114 lb. class:
The 114 lb. Open division included Siouxz Hartwig, the 2003 IPF World Champion, and Jennifer Maile, making her debut at a full 52 kg. When the dust settled, Maile came out on top equaling her American record total of 437.5 kg. Hartwig suffered a hamstring injury limiting her pulling power. These two fine lifters have pushed each other to world class totals over the past several years, initially in the 105's, and they are sure to ratchet up each other's lifts in the 114's. It is this type of competition that drives the continual improvement in many of our weight classes. Leah Marietta took the bronze with a 362.5 kg. total, edging her sister Lora who finished with 330 kg. Maura Shuttleworth ended with 317.5 kg. while Master American Record holder Deb Hairston finished with 310 kg. In the Junior division, Jennifer Maile beat last year's 48 kg. Junior World Champion by a margin of 77.5 kg. Lea Marietta beat out Jamie Beebe in the 18-19 division, while her sister Lora defeated Stevie Cross, Sara Beebe, and Megan Hampton in the 16-17 division. The Marietta sisters are great competitors and will be showing up on World Teams very soon. Kelly Sullwold post a fine 265 kg. total to win the gold in the 14-15 division. Linda King won the 40-44 division while Deb Hairston 50-54 group. Anchorage, Alaska's Sally Bowers returning to the platform after a two year absence, beat out Joann Clough for the title in the 55-59 division.

123 lb. class:
Junior World Bench record holder and 2004 National Champion, Ashley Awalt returned to successfully defend her title in 2005. Her total was a little down due to injury, but she had a respectable performance nonetheless. Her squat was improved from last year, and she took a run at her own World Jr. record but was unsuccessful. The runner up slot was taken by Janel Brown. She was followed by Kristen Yukness, the USAPL Police and Fire Champion, Leigh Haines, and Washington's Patricia Tidmarsh. In the Jr. Division, Natalie Wood took the Silver to Awalt. Jessica Stewart and Heidi Gregory battled it out in the 18-19 division, with Stewart edging Gregory by 5 kg. when Heidi missed her final deadlift attempting the bodyweight win. Courtney Langhoff, Kristen Thernes, and Katie Van Dusen finished in that order in the 16-17 division. There were three entrants in the 14-15 division of the 56 kg. class. Kimberly Douglas soundly defeated runner-up Ashley Taylor and Linsey Probst. In the Master's 50-54 division, World Record holder Ellen Stein returned to the platform after a hiatus. She showed why she is competitive in the Open division with a 365 kg. total. In the 45-49 age group, Alaska Iron Maiden Kate Dingle-Craig defeated coach, team manager extraordinaire Lanette Lopez for the gold. Kate is one of the long time USAPL members, her first nationals being 19 years ago. In the 40-44 division, multi-time world team member Diane Siveny, from Minot, North Dakota beat out silver and bronze medallists Leigh Haines and Shawn Warren.

132 lb. class:
The 132 lb. class was notable for the absence of last year's champion Bettina Altizer. Bettina was on hand to be inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame, and deservedly so. She left the class in good hands, though with 18 year old Carly Nogle, of Plainwell, Michigan moving up from the 123's. Carly was a member of both the Open and Sub-Junior World teams in 2004, and placed a respectable 5th at the Opens in France. Carly added significant strength with the increased bodyweight, and totaled a massive 477.5 kg. Denver, North Carolina's Jennifer Thompson who has concentrated on winning world titles in the Bench Press returned to three lift competition after rehabbing a knee injury. She totaled 455 kg., over a half ton. Jen tried to break the World Record on a fourth attempt but was unsuccessful. Many time Jr. and Open World Team member, Jennifer Rey returned to the platform in great shape and with solid lifts. The Jr. Division was won by California's Christina Henesian. Christina tried the Jr. American record with a 400+ lb. attempt but stalled with it. She is a great deadlifter though, and will break this barrier soon. Shay Stone, a protégé of National Champion Tony Cardella took the Silver with Rebecca Rich taking Bronze. Nogle took the 18-19 division over Jenna Farek and Megan Jovanovich. Brooke Nellor, appearing in her first Women's Nationals struggled with nerves, feeling the expectations of being the daughter of the late Ed Nellor of Nebraska. Ed was one of the pillars of drug free lifting in the ADFPA/USAPL and an icon in Nebraska. Brooke will surely follow in his footsteps when she settles in. Amanda Baum, daughter of Malinda Baum of the Phantom Warriors, and multi-time World Team member won in the 16-17 division. The 14-15 division had four entrants with Kami Schroer winning with a 262.5 kg. total. Retired Washington Supreme Court Jugde, Faith Ireland was unable to get a successful bench in, but took advantage of the new IPF rule which allows an athlete to continue in the competition and tested her deadlift. Barb Zintmaster won the 50-54 division, Judy Drenth the 45-49, and World Team member and outstanding bench presser, Angela Simmons the 40-44 divisions, respectively.

148 lb. class:
The Open division was dominated by the 2004 three lift and bench press World Champion, Priscilla Ribic, but the competition was exciting due to the presence of Master World Champion Paula Houston and Jr. Team member Alyssa Hitchcock. Priscilla missed two of her patented deadlifts just missing the World Total record, but improved her squat to 237.5 kg. and her bench to 155 kg. Paula has improved unbelievably over the past few years, and is technically flawless in her execution. She totaled more than 1000 lbs. and shows that attention to detail will yield results even when you have had as distinguished and successful career as has Paula. Hitchcock missed some clutch lifts that while not pretty looked to be passable from my perspective. The top five was rounded out by Erin Waterman and Hall of Fame member, Ruth Welding. Hitchcock won the Jr. Division comfortably over Ashley Millet. Angelle Matt, of Louisiana won the 18-19 year old division, Plainwell, Michigan's Molly Dennany won the 16-17 division. Kasa Shroer, whose sister Kami won her division of the 132's matched her sister's effort with the Gold in this class. In the 45-49 division, Ruth Welding took the gold when Sasha Meshkov failed to get a squat attempt in. Houston was the winner in the 40-44 division.

165 lb. class:
The 165 lb. class looked to be exciting looking at the qualification totals, with USAPL veteran Katie Ford and USAPL newcomer Lynne Nelson coming in with almost equivalent potential. This day, Nelson was victorious based on her stronger pull despite having an early deficit of 20 kg. in the squat. Master Laura Styrland took the bronze, and Holly Geersen and Taryn Cowan rounded out the top five. Katie took the Jr. title over Dekeshia Anderson and Dan Mauriello. In the 16-17 year old division, Open National Bench Team member and star of ESPN Timelines took the gold medal, and set the IPF Sub Junior World Bench Press record. Devan proved that she is not only a bencher, however, with a fine 1003 total, and a much improved deadlift of 160 kg. Jenae Jindra, the youngest USAPL meet promoter (Nebraska State Championships this spring) totaled 340 kg. to win the 18-19 division. In the Master's divisions, Regina Hackney took the Gold in the 65-69 division, Sonja McKinley (coached by IPF World Master Team member, Tom Weeks) the 60-64, former USAPL Secretary/Treasurer Marsha Serre the 55-59, Leah Smith the 50-54. Open Champion Lynne Nelson was the champion over dedicated USAPL supporter Theresa Merrick in the 45-49. Theresa appeared to be having at least as much fun watching and supporting her competitors as actually lifting. That is the mark of a true fan. In the 40-44 division, Phantom Warrior Rhonda Clark defeated Laura Styrland on the strength of her great pulling power (195 kg.).

181 lb. class:
The 181 lb. class looked to be a duel between Disa Hatfield and Liane Blynn. Disa has been polishing her technique over the past several years, and it showed in her poise and strength this time out. After a missed opening squat, she adjusted and got that and more. She finished with her first 300 lb. bench and improved her deadlift to over 400 as well. Liane several more attempts and that was the margin at the end. Disa came out ahead by 30 kg. Lacey Picou defeated Katie Dodge for the Jr. title, while Ashley Duplissey won the 18-19 division, Jessica Rychecky the 16-17, Jordan Stupecky the 14-15. Malinda Baum was the Master's (40-44) Champion.

198 lb. class:
The 198 lb. class marked the return of 2003 IPF Jr. World Champion Jessica Watkins. Jessica struggled in her strength, the squat at last year's nationals, but that was not to be repeated in 2005. Jessica dipped 250 kg. (551 lbs.), the biggest squat of the meet. She stalled with 255, but will surely get that in her next competition. The Silver medal went to Sub Junior World Champion Bonica Brown, who filled this slot last year on the Open World Team. She improved her total from that meet, and the sky appears to be the limit. The Bronze went to Austin, Texas' Wendolyn Allen. World Team member, Kelly Louque of Baton Rouge, Louisiana won the Jr. Division. Leigh Arnold defeated Jennifer Swanson for the 18-19 title, Bonica the 16-17 title. Bonica set an IPF Sub-Junior World Bench record along the way. Kaitlin Marsh garnered the Gold in the 14-15 division. Among masters, Susan Gill was the lone entrant in the 55-59 division, and the Gold Medallist.

Unlimited Class:
This year's Nationals was the Harriet Hall show. Harriet won the Open division over Jr. lifter Sarah Greenup, setting IPF Master World Squat, Bench, and Total records along the way. At 56 years of age, Harriet still ranks among the best lifters in the world at any age. Silver medallist Sarah Greenup was back after a hiatus, and we have missed her. Many of us think that Sarah is going to be the next big thing in the unlimited class. Her potential is limitless. Women's Committee member and longtime USAPL competitor, Sue Hallen took the Bronze, with Texas' Jade Dickens ending up fourth. Sarah was the Jr. Champion and looks like a shoe in for the Jr. World Team competing at home this year for the first time in years (decades?). Rachel Hecht defeated Brittney Kean on bodyweight, weighing 6 lbs. less in the 18-19 division. Kean's last pull was not enough to defeat Hecht. Tammi Walter took home the Gold in the 16-17 as did Hope Block in the 14-15. Needless to say, Harriet Hall won the Master 55-59, while Sue Hallen won the 45-49, and Deborah Ferrell the 40-44. Deborah lost the Gold Medal at the Open Bench Worlds on a tough call, and proved that she is clearly the best in the world now, with a Master World record of an easy 185 kg. She tried 190.5 kg. for the Open World record but it stalled halfway up.

The Brits:
This is the third year that our dear friends from Great Britain attended the USAPL Women's Nationals. They have enjoyed the depth of competition, and we have appreciated their intensity and camaraderie during the competition. Four lifters participated: Heather Hampson (56 kg.), Marion Gibson (75 kg.), Jennifer Busby (82.5 kg.), and Suzanne Last (+90 kg.). Both Suzanne and Heather are coming off significant injuries and we appreciate their lifting anyway. We expect to see all four continue on the international circuit.

Team Competition:
The USAPL Women's Nationals includes the Teenage, Junior, Open, and Master's Championships. There is a combined division which allows 10 scorers in any age and weight class with the limitation that their may not be more than 2 lifters in any single age group and weight class.

Team Titan, defeating Hart's House of Power, won the Open division team championship. Hart's did redeem themselves in the Combined division, edging Quest Nutrition, Plainwell, and the Diller/Odell & Crofton Area Powerlifters. The Jr. Division was won by Hart's House of Power, and in the Master's division, the 7 time national champion Alaska Iron Maidens narrowly edged the Athletes for Christ.

Looking Ahead:
This year, was the biggest USAPL Women's Championship ever. In fact it was the biggest women's powerlifting competition ever. While some may argue that including all the divisions makes for some lighter classes, the strength of this meet is the respect and fun that the lifters pay each other. The younger lifters can meet, and lift with their older role models. The older lifters can see the future of the sport. They all are there to celebrate strong women, and THAT is really what these nationals are about.

Next year's Women's Nationals will be held in Denver, Colorado the last weekend in February. The lifting will be held over three days so that more athletes can be accommodated and so that the athletes have time to socialize and share experiences. Host, Dan Gaudreau and the able Colorado crew plan to make it a meet to remember. If they put as much into it (and I'm sure that they will), they will surpass the unbelievable standard that Harold and Dawn Gaines, and Rick Fowler set this year. See you there.

Contest Photos
Thanks to Priscilla Ribic

Best Open Lifters, Priscilla, Jess, Jenn

Best Lifters

Bettina Altizer, 2005 Women's Hall of Fame Winner

The visting British lifters

Jane Larson-Welborn

Jenn making weight!

Disa Hatfield celebrating victory!

Jess Watkins getting ready to pull

Larry and Harriet - all smiles!

Priscilla, squatting 524
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