Tag Archives: 1997 National Championships

USAWA History – 1997 Nationals

by Al Myers

(The following meet report was written by Bill Clark in the Strength Journal, Vol. VIII No. 3)


Columbia, MO – – Noi Phumchaona won the women’s title handily at the 10th Annual USAWA Championships here on June 14-15, but it was not an easy victory for Jim Malloy in winning the “Best Lifter” among the men.

Malloy, a 110 KG champ in the 55-59 age group, had the meet’s highest total of 3515 pounds and finished on top of the eight-lift event with 3285.94 points on the corrected age and bodyweight basis.  He edged fellow Cleveland lifter, Bob Hirsh, who had 3113.35 points.  Joe Garcia, who had the best neck and hand-and-thigh lifts in the meet, was close behind in third with 3018.62 points.  His total of 3485 pounds was second only to Malloy. 

The closest battle for an award ever in the USAWA Nationals came in the 50-54 age group here.  Joe Caron finished with 2790.37 points to edge Denny Habecker by less than a point. Denny had 2789.69 points….a mere .48 of a point difference.

A total of only 22 lifters made it to the platform – the lowest ever in a USAWA title meet, and five of the 22 were from the host club – Clark’s Gym.  Even with the small number, lifters came from Massachusetts (Dave Ellis and Frank Ciavattone) to California (Jack Lano).

A brief record session was held following the competition each day and the star of the day on Sunday was Kerry Clark.  Kerry had not entered the competition because a severe reaction to medication had sent her to the hospital and her bodyweight had dropped almost overnight.  She spent both days in the referee’s chair on one of the platforms and when the neck lift came up, the competitive juices began to flow.  With no training in almost a year, she made 505 pounds in the 70 KG class, a lift which was beaten only by Garcia’s 510.  She tried 600, but without success.

Clark’s Gym came up with a trio of youngsters who have a good chance to make headlines in the USAWA for years to come.  Emily Gordon, a 14-year-old junior high soccer player, was in her third major competition in  a little over a year and, at a bodyweight of 99.6 pounds, did a 350 hand-and- thigh and a 735 harness lift.  She set 10 USAWA records during the weekend.  Jonathan Anderson, Kerry’s 12-year-old nephew, made a 200-pound neck lift and set eight records in his first-ever competition.  Andy Bate, an 18-year-old who loaded on Saturday, decided to lift on Sunday as a record-seeker only, and came away with four records in his initial effort.  All the kids, plus a couple of others, are considering the IAWA International Meet in October in Pennsylvania. 


1997 USAWA National Championships
June 14-15, 1997
Columbia, Missouri

Meet Director: Bill Clark and Joe Garcia
Emcee: Bill Clark
Equipment Hauler: John Carter
Sales: Dolores Clark
Loaders: John Carter, Andy Bate, Charles Wade, Dan Thompson, Tyler Lasley, Judy Habecker
Head Officials: Kerry Clark, Casey Clark

Lifts: Clean and Press Heels Together, Deadlift with Ciavattone Grip, Steinborn, Hand and Thigh, One-Hand Deadlift, Pullover and Push, Clean and Press on Knees, Neck Lift

Men: Top Ten Placings
1. Jim Malloy, Ohio
2. Bob Hirsh, Ohio
3. Joe Garcia, Missouri
4. Chris Waterman, Ohio
5. Joe Caron, Kansas
6. Denny Habecker, Pennsylvania
7. Dale Friesz, Virginia
8. John Vernacchio, Pennsylvania
9. John Carter, Missouri
10. Howard Prechtel, Ohio

Women: Top Three Placings
1. Noi Phumchaona, Ohio
2. Karen Devine, Pennsylvania
3. Emily Gordon, Missouri

Best Lifters Awards:
Men Overall – Jim Malloy
Women Master – Noi Phumchaona
Men Open – Bob Hirsh
Men Master – Jim Malloy
Men 20-39 Age Group – John Carter
Men 40-44 Age Group – Bob Hirsh
Men 50-54 Age Group – Joe Caron
Men 55-59 Age Group – Jim Malloy
Men 60-64 Age Group – John Vernacchio
Men 65-69 Age Group – Dennis Mitchell
Men 70-74 Age Group – Howard Prechtel
Men 75-79 Age Group – Jack Lano
Women Junior – Emily Gordon
Men Junior – Jonathon Anderson