Tag Archives: National Championships

National Championships

By Al Myers



The USAWA National Championships will be going to Cocoa Beach!

The USAWA National Championships will be held at Cocoa Beach!

The date has been set and plans are underway for this years USAWA National Championships.  For the first time in USAWA history, the Nationals will be held in Florida! The plans for this all started on the trip back from Nationals last year in Cleveland.  After I received the bid for the 2018 Nationals, a young lifter from the Dino Gym, Cody Lokken,  said he would sure like to help have the meet where he is moving to in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  Well, that really got me interested – and now it’s going to happen!

Cody is going to be assisting me with this promotion and will be my “inside man” on location in Cocoa Beach securing a venue location and banquet location.  I will do all the admistrative stuff – collect entry forms, getting tshirts made, awards, etc.

The lifts have been selected and approved by the Executive Board.  The lifts are:

Curl – Cheat
Snatch – 1 Arm
Pullover and Press
Deadlift – 1 Arm
Zercher Lift

It will be a one day event this year.  The banquet will follow the Championships on Saturday.  The National Meeting will be planned for Friday night.  Cocoa Beach is just a short drive from Orlando (1 hour), and if you aren’t driving would be the best airport to fly into. Details on venue location and banquet location will be released at a later time.

This meet would be the ideal excuse to plan a summer vacation to Florida this summer.  I’m working on trying to get past IAWA President, Steve Gardner, to attend to be our guest announcer.  Steve is the MASTER WITH THE MIC and if this can happen will be a special treat for our organization.  So take today, put Nationals on your lifting calendar, so you can enjoy a great day of lifting and spending some time in the sun on Cocoa Beach!

USAWA Nationals Entry Form (PDF) –  2018 National Championships Entry Form

National Meet Trivia

By Al Myers

I have just finished updating the history archives with the new “history” from our recent National Championships.  I don’t know if anyone really ever looks at this history archive except me, but it’s something I think is important to our organization – to preserve the history of the USAWA.  The late Dale Friesz was always a big help to me with this as he was a history buff, as I often referred to him as the unofficial historian of the USAWA.  I promised myself that I would keep our history archive going (even though at times it is time consuming) just because I know Dale would have wanted it that way.

So today I’m going to do a little history test, based on information from our history archives. Please take the test yourself and see how you do (without looking up the answers of course!!!) If you score over 75% that means you are a Dale qualified historian or just long in the tooth.  Scoring over 50% should be everyone’s goal, as that means you know a thing or two about the USAWA.  If you are under 25% you should spend some time studying our history archive!!!  Now let the trivia test begin!!!! (Answers will be the topic of tomorrow’s story)

1.  What is the year of the first National Championships?

2.  Name one lift that has been contested in 10 or more National Championships?

3.  Only a handful of USAWA meet promoters have promoted 3 or more Championships, Name one.

4.  Name 5 states that have hosted Nationals.

5.  The 25th anniversary of the Nationals was held where?

6.  Name 3 men lifters who have won Overall Best Lifter at Nationals.

7.  Name 3 women lifters who have won Overall Best Lifter at Nationals.

8.  What month is the most common month Nationals has been held?

9.  Out of our close to 200 official lifts in the USAWA, how many have been contested at prior Nationals.  Multiple choice here. A. Under 25, B. 26-75, C. 76-125, D. Over 126

10. TRUE/FALSE  The USAWA National Championships has always been a two day meet.

My Nationals Weekend

By Al Myers

This is my monster Northern Pike I caught in Canada the week before the meet!

This is my monster Northern Pike I caught in Canada the week before the meet!

This is not intended to be a meet report, but rather “my take” on the Nationals Weekend. First of all, it was a busy week for me as I was on a fly-in fishing trip for trophy Northern Pike way up North in Canada before I even got to Cleveland.  I was worried that I was gonna wear myself out before the meet with all the big fish I caught up there.  Plus, the all you can eat delicious home-style meals served at night (along with the big breakfasts and shore lunches) that I was never going to make weight at the meet.  Well, reeling in those big Pike must have loosened up my shoulders a bit instead, and working hard all day on the lake must have burned more calories than I predicted as I did make my weight class at the meet and was able to do a token clean and push press with my bum shoulders to get a mark in it.

Upon arriving Friday evening from a flight from Saskatoon to Cleveland (luckily it was on schedule) I was greeted at the airport by 3 young Dino Gym lifters who were making their first National Meet appearance. These guys made the 15 hour drive to lift with only 2 stops (oh to be young with a large bladder).  I was greeted with a sign at the airport that said, “Welcome back from rehab, Big Al”. Thus the fun begins.

We all stayed at a lodge in Vermilion that my buddy John McKean had arranged.  John and his family were staying there, and it was right on Lake Erie.  Truly a beautiful place. I had made plans to fish with John after the meet, and believe it or not, John had promised me that he would show me his secret fishing spot. More on that later.

The boys relaxing at the lodge before the meet.

The boys relaxing at the lodge before the meet.

I can’t say enough about the work meet promoters Bob Geib and Scott Schmidt did for this meet.  They ran into problems two weeks before the meet with the venue location in Vermilion being cancelled on them.  Luckily they were able to secure a meet venue at the West Park YMCA in Cleveland at the last minute. And I’m glad they found this spot.  This YMCA was the location of many All Round meets in the past, including past Nationals, put on by Howard Prechtel.  To say it contained USAWA history puts it mildly.  I was honored to be able to lift there.

The weekend of lifting went super smooth.  Everything was on schedule and everyone seemed to have a super time.  Alot of the USAWA veterans were on hand with a fine mix of newcomers to Nationals.  Several registered clubs were represented – Dino Gym, Habeckers Gym, Schmidt Barbell Club, Ambridge Barbell Club, and Frank’s Barbell Club.  One thing that impresses me with our organization is how everyone “jumps in” and helps.  We had a great group of seasoned officials (Frank Ciavattone, Dennis Mitchell, Denny Habecker, Scott Schmidt, LaVerne Myers, and Randy Smith) who officiated both days.  These guys are the “best of the best” amongst USAWA officials which is what we want for our Nationals.  John McKean and myself did the announcing duties, and Judy did the scorekeeping.  Plus what a great group of loaders we had.  Young Aidan Habecker loaded all weekend as well as lifting and what a great job he did!!!  He took charge of the loads and seemed to know exactly what plates needed put on.  Also, got to mention Franklin and Ryan for all the hard work they did, as well as others.  Not a single misload all weekend!

The only injury we had (unfortunately there seems to always be one at Nationals) was newcomer Tim Moore from Cleveland. Tim is a power house and a great guy and I sure hope to see him again in a USAWA meet. He tore his bicep on the second day doing the One Arm Clean and Jerk.  I’ve since heard from Scott that he has had surgery to repair it and is now on the mend.  If it wasn’t for this injury he would have been in contention for a top spot overall.

I was SO GLAD to see Chris Waterman in the meet. I lifted with Chris over 10 years ago in the USAWA at Nationals.  Chris lifted exceptionally (placing 3rd Overall) and looks in fantastic shape. Obviously he hasn’t laid off the weights in his sabbatical from USAWA competition.  The women’s division had two very veteran lifters – Susan Sees and Kathy Schmidt.  In the end Susan pulled out the Overall Best Womens Lifter (her third, other two were 2015 and 2012).  It was great to see the perennial Nationals competitior Randy Smith there.  I always enjoy lifting with Randy (as well as having a few drinks afterwards with him!).  We had a great time catching up on things.  Randy never seems to change – he looks and lifts the same today as he did 15 years ago when we first met.

Art continues to amaze us with his lifting.  Art, along with Dennis Mitchell, both compete in the 85-89 age group. These two guys really impress me how they have been so consistent with their lifting year after year and never missing the National Championships.  Dennis has competed in more USAWA Nationals than anyone in history, a mark I don’t see being broke. That will be a topic for another story in the future.

My dad LaVerne rounded out the Dino Gym Team at Nationals.  After the first lift, the 1 hand VB lift, in which he had the top mark of the meet, he earned the nickname from “the boys” as Pa Vice Grips.

Hanging out with Scott at his home gym!

Hanging out with Scott at his home gym!

After the lifting on Saturday Scott Schmidt invited me over to his house and to see his home gym.  When me and “the boys” got there Kathy had a table full of delicious snacks to welcome us. Thank you Kathy!!!!  Scott then showed us his home gym, which is an unbelievable home training facility. I spent 30 minutes just looking at his gym decor.  I really like to see home gyms as they are very unique and often reflect the personality of the owner.  All Round home gyms are much different than any commercial gym, and Scott’s is one of the best I’ve seen.

The Dino Gym Team - Brandon Rein, Cody Lokken, Cale Dunlap, Al Myers, and LaVerne Myers

The Dino Gym Team – Brandon Rein, Cody Lokken, Cale Dunlap, Al Myers, and LaVerne Myers

I was very excited to see the new Dino Gym guys lift (Cale, Cody, and Brandon).  A funny remark John made at the meet announcing, after he was having a hard time keeping them recognized, was that they seem to “be from the same litter.”  That drew laughter from the crowd.   These young lifters have just started to lift at the Dino Gym and all show great promise.  I felt the pressure of being their coach, and just wanted them to lift well and enjoy the experience.  Friday night before the meet back at the lodge I was visiting with John and told him I better go visit with these young lifters and give them a talk to “settle their pre-meet nerves”.  Put it this way – when I got to the beach where they were hanging out they seemed pretty relaxed drinking bourbon and smoking cigars so the talk wasn’t needed.  Then I started to worry that they were following my example too much!

Bob and Scott planned an exceptional banquet following the meet. It was at a place called the West Park Station.  We got there really early, which was nice, as we were able to enjoy the live band and a few Yuenglings on tap outside on a back patio.  I spent a hour telling “the boys” Chad stories. He’s now a legend in their minds. The banquet food was outstanding and it was a buffet (the only way to go after a meet!). The Awards Ceremony was the highlight of the evening.  The meet awards were outstanding. Plus we gave out the USAWA Yearly Awards at that time.  They let us use the microphone that broadcasted over the entire restaurant – so everyone there heard what was going on!  I noticed people not even associated with our group clapping and cheering.  I was joined in the presentation with Scott and Bob, Frank, and an impromptu surprise speech by Brandon.  A very special moment for me that evening was Frank presenting me the Howard Prechtel Plaque.  Every year, in Howard’s memory we present an annual traveling plaque to someone who the previous years recipient feels is worthy of it for their contributions to the USAWA for the prior year. Frank was last years selection. I’ll be honored next year when I can pass this tribute plaque along to someone else.

Fishing with John McKean!

Fishing with John McKean!

The next day, as promised, John took me, my dad LaVerne, and “the boys” to his secret fishing spot.  I wish he would have told me to wear raingear.  John is a master fisherman and ties his own jigs.   These things look like the real thing and the fish can’t resist them! It wasn’t long before we had caught several fish, including a really nice catfish caught by Brandon. I was picking John’s brain on the art of jigging, and luckily John is one who likes to talk so I was getting some of his secrets out of him. It was a great time but the wind kept picking up till all of us were soaking wet, from head to toe.  As John put it, “it was battle conditions!”

The boys eyes were open wide when the feast was served!

The boys eyes were open wide when the feast was served!

The next day we made the long drive home, all in one day but with more stops than two. We made a sightseeing stop in Indianapolis at the Indy Speedway ( “the boys” are big Nascar fans) and at my favorite BBQ place in Columbia, Missouri for supper. I ordered up a large feast fit for Kings, and then as the last bit of coaching I did for the weekend, made the boys eat it all.  Great times!!!!!

National Championships

By Scott Schmidt



This information is from Scott A. Schmidt. Al Myers asked me to provide a description of how our 2017 USAWA National Championship Competiton occured.

One Word? FANTASTIC!  I was able to help Bob Geib who asked for this event last year. As always, we had to get a lot of things accomplished to make sure we could have a GREAT EVENT!  When Bob had his first location in Vermilion cancel the event, I helped Bob re-locate our Meet to The West Park YMCA in Cleveland, Ohio. Thank God, every thing got in Beautiful Motion! We had all the equipment we needed at the YMCA to provide a very organized, smooth Meet. Also, we had a Great Location for our Awards Ceremony which was the West Park Station Resturant. They gave us a lot of room and great food. Very fun also to use their michrophone system to give everyone their awards. We got some Cool T-Shirts to detail our National Meet. And our Award Plaque is very Pro looking also.

We had a lot of details to do to accomplish this Wonderful Event. And all the folks who gave us their opinion gave us a Wonderful Congratulation! I am very pleased everything went well.

Al Myers will add the details of the results of all of our lifters to show names, weight class, lifting event, records, totals and place in class. I am sure you will be happy to see all the Great Accomplishments!


2017 USAWA National Championships
West Park YMCA
Cleveland, Ohio
June 24th & 25th, 2017

Meet Director: Bob Geib

Assistant Meet Director: Scott Schmidt

Announcers: Al Myers & John McKean

Scorekeepers: Al Myers & Judy Habecker

Officials (3-official system used): Scott Schmidt, Randy Smith, Denny Habecker, Frank Ciavattone, LaVerne Myers, Dennis Mitchell

Loaders: Aidan Habecker, Franklin, and Ryan

Lifts: DAY 1 Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1Bar 2″ One Hand, Clean and Push Press, Bentover Row, Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells DAY 2 Clean and Jerk – One Arm, Pullover and Push, Jefferson Lift


Susan Sees 54 242 30L 30 45 70 0 0 50 225 208.7
Kathy Schmidt 59 187 0 20 35 45 7.5R 17.5 45 170 189.3


Kathy Schmidt  Clean and Push Press 27.5K
Kathy Schmidt Bentover Row 40K
Kathy Schmidt Dumbbell DL 55K
Kathy Schmidt Jefferson Lift 50K


Al Myers 50 230 70R 70 150 200 50R  140 200 880 808.9
Randy Smith 62 194 80R 75 95 150 41R 95 152.5 689 769.9
Chris Waterman 63 145 60L 50 67.5 120 25R 80 130 533 719.9
Cody Lokken 22 169 72.5R 90 95 160 45R 100 155 718 707.6
Denny Habecker 74 194 47.5R 55 90 125 27.5R 92.5 120 558 684.2
John McKean 71 154 55R 10 70 120 10R 40 120 425 587.4
Roger LaPointe 46 161 52.5R 65 80 120 37.5R 45 135 535 582.3
Scott Schmidt 64 232 65R 65 100 125 27.5R 75 105 563 579.6
LaVerne Myers 73 240 80R 35 75 120 20L 55 120 505 548.2
Brandon Rein 22 153 50R 57.5 60 120 37.5R 55 130 510 536.5
Jackson LaPointe 10 66 20R 12.5 22.5 50 10R 12.5 55 183 536.4
Cale Dunlap 22 161 57.5R 55 60 120 35R 60 125 513 521.3
Aidan Habecker 13 140 58R 30 35 90 22.5R 0 101 337 469.5
Art Montini 89 165 30R 20 35 70 10R 42.5 75 283 424.1
Dennis Mitchell 85 144 30L 10 35 70 7.5L  25 70 248 395.6
Tim Moore 37 291 72.5R 105 155 170 0 0 0 503 370.1
Peeter Pirn 53 200 72.5R 52.5 95 105 0 0 0 325 330.9
Bob Geib 74 256 45L 25 45 70 0 0 60 245 258.2
Frank Ciavattone 62 310 50L 0 0 0 0 0 0 50 43.9


Jackson Lapointe  VB DL 2″R 25K
Aidan Habecker VB DL 2″ R 60K
John McKean VB DL 2″ R 60K
Jackson LaPointe Clean and Push Press 14K
John McKean Bentover Row 75K
Cody Lokken Bentover Row 101K
Roger LaPointe Bentover Row 101K

Notes: BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  All lifts recorded in kilograms. R and L designate right and left arms. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are overall adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight corrections.  All lifters weighed in on DAY 2 in the same class as DAY 1.

Womens Master – Susan Sees
Womens Overall – Susan Sees
Mens Senior – Cody Lokken
Mens Master 45-49 – Roger LaPointe
Mens Master 50-54 – Al Myers
Mens Master 60-64 – Randy Smith
Mens Master 70-74 – Denny Habecker
Mens Master 85- 89 – Art Montini
Mens Master Overall – Al Myers
Mens Overall – Al Myers
Club Runner Up – Schmidt Barbell Club (2287.6 pts)
(Scott Schmidt, Kathy Schmidt, Bob Geib, Susan Sees, Chris Waterman, Peeter Pirn)
Club Overall – Dino Gym (3122.5 pts)
(Al Myers, LaVerne Myers, Cody Lokken, Brandon Rein, Cale Dunlap)

National Championships

By Al Myers



The plans have been made!  The Nationals has been sanctioned and scheduled for June 24th and 25th at Vermillion, Ohio.   Bob Geib will be the meet director for this event, which is the highlight competition each year for the USAWA.  The lifts have been chosen:

DAY 1 – June 24th

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand
Clean and Push Press
Bent Over Row
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells

DAY 2 – June 25th

Clean and Jerk – One Arm
Pullover and Push
Jefferson Lift (Straddle Deadlift)

This is a great selection of lifts for our National Championships.  As per the rules of the USAWA, all lifts chosen for the Nationals must be approved by the USAWA Executive Board.  The EB looks for these things in approving the lifts – a good variety of different movements, lifts that can be performed by the vast majority of lifters, lifts that are easily loadable and officiated, and lifts that represent the USAWA in a good manner.   I like to see a combination of Olympic Lift, Power style lifts, a grip lift, and something that utilizes a specialized lifting skill.  This selection definitely represents those things!

An important date to remember is the closing date for entries.  This date is May 26th, 2017.  This means that your entry form and ENTRY FEE must be sent in by that time.

Nationals information sheet (PDF) – InfoSheetNationals2017

Nationals Entry Form (PDF) – EntryformNationals2017

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