Lifting our Hearts for Heroes / WV State Championship – “Recap”
On Saturday May 18, 2013 the little old town of Mannington WV played host to an event you may have heard me mention a time or fifty: the NAS WV State Championships/Lifting Our Hearts for Heroes 2013.
Normally I save all the “thank you’s” til the end, but there was a surprising amount of adversity (even at the last minute) coming into this show, and I want to recognize some folks that made the event possible.
Big thanks to Jim Basnett for all his work on this event. Most of you don’t know this, but Jim was meeting with members from the park board the morning of the show to smooth over some confusion regarding use of the venue. Thanks buddy.
That brings me to Christina Dunnigan of the park board. Christina met and spoke with Jim about the situation, and was very supportive of our event and she made sure that all parties involved got a fair shake. If it wasn’t for Christina, we may not have a had a show at all.
More thanks to come, but let’s get into the action now!
In the Ladies’ flight, it was the Meg and Tina show, and what a show it was. Meg started strong taking the win in the farmers walk, and we had some real drama in the pressing event as Tina looked good to eclipse Meg’s score on the axle, only to run out of gas on what would have been the winning rep. In the deadlift, both ladies posted incredible numbers, but it was Ms. Ayers that took top honors with 23 reps with the 230lb load. That is not typo.
In the grip medley Tina struggled mightily against the Axle Lift, while Meg managed to finish the entire course in impressive fashion. In the big finale it was Tina Griffith that closed the show with perhaps the most memorable lift of the day when she went to war with the 155lb atlas stone. After what seemed like an eternity of struggling, Tina racked the giant rock on her shoulder with a performance so gritty and powerful it seemed to cause the clouds to burst. More on that later
2nd Tina Griffith
1st Meg Ayers
The Light Weight men’s group could not have been more closely contested. Rob Wolfe started strong in the Farmers Walk and the conditions proved to be too difficult for anyone to surpass his time. High temperatures, high humidity, and soft ground made this 150ft carry even more difficult that usual. Steve Malutich looked like he was giving the veteran strongman a run for his money, but a drop just before the finish cost him valuable seconds.
The Overhead Medley proved to be a brutal event as only Rob Wolfe finished it, and Dan Caraway found himself passed out in the grass after a titanic struggle with the giant log. Big Dan reversed his fortunes in the Deadlift however, where he dethroned Tyler Cosner as the “Lightweight King of the Deadlift” with an amazing 22reps at 420lbs. Every competitor scored well into the double digits here, so expect an even heavier deadlift next time gentlemen!
The Grip Gauntlet saw Steve Malutich rip a path of destruction through each implement including smashing a twisted 60 penny nail in about 2sec. In any other field this would have gotten the win, but it was Mr. Cosner who finished the course the fastest. Going into the last event it was still anyone’s ball game, but unfortunately the weather decided that the last event was not to be. After tallying the scores for the first four events, it was Rob Wolfe on top of the mountain.
4th Dan Caraway
3rd Tyler Cosner (by virtue of a second place finish)
2nd Steve Malutich
1st Rob Wolfe
In the big boys’ division, 3 of the 4 competitors stepped on the scales at over 300lbs. These are some seriously large athletes folks. AJ led the pack in the farmers and set the tone for the division on his way to winning three out of four events. Rev. Matt Holbert thought that 80 or 85 feet would be good enough for second in the event, but John Mouser had other plans. Battling a nagging knee injury, John moved slowly and steadily relying on his grip and back strength to get him beyond Matt and Justin’s marks.
To the shock of many, the giant log shut down both Holbert and Mouser in the Overhead Medley. The humidity likely had the log weighing an extra 10-15lbs, and it just proved too much for the pair. Big Justin Marlow claimed second in the event with a performance that included him manhandling the monster dumbbell like it was filled with helium instead of sand. It was AJ Freda though that took first here, but even the mighty Lewis County native failed to finish the entire course. This was an incredibly difficult challenge. The Train Wheel Deadlift may have been even tougher though, as a fatigued and hungry AJ posted 5 reps and walked away, trying to conserve energy and hoping it was enough. Matt Holbert saw his opportunity here, and went in for the kill, knocking off 6 reps. Unfortunately for Matt and all the Matt-a-maniacs out there, the good Reverend dropped his 6th lift and had to repeat it in probably the most shocking turn of events in the contest. Matt gutted out another good lift for the win, but paid the price when his hand ripped open during the struggle.
The Grip Gauntlet allowed John Mouser to shine as he steam rolled each leg of the medley and made short work of the straight 60 penny nail at the end. The Rolling Thunder proved too much for Matt and Justin, but AJ made it all the way through and did it fast enough to secure his 3rd win and 1st place in the weight class.
4th Justin Marlow
3rd John Mouser
2nd Rev. Matt Holbert
1st AJ Freda
As the ladies finished their Stone Shouldering, a few sprinkles of rain began to drop. Just as the men were beginning their turn however, those sprinkles turned into an all out monsoon and the event was called to a finish. I know a lot of people (myself included) were looking forward to the Stone Shouldering event, but there was just no way we could have proceeded during that kind of down pour, and a rain delay was out of the question. Don’t worry folks, we’ll get to the stones next time!
Big thanks to all the competitors for coming out and for sticking around to help with the clean up in the middle of that torrential rain. I believe every single competitor pitched in and it is most appreciated. Also a huge thank you to Bobby, Abby, Doug, James, Josh, and Eric for volunteering for the show. They worked their butts off before, during, and after the show to make this thing happen!
Thanks so much to Dione Wessels for all of her help and advice. Here’s a little story about Dione: Friday night after dinner I asked her if she wanted to sleep in and come out to the venue with my wife at 9:30 or 10 since I was going out around 7:30am and she had endured a long day. Dione replied “I’m here to help you, I’ll go out as early as you want”. Make sure to shout her out on all your Twitter and FB pages!
Finally, thanks to Ralph, Ronnie, and Jim Rigsby for their support. Ralph Suter is the man behind Gone But Not Forgotten Heroes, Ronnie worked the concession stand for us after working it all night for the Relay for Life the night before, and Mr. Rigsby made our shirts and trophies! Let’s also not forget Jim’s daughter who sang the National Anthem for us. Thank you all!
Time to take strongman off my mind for a day or two, and then it’s right back into the fray as we start on the road to the State Fair and West Virginia’s Strongest Mountaineer!
New Level I Competitions & Level II competitions, read more 2013 “New” NAS Levels and Sanctioning