Powerlifters hope to break records at meet

Danny Dolnik, Staff Writer

The powerlifting team will head to Tampa on Saturday and Sunday to compete in the RAW Record Breakers Meet at the Jackson Springs Recreation Center. Under Coach Spero Tshontikidis, this will be the team’s second major RAW tournament, the first being the 2012 Tony Conyers Extravaganza held Nov. 10. The tournament will be hosted by Tshontikidis who is the president of RAW United, a Christian based federation moving into its sixth year of existence. The tournament is also in its first year with a purpose of bringing in all the best powerlifters from around the world, and will become an annual tournament in the following years. Powerlifting is a year-round sport and, at the beginning of the year, the team started training with 10 girls and has now grown to 17 girls and two managers.

Tshontikidis expressed his confidence in some of the key lifters heading into the meet.

“You got Moriah Douglas (senior), Faryn Antenucci (sophomore), Megan L. (seventh-grader) and Dulcy Olson (freshman) who is nursing an injury, but if she is even 50 to 75 percent, she could break all the records,” Tshontikidis said. “We have some new kids that are really looking good: Chloe D. (seventh-grader) and Allie H. (seventh-grader). Those girls are going to score and place really high. We are one of nine teams in the tournament and there are 142 lifters registered to compete from all over the world so it will be a really great event for the girls.”

Tshontikidis has plenty of experience in major powerlifting competitions having coached multiple teams for almost 30 years.

“I’ve coached the Naval Academy, military teams, high school teams and college teams. I’ve been doing it forever; it’s like second nature,” Tshontikidis said.

Tshontikidis and others in RAW United will be hosting the large tournament. He has connections with the president of the recreation center in Tampa and they have been running tournaments since 2007.

“Tampa is kind of like our home base,” Tshontikidis said. “We will be running our first meet here in May which is the Florida state championships since I’m working here now.”

The girls have finished training and preparing, and they have recently been testing to make sure everybody is on track. They’ll weigh in before the event, and some  will lift Saturday and some will lift Sunday.

“There are four high school teams and five adult teams, but our girls are entered in the adult section,” Tshontikidis said. “The girls will hold their own for sure, and I don’t really want them in the high-school section. The girls know what they need to do, and the older girls like seniors Douglas, Katelyn Kilpatrick, Diana Sheedy, Ashanti Hernandez and Shaye Wilson will take care of the younger girls, especially the new kids like Brittany B. (seventh-grader), Brianna B. (seventh-grader), Amelia Langford (freshman), Jessica M. (eighth-grader), Brettany M. (seventh-grader) and Desantis. Moriah and Faryn and Shaye and Dulcy and Megan and Allie are all lifting at record levels. So as long as they lift to their potential, they’ll do real well. ”

Competitors will be coming from around the United States and the rest of the world.

“There is a national champion coming from Australia, and we have people coming from several Central and South American countries. There is also a lot of states represented,” Tshontikidis said. “There will be men and women there who will set what are called all-time records in the sport. For example, there is a 192-pound guy who will be attempting to do a 662 pound squat. I got another coming that is looking at over 800 pounds in the dead lift. We have several lifters that will get in the 700-800 range in the squat, and there is a guy coming from California that is looking at an over 800 pound bench which would be an all-time bench record. We actually have a lady coming that’s a master lifter in her 60s, and she is looking to break all four all-time records.”

The team as well as Tshontikidis are certainly confident in their chance of bringing home first place and making a name for themselves in the sport.

“If the girls do as well I am confident they can do, this will be kind of a break out tournament for them,” he said. “They’ll become much better known in the powerlifting community because the meet is getting a lot of publicity. So if, no… I should say when the girls take home first place it will look really good, and my guess is the girls are going to break 30 to 40 records at this meet. They trained all through the Winter Break so they’re ready.”

The meet is being filmed by XTreme Power TV, and a live stream can be viewed at www.XPTVNation.com. Lifting starts both days at 9 a.m., and the afternoon sessions are scheduled for 3 p.m.