On December 12th and 13th, 46 men, women and children of all ages gathered at Kennedy's Gym, located in the Clocktower Plaza in Morgantown, to compete in the gym's annual Christmas powerlifting and weightlifting competition.
For the past four years Kennedy's has hosted the meet, which continually grows in the number of participates and spectators.
"I competed myself for many years and thought why not have one here?" gym owner Pat Kennedy said, "It used to be just high school kids but the popularity grew so much that we made it open to everyone."
The grass roots meet, as Kennedy prefers to call it, featured five high schools (Govenor Mifflin, Twin Valley, Schuylkill Valley, Boyertown and McCasky who had an all girls and all boys team), two seven years olds (Vaughn Edwards and Bryce McDonnell), and various other athletes from all over the area.
The weightlifting portion of the competition (the snatch and clean and jerk), which was held on Saturday, featured eight participants. The sanctioned meet, whose results get reported to the USAW (United States of America Weightlifting), ended in a tie for best lifts. Both Andy Zunino and John Marcinko, who competed in the 94 kilogram weight class, lifting a combined 165 Kilos.
On Sunday, the powerlifting (squat, bench and deadlift) competition was held. Despite the day's poor weather conditions 60 people packed the gym to watch the 42 competitors showoff the results of their hard work. For the women, fifteen year old, Kylie Morris, who was in the 123 lbs weight class, stole the show with three impressive lifts that totaled 670 lbs. In the men's open, 27 year old Scott Thomas took the gold with three big lifts totaling 1525 lbs including a 550 lb. squat, 490 lb. bench and a 485 lb. deadlift. Thomas competed in the 220 weight class.
Kennedy, who has gym volunteers help organize and run the event, relished the chance to help people and spread weightlifting joy.
"I love do to these meets for a bunch of reasons," Kennedy stated, "it opens peoples eyes to weightlifting and it gets kids excited and involved. Plus, it promotes the sport and the gym."
Kennedy is considering having another meet in the middle of 2004 just for high school kids, so that she can more closely focus on building their skills and help them acheive their goals.
"Since our gym is a satelite for the USAW center in Colorado Springs, we have the oportunity to send our participates to national competiton if they are invited." Kennedy said." No other gym around here can say that, and that makes us here feel good."
Next December, Kennedy's Gym will again be rearrangd in preparation for their Christmas meet. Which, if history predicts accurately, will be bigger and better than the previous.