BREWER, Maine — Although some of the heavyweights elected not to compete this year, Saturday’s sixth annual Maine Games State Powerlifting Championships event at the Brewer Auditorium still drew a good crowd and a full slate of competitors.
The event, which also serves as a qualifier for the 2011 State Games of America in San Diego, features competition in multiple age classes for three events as well as overall titles.
“I think I probably put more into promoting and advertising this thing this year than I ever have before,” said Maine Games executive director Jeff Scully, who is also director for the powerlifting event. “We thought we might suffer a bit with the recession, but we’re only about two less than last year with 55 people signed up.”
Bangor’s Travis Adams, who originally intended to compete and try to break his own Maine Games deadlift record of 722 pounds, elected to sit Saturday’s competition out, as did several other more highly competitive lifters due to competing in other championships shortly before or shortly after the Maine Games event.
That left the door open for others — young and old alike — to make their mark, and a few first-timers did just that.
Nicholas Stuer, a senior at Hebron Academy competing in his first-ever lifting event, hefted a personal-best 529 pounds in the deadlift Saturday afternoon to have the second-best effort in that competition on the day.
Another event rookie, 54-year-old Michael Socoby of Indian Island, exceeded his expectation and shattered his own best effort in deadlift by almost 50 pounds as he lifted 501 in his last attempt of the day. Socoby, whose previous-best in deadlift was 455, has been lifting 18 years, but never competitively.
Longtime lifter Jack Kaplan of Embden had a great weekend overall as he came away with personal-bests in all three lifts, finishing with a flourish by lifting 551.15 pounds — the most of the day overall — in the deadlift on the final lift of the day Saturday.
The event drew lifters from all age groups, Maine locales, sexes, and even families. Kaplan competed with his daughter Randi, a senior at Carrabec High School in North Anson.
Although Randi is both a state and national champion in her age class, Saturday’s championships were her last for the foreseeable future as she will be attending the University of Maine at Presque Isle in the fall to study nursing. Her lifts weren’t up to her usual standards as she’s still recovering from a slipped disc injury she suffered during her varsity basketball season.