ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom (center) receiving the 2012 USAWA Athlete of the Year Award from USAWA President Denny Habecker (left). USAWA Award Director Al Myers (right) also was involved in the presentation.

The TOP AWARD given out every year by the USAWA is the Athlete of the Year.  This award is “for the individual who has accomplished the most athletically within the last year in the USAWA.  Top placings at the Nationals and World Championships should figure in high. Also, participation in other Championship competitions such as the Heavy Lift Championships, the Grip Championships, the Club Championships, the OTSM Championships, the Team Championships, or the National Postal Championships could factor in.  Participation in elite IAWA events such as the Gold Cup or the IAWA World Postal Meet should make an influence on earning this award as well.”

The two winners this year were pretty much a “no brainer”.  These two lifters exemplified the above criteria to a tee.  They both are more than deserving of this prestigious award, which I consider the “Heisman” of the USAWA.  The winners are:

WINNER – CHAD ULLOM

RUNNER UP – DAN WAGMAN

They were chosen by a nomination/vote of the USAWA membership.  Chad and Dan together received over 90% of the votes cast, so I would consider them “landslide winners”.  Chad was SUPER ACTIVE in the USAWA this past year, winning or placing very high in so many meets that it would make a long list.  He added numerous titles to his USAWA resume.  He is “on pace” to be a future USAWA Hall of Famer.  I will try to remember as many as I can here:

2012 Dino Challenge Overall Winner
2012 IAWA Gold Cup  in Glasgow, Scotland  – World Record
2012 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships – Overall Winner
2012 IAWA World Championships – World Class Champion and 2nd Overall
2012 USAWA Team Championships – part of Overall Winning Team
2012 IAWA World Postal Championships – part of Overall 2-man Winning Team
2012 USAWA National Championships in Las Vegas – National Class Champion and 2nd Overall
2012 USAWA Club Championships – part of Overall Winning Club
2012 USAWA Grip Championships – Class Champion and 3rd Overall
2012 USAWA Postal Championships – Overall Winner
2012 USAWA Postal Series – Overall Winner

I didn’t even mention the numerous other smaller USAWA events that Chad participated in!   Chad’s  yearly success in the USAWA for 2012 could be argued as  one of the BEST years any lifter has ever had in the USAWA.  Runner Up Dan Wagman is just as worthy – as he took the OVERALL WORLD CHAMPION  TITLE at the 2012 IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas.   That’s the biggest title any lifter in the USAWA/IAWA can win during the course of a year. Chad received his award at the USAWA National Championships, and I plan to present Dan his award later this summer when I will see him next.   Congratulations to both of these tremendous lifters.

Athlete of the Year

by Chad Ullom

Al Myers (left) and Larry Traub (middle) - Athletes of the Year.

The final yearly recognition award that was given this year was our Athlete of the Year. This is the “MVP” of the USAWA.  Ironically, the winner and runner-up for the Athlete of the Year were both present and finished in the same order the next day! I wonder if that’s ever happened?!

Athlete of Year-Al Myers
Runner up-Larry Traub

Larry, a relative newcomer to the USAWA, has shown he will be a force to be reckoned with! At this point, Larry is still learning most of the lifts. With just a couple of pointers this year, he added 20 lbs onto his 1 arm clean and jerk! He’s nearly impossible to beat now with his pulling, pressing and squatting power. Give him some time to get more comfortable with more lifts and look out! Larry is the defending national champion and placed 2nd this year. He repeated his victory at the Monster garage meet. Hopefully we’ll see Larry in October for his first world championships. I’m sure we will open some eyes!

The winner of the athlete of the year is Al Myers. I can’t imagine that we had a more active lifter than Al in 2011. He competed in 12 Usawa/Iawa meets, not including record days!  Not only that, there were several others that he sat out to help, or that number would have been much higher. Here’s a quick rundown of 2011 of Al’s overall placings:

Dino Strength challenge-1st place
Grip Championship-1st
Club Challenge-1st place team Dino
Deanna-2nd
Goddard postal (iawa)-1st place team, best overall lifter
Eastern Postal-1st
Heavy lift nationals-2nd
Team Nationals-1st place team Dino
Gold cup(iawa)-world record DL with daughter Emily
Strongman championships-1st
Delaware open-1st
Iawa World Championships, Australia -2nd overall.

That is quite a list! Most of us could go a few years and not be able to put that type of resume together! Al is a humble guy, you won’t see him point out his accomplishments. If I’m not mistaken, he currently sits 3rd all time on the USAWA record list and with that type of activity, it won’t be long before he’s on top. He is an increbible lifter and has been a great teammate, mentor, coach, travel buddy and hetero life partner to me:). Congratulations Al!

Chad Ullom: Athlete of the Year

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom was awarded the 2010 USAWA Athlete of the Year at the awards banquet. (left to right): Chad Ullom, Al Myers, & Thom Van Vleck

After our banquet following the National Meet, we had the Awards Ceremony.  Included in this ceremony was the presentation of the Special Awards that were given on behalf of the USAWA to individuals that have shown excellence within the USAWA during this past year.  The recipients of these Special Awards were chosen and voted on by the USAWA membership.   I feel that makes receiving one of these awards all that more special, because you know that your peers in the organization were the ones who chose you.   The “highest award” that the USAWA recognizes is the Athlete of the Year, which is our version of a MVP award.  This year it went to a very deserving lifter – Chad Ullom.   Chad has had an outstanding year of competitions within the USAWA.   He placed second overall at last years National Championship, and then went on to win OVERALL BEST LIFTER at the IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland last fall.  All together, Chad competed in 14 USAWA events during the year 2010.  (YES – that’s 14 events and not a typo!).   There are not very many lifters that compete in that many events over a 5 year period – but Chad did it all in ONE YEAR!  I want to give you a quick run-down of his successes in 2010, and after I do this NO ONE would question why he is our ATHLETE OF THE YEAR.  He started the year off by winning the Dino Gym Challenge  which was the first USAWA event of the year (so he also has the distinction of winning the first meet of the year as well).  After competing in the Grip Challenge and the Dino Gym Record Day, he joined the Dino Gym Team at the Club Challenge in Ambridge and helped out the team to victory.  After this, he competed in a couple of postals (Goddard Postal & Eastern Open) and then onto his second place overall finish at the 2010 National Championships.  After that, he competed in the Ledaig Record Day before competing in Team Nationals, where he was part of the winning overall team.  After his crowning win at the World Championships, he competed in the World Postal Meet as a team member of the Dino Gym (which won the overall team title).  He finished the year off by competing in the JWC Record Breakers (where he set 18 USAWA Records) and then off to the Gold Cup in Boston, and finishing with competing in the National Postal Meet.   Now that’s a resume!! 

Congratulations Chad – you have had a year of successful competitions that would be hard for anyone to follow!