COURAGE AWARD WINNERS

by Al Myers

Art Montini (right) receiving the Runner Up Courage from President Denny Habecker (left) at the 2013 USAWA National Championships.

The Courage Award, presented on behalf of the USAWA, goes to an individual who “shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition.  This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA.”

The Courage Award Winners for this year go to:

WINNER – DALE FRIESZ

RUNNER UP – ART MONTINI

Several months ago the USAWA lost one of the TRUE SUPPORTERS of the USAWA, with the death of Dale Friesz.  Dale was actively involved in the USAWA for practically the entire time since the organization began.  He was at almost EVERY National Championships, and it was obvious that his passion for all round weightlifting was beyond that of the normal USAWA member.   I miss our weekly email correspondence – Dale always had ideas on how to better our organization.

We all know Dale has been the perennial winner of the Courage Award since the program started.  His persistence to continue competition despite  battling physical hardships and barriers were like nothing I’ve ever seen before, of which I’ve covered in details in previous stories.   Last year at Nationals in Vegas Dale truly gave the grittiest effort on the platform I’ve witnessed.  However, I was somewhat surprised to see Dale gather the most votes for this years Courage Award, considering he is no longer with us on the platform. This goes to show the respect Dale had from his lifting friends and those members of the USAWA to receive an award like this posthumously.  I’ve said this before, but it would seem fitting that the Courage Award in the future take on the name “Dale Friesz Courage Award” as Dale has set “the bar” for deserving it.

Runner Up goes to Art Montini – Dale’s ole friend and competitor.  Art continues to amaze everyone with his active meet participation at the age of 85! At Nationals Art visited with me about plans to attend the IAWA Worlds in England this fall.  His enthusiasm for all round competition is more than most guys a QUARTER of his age!

25 Year Performance Award

by Al Myers

Award winners for the 25 Year Performance Award - Al Myers (left) & Art Montini (middle). Denny Habecker (right) presented this award during the USAWA Awards Ceremony.

It was a great honor to “share the stage” with Art Montini in receiving the 25 Year Performance Award.  This award went to the 2  lifters who have won the most Overall Best Lifter Awards at the National Championships over the 25 year history of the USAWA.  Art and I have 4 apiece.  My years – 2010, 2009, 2008, & 2006.  Art’s years were – 1995, 1993, 1992, & 1991.

I have a long ways to go to “fill Art’s shoes”.   Art’s last Overall Best Lifter Award in 1995 occurred when he was 67 years of age!  His first was when he was 63.  I have to do some checking to verify this fact, but I’m pretty sure that that he is the oldest lifter to ever win this prestigious title.  It is simply amazing everything Art has accomplished in the USAWA over the last 25 years, and when you realize that all of this lifting success happened after the age of 60 it even makes it more unbelievable!

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!

Courage Award

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow being awarded the Runnerup Courage Award at the USAWA Nationals (center). He was presented the award by Al Myers (left) and Denny Habecker (right). Missing from this picture is the USAWA Courage Award winner Dale Friesz.

The USAWA Courage Award goes to a lifter who “shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition.  This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA”.  That is the way it is defined in the awards program information letter.  It might as well just say ” be like DALE FRIESZ” instead.   Dale takes courage to the extreme, and continues to lift weights when most (make that ALL) would have quit if they were in his situation.   I wasn’t “for sure” if Dale would be able to make it to this years Nationals, but he didn’t let me or the USAWA down on this.  Not only did he make the flight to Vegas, but he lifted in the meet and showed tremendous effort in all the days events.  He is a true warrior – and very, very deserving of this award.  It is only appropriate that he has now won it THREE YEARS IN A ROW!! That’s simply amazing, and is the only person to have won the same award every year since the award program has been in place.  The Courage Award winners were:

WINNER – DALE FRIESZ

RUNNERUP – DAVE GLASGOW

Dave Glasgow was a very fitting runner up to Dale.  Dave has had some physical difficulties as well this year (surgery on his arm), but most wouldn’t know about it.  Dave’s not one to make an issue of something like that.  It would have been easy for him to “take some time off” to milk his injury, but it didn’t seem to slow him down at all!  As soon as possible he was back on the lifting platform!! 

CONGRATS to Dale and Dave for winning this year’s COURAGE AWARD!