Year in Review

by Al Myers

Cover page for the 2013 USAWA Year in Review.

I’ve announced this in the USAWA Discussion Forum, but would like to as well in a blog so everyone is aware of the 2013 Year in Review.  I’ve compiled the entire year of 2013 in the USAWA (from all website stories) into a document for print.  I’m planning on taking it to the printers next week.  If anyone is interested in one of these “hard copies” please let me know so I can get a proper count for printing.  I only plan to do this once.  The price will be the cost of printing (I would guess around 50 dollars).  The book is over 400 pages long and contains all the website information from the past year – stories, meet results, etc.

If anyone would prefer just a digital copy of this – let me know and I’ll email it to you “free of charge”.


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:



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!

My tribute to Dale “THE MIRACLE MAN” Friesz

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz made the trip to Las Vegas for the 2012 USAWA National Championships last summer. This was Dale's 20th National Meet that he has competed in. Pictured left to right: Art Montini, Al Myers, Dale Friesz

The USAWA will greatly miss Dale Friesz.   Dale’s passion for All Round Weightlifting and his love for the USAWA was “way beyond” that of  most lifters.  He was in a ”class of his own” in terms of dedication.  Several lifters “come and go” in the USAWA through the years, but Dale kept steady with his never-ending involvement.  I want to take today’s story to share my tribute to Dale with everyone.  I know lots of the newer USAWA members are not aware of the things Dale has accomplished in the USAWA.   Dale stated in his USAWA Hall of Fame biography that he got started in lifting by the encouragement of his brother Leonard.  Leonard had a stellar lifting career, and at one time was competing in Olympic Weightlifting in the Missouri Valley Region.  I remember seeing Leonard’s  name in numerous  past meet results.  Dale was influenced into becoming involved in the USAWA by two legendary USAWA lifters, John Vernacchio and Bill Clark.  This was also stated in his HOF bio.  I want to mention this footnote as well – when I was working on the project to get all USAWA Hall of Famers to have a biography on this website I set out questionnaires to each member which I based writing their bios on.  Dale was one of “the few” who wanted to write his bio himself, which he did.  He told me in an email he wanted it to be written right! (which I took as him not trusting me to get all the important facts and details in it!!!!) .  

Dale receiving the award for winning the FIRST EVER Presidential Cup in 2012. Dale is on the left, with the USAWA President Denny Habecker on the right doing the presentation.

Dales first competition in the USAWA was on November 11th, 1989, in a meet in Valley Forge, PA hosted by John Vernacchio.  Dale’s first year of USAWA membership began the very first year the USAWA began collecting dues – 1988.  Since that time Dale has had a CONTINUOUS membership in the USAWA (26 years!!!).  Dale always joined before the membership year began, and often he was the FIRST MEMBERSHIP for the year I would receive.  That’s a testament to his strong connection and support to the USAWA.  Dale is one of only four USAWA members that has maintained continuous membership in the USAWA (Bill Clark, Joe Garcia, and Art Montini are the others) since the organization formed.  This makes him one of the CHARTER MEMBERS of the USAWA.  At this past year’s Nationals, a very special award was given to Dale.  It was called the “25 Year Participation Award”, given to the lifters that have participated in the most USAWA National Championships in the 25 year history of the USAWA.  Dale had competed in 20 out of the 25 Nationals!!!  That’s an amazing track record!!  The other winners were Denny Habecker, Art Montini, and Dennis Mitchell.  Dale only missed the 1988, 1989, 2000, 2006, & the 2011 Nationals.  I was glad to see him involved in our 25th Nationals in Las Vegas last June.  I met him at the airport and I could tell that the flight had taken a toll on him, but he seemed very excited to be there and able to take part in this very important USAWA meet.  No matter how Dale felt physically, he always seem upbeat and glad to be taking part in the competition.

Dale performing one of his favorite lifts, the Neck Lift, at the 2009 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in Lebanon, PA. This was the day that I got Dale to reveal his "neck lifting secrets" to me. He was the master of technique in the Neck Lift!!

Dale competed in several meets in Clarks Gym through the years.  His favorite was the Zercher Classic, which he competed in for the first time in 1991.  Dale had a good meet that day – placing one placing higher than Bill Clark!  The next year Dale returned to the Zercher and moved up a few places to fourth place out of 10 lifters (behind Steve Schmidt, John Carter, and Joe Garcia).  It was a tough field and had to be one of Dale’s best meets of his USAWA career. He raised his total by 735 pounds from the previous year. Then in 1994 he placed THIRD in the Zercher (his highest Zercher placing).    I know Dale was a big fan of this meet as he has provided me a complete historical review of all past Zercher Meets.  That’s one of the many reasons why I have often referred to Dale as the HISTORIAN of the USAWA even though it was a unofficial title.  He keep a record of this type of information and was always there for me when I had “questions”.  Much of the information on this website under the “history section” was researched and documented by Dale. Another one of his favorite “Clark Meets” was the Hermann Goerner Deadlift Dozen.  Dale has the distinction of WINNING the first ever Goerner Deadlift in 1995.  He beat such notable lifters that day as Rex Monahan, Joe Garcia, Al Springs and others.  I say it was one of Dale’s BEST EVER USAWA days – in addition to winning overall best lifter, he set his memorable 605 pound Neck Lift in a record setting session afterwards.  He was 55 years old and weighed 183 pounds that day. 

Recently I had received an email from Dale in which he commented how 2012 was, and I’ll quote him, “I consider this to be a decent year for me – as I broke 7 or so finger lift records (all previously set by someone with2 normal legs!), winning the Presidential Cup, and being named lifter of the month for August.  This made my efforts/pain worthwhile“.   He was looking forward to the year 2013.  Dale NEVER seemed to get discouraged, and always was thinking about his next competition.  I was so glad to see him win the Inaugural Presidential Cup last August.  His winning performance included a 154 pound Ring Fingers Deadlift with a prosthetic leg!  Later in the year I included this performance of his as one of the TOP TEN performances in the USAWA for the year 2012.  Dale sent me an email after that announcement thanking me, but he EARNED IT!

Dale performing the Pullover and Push in the 2010 USAWA Championships. This was the last meet Dale competed in before his leg amputation.

Dale has dealt with more physical obstacles than anyone I have ever known, and yet continued to train and compete.  The list is enormous and so long I have lost count.  But included is hip replacement, aortic reconstruction, back surgery with laminectomy, shoulder replacement, heart surgery several times, three heart attacks, numerous leg surgeries, and then the leg amputation.  I’m sure I’m missing many other health-related issues here.  It was common for Dale to compete in a big meet shortly after a major operation.  I remember once just a few weeks after open-heart surgery he was on the platform competing.  After his hip replacement, he was in a meet 3 months later.  This quote came from the Strength Journal from Dale before his hip replacement.  Dale said, “I always wanted to be like Tommy Kono and John Grimek and on February 12th, 2001, I’ll get me wish.  I’ll get a new hip.”  Dale always had a dry sense of humor when it came to things!  When he was staying at my place for the 2009 USAWA Nationals he “instructed me” on his medications so in case something went wrong I would be aware of what medicines he was on.  This was a list no shorter than 17 different pills!!!!  Dale’s mindset was like no other, and is the main reason he was awarded the Courage Award by the USAWA EVERY YEAR since the USAWA Awards Program  began in 2010. Before this, he was awarded the Ciavattone  Courage Award in 2004 by Frank Ciavattone, who gave out the award yearly to honor someone who showed great courage in remembrance of Frank’s dad.   I once  jokingly commented to Dale  that he’s won the Courage Award so many times it should be named after him when he’s gone!  Now…… I’m serious about that.

In 2009, the USAWA Nationals were held at the Dino Gym in Abilene, KS. Dale stayed at my house during that time and I will forever remember the stories that were told by Dale. This picture is from the meet of him performing a Cheat Curl.

Dale was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame in 2002.  His induction happened at the 2002 Nationals, held in Ambridge, PA.  I would like to share this story about Dale and his entering into the HOF by Bill Clark, someone who Dale had great respect and admiration for. “ When Dale Friesz showed up to lift at the USAWA Nationals in June in Ambridge, PA., USAWA President Howard Prechtel was prepared.  Dale needed to medal at the Nationals to be eligible for the Hall of Fame and Howard figured correctly that Dale would do that.  So much to Dale’s surprise, he was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame on the spot with the plaque already engraved in his name.  That Dale was even lifting in Ambridge was Hall of Fame material in itself.  In February, he spent 15 days in the hospital (six days in intensive care) and lost 21 pounds in 21 days from an already slender frame.  In a few weeks, he seemed on the road to recovery from what had been diagnosed as advanced vascular disease.  But, in May, along came what Dale called “Scary Story No. 2″ , viral heart infection, bronchial shutdown, pneumonia, liquid retention around the heart – back to the hospital for nine days.  And a matter of six weeks later, he was back on the platform earning his spot in the Hall of Fame.  I can assure you – no one was happier to be in Ambridge than Dale Friesz.”  – by Bill Clark in the Strength Journal Vol. XIII No. 3

Dale "in action" performing another one of his favorite lifts - the finger lift!

In 2006 at the USAWA National Meeting, the USAWA passed a rule requiring that all officials pass a Open Book Rules Test to be certified as an USAWA official.  Dale was the FIRST ONE to take and pass this exam.  He was one of the few LEVEL TWO officials in the USAWA.  He had a keen sense of the Rule Book, and kept up on it as things evolved.  Often he would “question” things in the Rulebook, and due to this, several discrepancies were found and corrected. Dale was never an officer in the USAWA, but his presence as a member exerted as much influence as any officer.  In my opinion, he was one of the TOP TEN most influential people ever involved in the USAWA.  He often served on committees, and provided valuable input.  His input on the HOF committee was instrumental in developing new guidelines for entry.  He also served on the Rulebook Review committee and was very helpful to me in the big Rulebook revision of 2009. In 2011 at my encouraging Dale registered his club with the USAWA.   He named it M&D Triceratops, and he was the only member.  Often at meets he would be wearing a ball cap or tshirt sporting his clubs logo.  I could tell this was something Dale was proud of, and it showed his commitment to the USAWA.

Dale’s favorite all round lifts were the finger lifts, the finger deadlifts, the Neck Lift, and the one arm deadlift.  I just did a USAWA record count of the number of current USAWA records Dale holds, and his count is at 160.  He holds records in 64 different USAWA lifts!  Dale was one of the original members of the CENTURY CLUB, a designation I gave to lifters who currently hold over 100 USAWA records.  The records he was most proud of were; 215# Ring Fingers Deadlift done at the 2001 Gold Cup, 354# Right Arm Deadlift done at the 1992 Gold Cup, and his 605# Neck Lift done at the 1995 Goerner. 

Dale’s National and World Meet Accomplishments:

2012 Nationals Best Lifter Mens Master 70-74
2010 Nationals 9th Place Overall
2008 Nationals 8th Place Overall
2005 Worlds Best Lifter Mens Master 65-69
1999 Nationals 6th Place Overall
1997 Nationals 7th Place Overall
1996 Nationals 10th Place Overall
1996 Nationals Best Lifter Mens Master 55-59
1995 Nationals 4th Place Overall
1992 Nationals 8th Place Overall

*plus numerous class/bodyweight National & World Championship awards*

Dale would often sign off his emails with these words, “Don’t let the USAWA die!!” That’s a promise that I will not let him down on. I owe Dale alot- he really helped me understand the historical importance of the USAWA and the philosophy of the organization. I will never forget Dale and his love for the USAWA and all round weightlifting. Often when I’m having a “rough day” in the gym, I think of Dale and the hardships he overcame with his lifting and it motivates me to keep positive and work harder. Afterall, my physical problems are NOTHING compared to what he endured when training!! I gave Dale the nickname “MIRACLE MAN” in several past blog stories. I know he appreciated that (he told me so) as it was given as a sign of respect to him in his ability to overcome serious physical  barriers miraculously.

Dale – YOU WILL BE MISSED! But I promise everyone this – I will keep Dale’s memory alive in the USAWA for as long as I’m involved.

Remembering Dale

by Al Myers

Today I would like to share several of the tributes to him from friends and lifters.  These comments have been taken from several sources – emails, facebook comments, forum comments, etc.  It is obvious that Dale had many friends in the All Round community, and that he was very well respected.  First, I would like to say a few things about Dale.  I’ve always considered him the Historian of the USAWA, even though it was an unofficial title. Whenever I had a question on something that had happened in the past in the USAWA  and I didn’t know the answer – I would ask him and he would know.  Often his answer included more information than I requested.  He had a “complete set” of old Bill Clark Strength Journals and kept everything well-organized as an historical archive. I will greatly miss Dale’s help!  I also could count on Dale to give me his “honest opinion” on USAWA matters.   In his weekly emails, he would always have some comment on USAWA matters on how he would like to see things done.  I greatly respected him for that, and took his issues “to heart” as he presented them in a reasonable, logical manner.  I have NEVER meant someone who had such a passion and love for the All Rounds as Dale.  Most would have given up lifting facing the physical barriers that Dale faced – but he kept positive and maintained his involvement in the sport to the best of his ability.  I will forever remember this about him. 

After meeting Dale years ago during an All Around Weightlifting competition, it was obvious to me this man had his focus on success.  Not only was I impressed by his determination, but his positive attitude was remarkable as well. As our USAWA events continued, Dale displayed his commitment to competition not only for his own results, but also attended them to remain a great motivator in the background for other fellow athletes. Dale’s strong spirit enabled him to overcome countless critical health circumstances. I’m certain his strength training background allowed him to activate positive improvements to his condition. In spite of all the suffering Dale had to put up with, ultimately his faith in positivity kept him going. Dale’s record setting attitude has to be a USAWA textbook example of how determination leads to success. Rest in Peace, Dale. May our Dear Lord comfort and bless your family.  – Scott Schmidt

My sympathies go out to Dale’s friends and family. – Lance Foster

Condolances. Rest in Peace, DaleEric Todd

I would just like to say that Dale was Crazy…but he is my kind of crazy! What I mean by that is I’ve been lifting since 1977 and competing since 1979 and I have no plans on quitting….ever! I will lift up until the day God calls me home and I hope there’s a lifting platform there or in my book that won’t be heaven! Dale was a guy that never quit. Even when he was on his last leg…literally…the guy DID not quit. I know some folks would think that was crazy, but I think it took courage. I recall Michael J. Fox, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s doing an interview. After he listed all his projects the reporter said, “shouldn’t someone like you be resting more” and he got mad and looked at her and said, “RESTING FOR WHAT…” He then went on to talk about how he knew he had limited time and he had things to do…well, Dale had things to do. Most guys would have rotted away in some retirement village…Dale had things to do and I respect that. The next time I am too tired, too sore, too something to workout I will think of the great length Dale went to lift and I’ll shut up and train a little harder. I remember reading a saying that went like this, “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy &hit, what a ride!” That was Dale and some day (hopefully in about another 30 or so years) it will be me! I am a Christian, I believe in heaven, and I see Dale young, strong, and working on his Clean and Jerk. One of my favorite lines for “Gladiator” is, “I will see you again…but not yet, not yet”.Thom Van Vleck

My condolences go out to friends and family of Dale. - Troy Goetsch

Dale will be missed. I remember the first few years I lifted in the USAWA, Dale and I were in the same age group and weight class and we had some great battles. He was always there to give you advice and encourgement. He was a great competitor and a realy great and couragous man. - Denny Habecker

Dale was a great competitor. I was fortunate to lift with Dale at Art’s Birthday Bash 2011 and recent Presidential Cup 2012. Dale was a fine example of never quit or give up.Barry Bryan

I was very sad to learn of the passing of Dale Friesz. Dale was known to several UK lifters who had met him at competitions in the US. Dale was a very nice man, and he performed some very good lifts over the years. He was one of the stalwart members of the USAWA and he will be sadly missed. Dale had suffered terrible ill health over recent years, but it did not stop his enthusiasm to lift. Even after losing a leg, he still battled his way on to the platform to strut his stuff.Steve Gardner

Never really got to know Dale that well on my travels to America, but a sad loss none the less. We have sadly lost a few of the old school lifters now. RIP Dale.Steve Angell

Oh how sad! Dale he was a nice guy! RIP Dale. – Cara Collins

Sorry to hear, another great lifter passes on. Big John Vernachio will have a bit of competition up there now. - Billy Bourne

Dale was one of the most dedicated lifters I’ve ever known.  I mean, I have seen the guy compete when he would have to hook up an IV between events to his pic line!  Dale dealt with many health issues the past few years, but he never let it get in the way of his lifting and competing.  I’m sure he gave his Dr’s fits! Dale was great to have at meets, especially during the meetings as he was not afraid to speak his mind and made sure to keep us on track and remind us the purpose of the USAWA!  Dale will be missedChad Ullom

Sad news of Dale. No doubt he touched and inspired many. From all here at All-Round Weightlifting Western Australia please accept our condolences on the passing of Dale. Although most of us have never met Dale, we have read and heard of his lifting career and battles.
“Passed friends and memories are but a thought away, Remember them often”.
- Robin Lukosius and Members of All-Round Weightlifting Western Australia

I’ll always remember the many meets that Dale and I competed in together. He was always there to do his best and to help and encourage the other lifters. He was the most determined lifter I can think of. He never complained about his problems. He will be greatly missed. - Dennis Mitchell

Dale’s Funeral Arrangements

by Al Myers

This information was sent to me today  by Dale’s daughter Pam.  It includes the details of Dale’s visitation and Funeral.

Dear family and friends,
Thank you for your many kind words and thoughts for all of us. Here are the details for Dad’s visitation and funeral. The obituary will appear in the Washington Post and also in the memory book on  Thank you,
Penny, Pam, Mark, and Karen

Thursday, March 21
Money and King Funeral Home
171 W. Maple Avenue
Vienna, VA 22180
Visitation: 2:00 – 4:00 PM and 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Friday, March 22
St. Mary’s Historic Catholic Church
Ox Road and Fairfax Station Road
Fairfax Station, VA 22039
Funeral Mass: 11:00 AM
Burial immediately following – St. Mary’s Church cemetary
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors or
St. Katharine Drexel Mission Building Fund
14535 John Marshall Hwy, #210
Gainesville, VA 20155

Dale Friesz Passes

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz, July 30th, 1940 - March 18th, 2013. This picture was taken at the 2010 USAWA National Championships in Lebanon, PA.

Today I have some sad news to report.  Yesterday I received word that long time USAWA member Dale Friesz has died.  This is tragic news for the USAWA, as Dale has been a “foundation member” of the USAWA and has been such a tremendous supporter of the USAWA thru the years.  I am saddened by this news, as hardly a week goes by that Dale and I don’t correspond at least once via email.  Everyone knows about the health issues that Dale has been dealing with for years, yet he always rebounded and made it back to the lifting platform.  He has been an inspiration to everyone who has met him.

I will let everyone know when I get more details of the funeral arrangements.  In the meantime I would like to  ask everyone to share tributes about Dale that I can share in the USAWA Daily News.  These tributes can be emailed to me ( or placed on the USAWA or IAWA Facebook pages.

Take a moment today and read Dale’s USAWA Hall of Fame Biography – .

Top Performances of 2012

by Al Myers

Today I was thinking about all of the GREAT lifting performances done in the USAWA throughout this past year.  I have been fortunate to have witnessed many of these performances firsthand.  I’ve given it a little thought and I have came up with the LIST of PERFORMANCES that I have watched during this past year, and compiled my TOP TEN.  This list is completely of my opinion, and does not represent any official view of the USAWA.  It also only includes lifts that I have seen myself – as there are many other great lifts done in the USAWA that I did not have the privilege of viewing and thus are not on this list.  I have also  ranked them – but this was extremely difficult as they are all worthy of top recognition.  I might have well just “flipped a coin” to determine the order – but here it goes!!! I’ll even do the countdown from number 10.

10.  Doug and Jera Kressly’s Team Deadlift of 650 pounds.

Doug and Jera Kressly performing a Team Deadlift at the 2012 USAWA Team Championships.

At this year’s USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS, Doug and Jera entered the first Mixed Pair (male & female) team in the Championships history.  And to add to the drama of this – the two of them are married!  I was extremely impressed when we got to the last event, the deadlift, and they pulled 650 pounds. I was really worried Doug was going to let Jera down and not pull his weight on the lift!   

9.  Denny Habecker and his Clean and Jerk at the Gold Cup.

Denny Habecker at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland.

I’ve already told the story about Denny and his performance at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Scotland, despite being sick with the intestinal flu.  I was impressed that he would even attempt to lift feeling like that.  However, I DID NOT sit in the front row when he was lifting as I didn’t want to be in the path of any possible eruption! 

8.  Joe Garcia’s 1400# Hand and Thigh Lift at the Deanna Meet.

Joe Garcia and his signature lift, the Hand and Thigh Lift, at the 2012 Deanna Springs Meet.

Garcia and the Hand and Thigh Lift are becoming synonymous.  You think of one and you have to think of the other.  I keep thinking one of these days Joe G will lose his touch with the H&T which will  give me the edge – but it doesn’t look like it will ever happen! I knew my chances of winning the Deanna  meet was over at this point.

7.  Dale Friesz and his 154# Ring Fingers Deadlift at the Presidential Cup.

Dale Friesz won the 2012 USAWA Presidential Cup with this lift.

Last year Dale “the Miracle Man” Friesz performed a 122# Ring Fingers Deadlift and I raved and raved about it.  Now he’s UPPED his record to 154 pounds – that’s over a 30 pound increase!  This was the lift that WON Dale the prestigious PRESIDENTIAL CUP this year.  I beginning to think there must be bionics in that prosthetic leg of his.

6.  Larry Traub’s 529# Jefferson Lift at the National Championships.

Larry Traub (left) receiving his award at the 2012 USAWA National Championships in Las Vegas, NV.

Everyone knows Larry is an “out of this World” deadlifter, but at the 2012 USAWA National Championships in Las Vegas he also showed he is quite good at the Jefferson Lift as well.  Larry is 58 and only weighs 200 pounds, which makes his lift all the more impressive.  It would take over a 630# Jefferson Lift for an Senior Age group lifter (at the same BWT) to beat Larry in this lift with the age correction.  We make lifters weigh to verify their bodyweights, but we don’t make lifters show their ID’s to verify their ages.  Larry looks like he’s only 30.  Maybe it’s time for him to be “carded” at the next meet?


Lifter of the Month: Dale Friesz

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz (center) at the 2012 USAWA Nationals in Las Vegas. He is surrounded by Dennis Mitchell (left) and the meet venue owner John Broz (right).

The choice for the lifter of the month of August was a pretty simple one – DALE FRIESZ.   In the month of August he won the prestigious Presidential Cup, the premier of the USAWA Record Days.  Dale has been involved with the USAWA from the very early days, and at the USAWA Nationals was “one of four” awarded the special award of Top Participation Award of past USAWA Nationals.  I consider Dale one of the “founding members” of the USAWA.  He has a passion for All-Round Weightlifting and the USAWA that very few others have. Despite having endured MANY physical hardships that would have put other lifters “on the sideline”, he continues to make a presence at meets, and in turn gives inspiration to any lifter that is facing a physical obstacle themselves.  Because no matter how bad you may think your issue is – it is NOTHING compared to what Dale has been faced with, and yet he continues to work out and compete.  That puts things in perspective.  In fact, I have NEVER met anyone like Dale who has such a underlying passion for weightlifting.   He is a true champion and very deserving of winning this month’s LIFTER OF THE MONTH.

Presidential Cup

By Al Myers

Winner of the FIRST EVER Presidential Cup Dale Friesz (left). The USAWA President Denny Habacker presented the award (right).

The FIRST EVER Presidential Cup hosted by USAWA President Denny Habecker was a huge success this past weekend in Lebanon,PA.  Six experienced and veteran lifters took part – Denny Habecker, Barry Bryan, Art Montini, John McKean, Dale Friesz, and myself.  As per the rules of the Presidents Cup, our Prez had to pick which  lifter had the record lift which “was worthy” of winning the cup. I’m glad this wasn’t my decision to make – as there were several championship worthy lifts put up over the course of the day.

Denny ended up choosing Dale THE MIRACLE MAN Friesz as the winner of the inaugural Presidential Cup with his efforts in the Ring Fingers Deadlift. Dale put up a 154 pound record in this lift.  I was simply amazed at Dale’s lifting.  Dale then followed up this lift with several other finger lift records, as it appears that these type of painful finger lifts are becoming his specialty.  When asked how he can handle this many record lifts on the sensitive fingers, he replied, “just train them everyday and your fingers get used to it.”  That hardcore attitude is one of the reasons he won this years Presidential Cup!

Participants in the 2012 Presidential Cup (left to right): Art Montini, Al Myers, Dale Friesz, Denny Habecker, Barry Bryan, & John McKean.

I really enjoyed catching up with John THE BIG FISH McKean.  John has a wealth of information on the history of the USAWA, and I always learn new things from him in our conversations.  Art THE MAN OF STEEL Montini made the trip with him, and put up a couple of nice records himself.  The plans for Art’s birthday bash are obviously underway as both John and Art were sporting the meet tshirts for this years meet in October on Art’s 85th!  I have never seen lifters wearing shirts for a meet that hasn’t happened yet!

It was also great to see Barry THE BOMB Bryan in action again on the platform.   When Barry lifts, the weights just explode!   I know most of the younger lifters don’t know Barry – but just look back in the past history of the USAWA and you soon will!  Barry was the overall best lifter in the 1990 USAWA National Championships and 4th overall at the 1991 USAWA Nationals.   He also placed 4th overall at the 1990 IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland and 5th overall at the 1991 IAWA World Championships in Collegeville, PA. Those type of titles are not just handed out to anyone! Barry is one of the true champions of our organization.

In closing, I want to sincerely thank Denny and Judy for hosting this weekend of fun. This meet is now our premier record day within the USAWA, and again, congrats to Dale for being crowned the LIFTER OF THE DAY by winning the first-ever  Presidential Cup.


2012 Presidential Cup
Habecker’s Gym
Lebanon, PA
August 25th, 2012

Meet Director:  Denny Habecker

Officials (three used on each lift): Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Art Montini, Barry Bryan, John McKean, Dale Friesz

Dale Friesz – 72 years old, 160# BWT

Deadlift – Ring Fingers: 154#
Deadlift – Index Fingers: 115#
Finger Lift – Right Ring: 112#
Finger Lift -Right Middle: 129#

Denny Habecker – 69 years old, 193# BWT

Clean and Jerk – Behind Neck: 145#
Clean and Press – 12″ Base: 141#
Clean and Press – Heels Together: 141#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 231#
Snatch – Fulton Bar: 88#
Deadlift – No Thumbs: 286#

Barry Bryan – 54 years old, 193# BWT

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 132#
Clean and Press: 176#

Art Montini – 84 years old, 173# BWT

Arthur Lift: 66#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Hand: 132#

John McKean – 66 years old, 163# BWT

Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells: 324#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 162#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 162#
Hack Lift: 256#

Al Myers – 46 years old, 247# BWT

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 176#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 154#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 475#

25 Year Participation Award

by Al Myers

Winners of the 25 Year Participation Award: Denny Habecker (left), Art Montini (middle), and Dennis Mitchell (right). Missing from this picture is Dale Friesz.

As part of our yearly USAWA Awards Ceremony, this year it included several “special awards”.  These were awards that were presented by the USAWA for accomplishments over the entire 25 history of the USAWA.  That’s quite a hard award to win – it is the result of years and years of effort and contributions!  The lifters that won these awards are the TRUE LEADERS of the USAWA, and it is only the right thing to do to thank them by recognizing them with these special awards.  The first 25 YEAR AWARD given out was the participation award.  This award went to 4 individuals – Dennis Mitchell, Denny Habecker, Art Montini, and Dale Friesz.  These guys have competed in over 80% of the USAWA Nationals in the 25 year history of the USAWA.  Dennis leads the pack with an amazing 24 of 25 (only missing the first year in 1988).   Denny has been in 23 of 25 (only missing the first two years, 1988 & 1989).  Art is third in this race with competing in 21 of 25 (missing 1997, 2004, 2006, & 2011).  Dale rounds out this field of “superstars” with a record of 20 of 25 (missing only 1988, 1989, 2000, 2006, & 2011).  I would have to say that these lifters have had “amazing runs” of National Championship entries and will be a “tough act” to follow for future USAWA lifters.   Congrats!!!!

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:



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!

Dale is Again Back

by Dale Friesz

Dale Friesz in action at Art's Birthday Bash performing a 122 pound Ring Fingers Deadlift for a new USAWA Record.

After some 15 months away from the platform, I was finally able to try my hand at Art’s Birthday Meet, October 16th, 2011.  This is the longest period I have gone without training or competitive lifting in the last 31 years.  What I find amusing is I lifted at Art’s with very limited training in the 5 weeks preceding the meet.  I was able to do three singles per workout 2-3 times per week on the two hand finger lifts.  The reason for the finger lifts was that they have been a consistant part of my training since 2005.  During the 15 months after losing my leg I was unable to stand as the stump would not heal and I have 2 injured shoulders thus no bench work.

Since 2000, I have normally had one or more fairly major medical issues each year.  These include joint replacements (hip and shoulder), aorta reconstruction, triple heart by pass, three heart attacks, stent implants in the bypass, two congestive heart failures, implanting of a defibrillator/pace maker, two gastric bleeds, several episodes of MRSA, right leg vein reconstruction and compression surgery, eight vein transplants to establish blood flow in my left leg, the loss of two toes, and then finally the loss of my left leg.  After the loss of the left leg there have been some seven additional surgeries on the left stump so that it would heal.  It is now about 95%.  I have no word on when I will be fitted with a permanent prosthesis.

I am extremely fortunate to have the Doctor I do.  He understands my compulsion to lift weights.  He has also said that the weights are the reason I am still breathing.  Without my wife, my care giver, I would not have made it. 

Al Myers has asked how do you train when you have all this down time?  Prior to the last 15 months I always returned to the all-round basics plus the finger lifts using 3 to 4 sets of one rep on each exercise.  As limited as I now am I am trying to figure out balance on next years national lifts and hope for a prosthesis with ankle flexibility.  I still do the finger lifts!!

Dale Friesz: Courage Award Winner

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz receiving the USAWA Courage Award last year. Now Dale will have another Courage Award to add to his collection! (left to right): Al Myers, Dale Friesz

For the second time in two years, Dale Friesz won the Courage Award on behalf of the USAWA.   Dale was the unanimous selection among the membership votes, so it goes to show the respect Dale has amongst the membership of the USAWA.  In fact, if Dale wins this award again next year, it should be renamed the Friesz Courage Award!  Dale really wanted to compete this year at Nationals but due to a training injury a couple weeks prior to the meet was not able to make it.  I know this was a big disappointment for him. I know how tenacious Dale is about competing when he’s not 100%, as I have watched him compete when he probably shouldn’t have been!   This has been a tough year for Dale physically, but he has corresponded with me about his training and how he is still trying to do what he can.  Dale’s attitude  epitomizes the courage it takes to overcome obstactles and continue to lift despite whatever challenges he is faced with.  Without a doubt, most other lifters would have called it quits – but NOT DALE!   I was really glad to see Dale receive this award again because he DESERVES IT.  I just hope that I would have HALF the courage Dale has if I was faced with the same physical training barriers he has been faced with.   Congratulations Dale on behalf of the USAWA, and we all hope to see you again soon on the platform!

Longterm USAWA Members

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz has been an active member of the USAWA since the first year of membership in 1988. Dale has had more reasons than anyone to have let his membership lapse, yet he maintained his yearly membership to support the USAWA. Lifters like Dale are the foundation of our organization.

Last week’s Quiz of the Week was a very important one for one simple reason – it gave recognition to those USAWA Members who have been yearly members since the first year of the USAWA.  These 5 USAWA member have showed extreme loyalty to the USAWA by being members all these years.  It is easy to miss a year of membership -  such as a lack of competing due to illness or injury.  I know this could have been  the case for a couple of these lifters, yet they STILL maintained their yearly membership despite the physical hardship. Most lifters don’t do that – they rejoin when they are able to compete again.   These lifters should receive an award for their loyalty to the USAWA (hmmm…. who’s the USAWA Award Director? I may have to talk to him about this.  Especially since NEXT year is the 25th anniversary of the USAWA).  Just for those who missed the quiz, I want to list these USAWA VIP members again:

Bill Clark

Casey Clark

Joe Garcia

Art Montini

Dale Friesz

Now I want to mention a few others that have been longterm members of the USAWA, but maybe now are retired or just joined a little later.  The initial class of members in 1988 included such notable lifters as Bill Clark, Bill DiCioccio Sr., Joe Garcia, Cindy Garcia, John McKean, Noi Phumchaona, Howard Prechtel, John Vernacchio, Casey Clark, Dale Friesz, Jack Lano, Art Montini, Tom Ryan, Bob Burtzloff, Phil Anderson, Steve Schmidt, John Wilmot, Harrison Skeete, Attilio Alacchi, Paul Knauer, Joe McCoy, Dave Hahn, Clay Oliver, Ron Sisk, Gonzalo Gonzlsez, and Ed Zercher.  There were several more than this that joined that year. However, all together, the USAWA membership was still short of 100 members that first year.

USAWA Hall of Famer Frank Ciavattone joined a year later in 1989.  He has been a member every year since.  USAWA Executive Board member Dennis Mitchell also joined in 1989 and hasn’t missed a year of membership.  A couple of long-term members joined in 1990 and haven’t missed any years of membership since joining – our President Denny Habecker and Hall of Famer Jim Malloy.  A few lifters, like John McKean and Steve Schmidt, only missed a few years of continuous membership due to lifting retirement only to reappear as active lifters. All these lifters  deserve special recognition for their many years of support to the USAWA.  The only USAWA club that has maintained club membership since 1988 has been Clark’s Gym.

USAWA Award Winners for 2009

by Al Myers

Courage Award Winners Frank Ciavattone (left) and Dale Friesz (right).

One of the exciting things that has been developed in the USAWA this past year is the development of the USAWA Awards Program.  Included in the new USAWA bylaws is the creation of an Award Director for the USAWA, which is important to insure that the Awards Program will continue in the future. I was nominated for this position and upon receiving the membership’s blessing by an unanimous vote, I was appointed the Awards Director.  I feel giving “special awards” on behalf of the USAWA is VERY IMPORTANT and I will do my best to make sure this continues as long as I am in this position.  When someone shows that they are “going beyond what is expected” in the organization – it is only right that the USAWA gives them the credit they deserve.  I also want to make sure that these “special awards”  will continue to be selected by the membership, instead of by me or the Executive Board.  This makes them mean even more to the deserving award recipients – knowing that they were selected for these honorable awards by their peers.  These awards will be given out at the Annual National Meeting, which is always in conjunction with the National Championships. The 2009 Award winners are as follows:

Athlete of the Year Award Winners Chad Ullom (left) and Al Myers (right).

Athlete of the Year – Al Myers

Athlete of the Year Runner Up – Chad Ullom

Leadership Award – Bill Clark

Leadership Award Runner Up – Al Myers

Sportsmanship Award – Denny Habecker

Sportsmanship Award Runner Up – Art Montini

Courage Award – Dale Friesz

Courage Award Runner Up – Frank Ciavattone

Newcomer Award – David Glasgow

Newcomer Award Runner Up – Kohl Hess

Club of the Year – Dino Gym

Club of the Year Runner Up – Ambridge VFW BBC

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2009 SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS!! The USAWA is very proud of you and your accomplishments.

Dale and Dalton

by Thom Van Vleck

Dale Friesz deadlifting 220 pounds with the Trap Bar at the 2010 USAWA National Championships.

Dale Friesz getting the courage award made me think of my grandfather and patriarch of the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  I think Dale and Dalton would have gotten along just fine.

First, let me say that I have a lot of respect for Dale and I hope that as I get older that I don’t give up on my training.  Dale commented one time that his training is what kept him going and I believe that.  Dalton Jackson was that way, too.

With all the champions to come out of the JWC, from state to national to world champs, people new to the club are often shocked that my grandfather never won anything.  He never competed in a single lifting meet.  But let me explain.  He grew up in the depression and quickly found himself the father to a pack of kids that needed taken care of and he worked long, hard hours to do this.  If he hurt himself, the family was in trouble, so he never maxed out or competed.  It was BECAUSE he sacrificed that later the rest of us could enjoy success.  To the members of the JWC, this made him the greatest champion of them all.

When I was a boy I recall him working at the local shoe factory (a brick hell hole that reeked of chemicals and had no air in the summers….I knew guys who worked there one day and quit….but my grandfather worked there 38 years) full time.  He would work 10 hours a day and half a day on Saturday, or 55 hours a week when they were busy.  He then worked as a janitor of an evening (I often went with him to this job and hung out as he told me stories while he worked) AND he drove a mail truck on Saturday nights.  I often rode with him as he would pick up mail and we would end up around midnight at the airport in Jefferson City.  This meant he’d get home about about 2:00am and he’d still get up and go to Church the next day.  I also recall him sleeping Sunday afternoons!

During these grueling hours, my grandfather would work out.  He worked out all the time.  He would go to the garage gym and get in some lifting, but he also took every chance to get in a few jumping jacks, or push ups, or a bar would be a chance to do some chins.  He incorporated his training in his work, if he were shoveling dirt, he’d do 5 reps over the left shoulder then 5 over the right for 5 sets, then rest a minute, and then back at it.  He would do isometric curls and grip work on the steering wheel of his car while he drove!  I also recall, when he was in his 50’s, he’d go into a handstand and walk on his hands across the yard as he would come into the house.  I’m sure the neighbors thought he was nuts!  Just like I’m sure that those who don’t know Dale the way we do might think he’s a little nuts.  But my grandfather was in fantastic shape and could work all day and I never recall him being sick and if he was, he was in such good shape it didn’t keep him down long.

Then, when he was in his late 70’s, he was hit by a car.  It was a devastating accident and the doctors told us things looked bleak.  He had a severe head injury and they did brain surgery on him.  They put him in one of those rotating beds to drain the fluid off his brain and told us the prognosis was grim and that he’d never fully recover.  But one day, we were in visiting him and my Uncle Wayne noticed he was doing something with his hands.  He was squeezing them…..and he was doing it in 5 sets of 5 reps (his favorite set/rep scheme for exercises) as he switched back and forth.  Soon, this began to spread and the docs thought he was fighting the restraints on his bed.  But we knew, “Pop” (as I called him) was exercising.  He was already planning his comeback!

He made a long, grueling comeback to the amazement of his doctors.  The wreck took it’s toll but Dalton got back to being better than most men his age.  He continued to exercise all the time and lift weights.  I think that if Dalton were around today, he’d be right there with Dale on the platform and I’m sure they’d have a lot to talk about.  Tough times don’t last, tough people do.

History of the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet

Written and Compiled by Dale Friesz

There has been 15 Deanna Springs Memorial Meets.  Joe Garcia owns this meet – he has won 9 of these meets.  He participated in two others – 2003 and 1997.  Amazingly he failed to total in 2003 and 1997.  In 2003, he was unable to do a Hand and Thigh Lift and in 1997 he failed in the Hip Lift.  He could not do the Hand and Thigh Lift in 2003 as he had been kicked by his own horse! In 1997, his choice of weight in the Hip Lift was too heavy.  That amounts to 9 wins in 11 contests. My hat is off to Joe!!

Deanna and Al Springs, performing a 2-person Cheat Curl

The following is from the USAWA Strength Journal, Vol. VI-7 11/25-1995:

Deanna Springs Dies in Auto Crash
by Kerry Clark, a national USWF titlist like Deanna, contributed the following eulogy for her close friend.

On October 5, 1995, Deanna Springs was killed in a car accident at the age of 45. Deanna was the wife of Al Springs of Dearborn, Missouri. Deanna met Al when she came to his fitness center for rehabilitation for shoulder and wrist problems. She lifted in her first USAWA meet at Steve Schmidt’s in 1992, and although she continued to battle back and arm problems she developed into an excellent and enthusiastic lifter over the last few years.  Al and Deanna were rightfully proud of her record-making marks of 600 pounds in the Hand and Thigh and 1100 pounds in the Hip Lift. But more than a devoted lifter, Deanna Springs was a wonderful person.  She and Al came to all of our meets at Clark’s Gym. Deanna was always the friendliest and most supportive person in the room.  She worked hard to become a better lifter herself and she always gave out encouragement, even to her competitors.  I always looked forward to our meets because I knew that Deanna would be there.  At her funeral, the minister spoke of Deanna’s accomplishments in the USAWA and her National Championship medal was placed in the casket with her.  I felt glad to know that Deanna cared so much about the USAWA because I know that my experience in this organization was enriched by her presence. Deanna Springs was a great lifter, supporter of the USAWA, and a friend. She was also Al’s greatest booster.  Her death was an unexpected blow and she will be greatly missed.

Past Winners of the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet:

2010 – 3/28
56 215 3770 3611.64
2009 – 3/28
55 240 3950 3711.88
2008 – 4/06
42 239 3525 2948.17
2007 – 3/25
25 171 3610 3534.55
2006 – 3/26
52 245 4035 3655.85
2005 – 4/02
23 165 4105 4111.98
2004 – 4/04
50 231 3980 3650.87
2003 – 4/06
47 215 3940 3654.37
2002 – 4/07
48 241 4120 3627.67
2001 – 3/31
47 242 3195 2783.60
2000 – 3/26
24 209 2960 2581.12
1999 – 3/28
45 241 4525 3876.54
1998 – 3/28
44 229 4140 3608.4
1997 – 4/12
39 226 4245 3553.07
1996 – 3/30
42 223 2550 2210.98

2004 – 4/04
28 188 1850 1712.18
2001 – 3/31
22 132 2140 2490.32
1996 – 3/30
33 175 1875 1810.50

Notes:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Points are bodyweight and age adjusted.


1996 – Cheat Curl, Zercher Lift, Crucifix, Jefferson Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift
1997 – Cheat Curl, Crucifix, Jefferson Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift
1998 to present – Crucifix, Cheat Curl, Deanna Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift


1996 – Springs’ Garage Gym (Dearborn, Missouri)
1997 to present – Clark’s Championship Gym (Columbia, Missouri)

Summary of the Zercher Strength Classic

America’s Oldest All-Round Weightlifting Contest
by Dale Friesz

The concept of the ZERCHER STRENGTH CLASSIC originated with the founder of the United States All-Round Weightlifting Association, Bill Clark. The first ZERCHER STRENGTH CLASSIC was held in 1982, six years before the first USAWA National Championships became a reality. The meet was created to honor Ed Zercher Sr., the famous St. Louis Missouri Strongman who performed at an extremely high level for over sixty-five years in all areas of the strength games.


2010 – 1/30
28/180 13 8105 7698.90
2009 – 1/31
27/180 13 8370 7950.66
2008 – 1/26
54/226 13 8020 7635.38
2007 – 2/03
53/233 13 8135 7635.20
2006 – 1/21
24/172 13 7897.5 7708.75
2005 – 1/29
51/242 13 8085 7304.83
2004 – 1/31
50/240 13 8190 7364.64
2003 – 2/01
70/238 13 5180 5523.64
2002 – 2/02
20/169 13 7790 7684.84
2001 – 2/03
47/241 13 8050 7029.97
2000 – 2/05-06
46/239 13 8792.5 7654.33
1999 – 1/30
38/185 13 6765 6321.90
1998 – 1/31-2/01
40/224.5 13 10080 8542.71
1997 – 2/01-02
39/227.5 13 9895 8243.50
1996 – 2/02-04
38/225 13 10645 8918.30
1995 – 2/04-05
37/218.5 13 9790 8334.23
1994 – 2/05-06
36/211.5 13 9345 8097.44
1993 – 2/06-07
37/215.5 13 10470 8975.93
1992 – 1/18-19
36/223 13 10250 8628.45
1991 – 1/19-20
35/227 13 10380 8656.92
1990 – 1/20-21
34/225 10 6430 5387.06
1989 – 1/21-22
33/212 14 8285 7189.72
1988 – 1/23-24
32/215 18 12260 10568.12
1987 – 1/24-25
31/215 16 10955 6139.18
1986 – 1/25-26
30/161 16 9345 6672.33
1985 – N/A
29/165 20 8320 5969.29
1984 – 1/21-22
28/- 17 N/A N/A
1983 – 1/22-23
27/- 18 N/A N/A
1982 – 1/23-24
26/- 16 N/A N/A


2003 – 2/01
40/165 13 6165 6226.65
2001 – 2/03
38/158 13 6355 6538.66
1999 – 1/30
19/136 13 3740 4235.37
1998 – 1/31-2/01
19/124 13 3470 4235.83
1997 – 2/01-02
34/171 13 6070 5897.00
1996 – 2/03-04
33/176 13 5920 5699.30
1995 – 2/04-05
30/171 13 4565 4473.24
1994 – 2/05-06
29/165 13 4695 4702.98
1993 – 2/06-07
28/163 13 4660 4794.67
1989 – 1/21-22
29/147 14 3420 3687.79
1988 – 1/23-24
28/142 18 4395 4880.65


STEVE SCHMIDT – (8) – 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993
JOE GARCIA – (6) – 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008
JOHN CARTER – (5) – 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
SID LITTLETON – (4) – 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986
ABE SMITH – (4) – 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010
DAVE DEFOREST – (1) – 1999
BILL CLARK – (1) – 2003


AMORKOR OLLENNUKING – (4) – 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003
KERRY CLARK – (3) – 1993, 1994, 1995
DORIS De La ROSA – (2) – 1988, 1989
AMY BURKS – (1) – 1998
ANGELA McBRIDE – (1) – 1999


MISSOURI STATE PENITENTIARY (Jefferson City, MO) – 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986
CLARK’S CHAMPIONSHIP GYM (Columbia, MO) – 1988 to 2010

History of Past USAWA Officers

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz at the 2009 Heavy Event Nationals

Thanks to the work of the unofficial USAWA Historian Dale Friesz, the website now contains the history of the past officers of the USAWA. Dale has been a very active lifter since the beginning of the USAWA, and has been an integral part of past USAWA National Meetings. Dale deserves a pat on the back from the USAWA for taking time during his vacation to get this project finished. Thanks Dale! Below is the listing of the Past USAWA Officers since the origin of the USAWA in 1987, courtesy of Dale Friesz.

Effective January 1st, 2010 (elected 6/20/2009)

PRESIDENT: Denny Habacker, PA




Effective July 7th, 2007 (elected 7/7/2007)

PRESIDENT: Denny Habecker, PA




Effective January 1st, 1993 (elected 11/27/1992)

PRESIDENT: Howard Prechtel, OH


Frank Ciavattone, MA

Art Montini, PA



Effective January 1st, 1989 (elected 1/22/1989)

PRESIDENT: John Vernacchio, PA




Effective January 1st, 1987 (appointed 11/29/1986)



Hall of Fame Biography – Dale Friesz class of 2002

Dale E. Friesz was born on July 30th, 1940 in St. Louis, Missouri. As the son of a career Army Colonel he traveled a lot as a youth. His family spent two tours in Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.. Dale has lived at the same address for the past 35 years – 11523 Wild Acre Way, Fairfax Station, Virginia, 22039-2117.

Dale did his undergraduate and graduate work at George Washington University in Washington D.C.. He spent 11 years as Director of Human Resources for Fairfax County before taking over the family owned shooting sports business.  He ran it for 21 years until his retirement.

Dale has been married to Penny for 43 years. They have three beautiful children – Pamela, Mark and Karen. They also have a great son-in-law Mark, one lovely daughter-in-law Christine, and two beautiful grand children Ansley and Cody. Dale believes his family is his greatest treasure.

Dale Friesz at age 19

Dale learned about Olympic lifting from his older brother Leonard. Dale taught himself to be an Olympic lifter. It was at the 1960 National Collegiate Weightlifting Championships at the University of Maryland that he first met fellow USAWA Hall of Famer, John Vernacchio. In 1963, at the Junior Nationals in Columbia, Missouri he was introduced by his older brother to Bill Clark.  In preparation for entering Bill Clark’s Masters Olympic Weightlifting at age 39, he again started Olympic lifting. Dale stayed with that style of competition until back and shoulder problems put him on the shelf at age 45.

210 pound Snatch at age 19 at the 1960 National Collegiate Championships

Dale was inspired by Bill Clark’s writings to join the USAWA and is a charter member. The bug to lift again took hold and against medical advice (birth defect in back and a bad shoulder) he entered his first all-round meet in 1989.  He has won 18 Masters National Championships, and has placed in several open all-round competitions – which includes the Zercher Meet, the Heavy Lift Championships, and the Deadlift Dozen. Dale has created more than 150 USAWA records.

Dale attempting a 360 pound One Hand Deadlift at age 54 (85 kg class)

Dale is most proud of his Right Hand Deadlift of 353.6 pounds at age 52 in the 85 kilogram class and his Neck Lift of 605 pounds at age 55 in the 85 kilogram class. When these lifts were made they were not only masters records but also open records. Dale also like all the Finger Deadlifts and holds a wide range of records in each weight class from 75 kg to 90 kg.  He received the Francis D. Ciavattone Sr. AWARD FOR COURAGE in 2003.

Dale doing a heavy Neck Lift

Since 2002 Dale has spent nearly as much time in the hospital with a variety of life threatening issues as he has spent trying to train. Yet as recently as May 2009 he did a 405 pound Neck Lift record at age 68 in the 85 kilogram class at the Heavy Lift National Championships.

Dale believes, as does his primary physician, that weightlifting is responsible for him being alive. Dale thanks Bill Clark for having the sagacity to create masters weightlifting competition!!!

Dale Friesz – the “Miracle Man”

by Al Myers

605# Neck Lift by Dale Friesz

A Hall of Fame Biography is now available for Dale Friesz. Dale is truly an amazing individual who is an inspiration to everyone who meets him. Dale has overcome many very serious medical issues to resume not just lifting, but competition lifting!!! Dale just recently spent 9 days in the hospital for treatment of a leg infection – but I fully expect to see him lifting at this year’s World Championships in October. Whenever I have an ache or pain when I’m working out and I feel like complaining about it – I think of Dale, who has every excuse not to train but keeps at it relentlessly – and then I realize that my aches and pains aren’t all that bad!! You can always count on seeing Dale at every year’s National Championships. He is one of the charter members of the USAWA.

History of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen

by Dale Friesz

Dale Friesz, who holds the unofficial title as Historian of the USAWA, provided me with this chart of the past winners of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen. It not only includes the winners each year, but also the winner’s total and adjusted point totals. As you can see from this chart, Dale has the distinction of being the winner in the very first Goerner Meet. The lifts contested in the Goerner Deadlift Dozen are as follows:

Deadlift – Heels Together
Hack Lift
Jefferson Lift
2 Bar Deadlift
Right Hand Deadlift
Left Hand Deadlift
Right Hand Deadlift – Thumbless
Left Hand Deadlift – Thumbless
Index Fingers Deadlift
Middle Fingers Deadlift
Ring Fingers Deadlift
Little Fingers Deadlift
Reeves Deadlift

1995 Dale Friesz, Virginia
53 183 2800 3028.09
1996 Rex Monahan, Colorado
72 186 2742.5 3396.58
1997 Rex Monahan, Colorado
73 198.25 2685 3229.48
1998 Rex Monahan, Colorado
74 197.25 2615 3176.52
1999 Kevin Fulton, Nebraska
39 260.5 4195 3257.42
2000 Kevin Fulton, Nebraska
40 260 4200 3301.12
2001 Seth Holcomb, Nebraska
16 192 3340 3359.51
2002 Al Myers, Kansas
36 272 4020 3058.42
2003 Bill Clark, Missouri
71 237 2765 2996.41
2004 Mike McBride, Missouri
27 225 4025 3372.15
2005 Mike McBride, Missouri
28 229 2755 2231.83
2006 Al Myers, Kansas
40 251 4020 3214.90
2007 Cancelled Due to Ice
2008 Al Myers, Kansas
42 248 4325 3547.00

POINTS – formula adjusted for age and bodyweight