Team Nationals


by Al Myers

Group picture from the 2010 USAWA Team Nationals. Front row left to right: Rudy Bletscher, and Mike Murdock. Back row left to right: Mark Mitchell, Scott Tully, Al Myers, and Chad Ullom.

Chad and I were able to successfully defend our title of  USAWA Team National Champions, but not without serious competition this year.  This, without a doubt, has to be the most successful Team Nationals to date in terms of competitors and quality of competition.  I haven’t counted the records set yet, but I am willing to bet that more USAWA Team Records were set in this meet compared to any other meet in USAWA history.  Fellow Dino Gym members Mark Mitchell and Scott Tully formed a team, along with a pair of very strong 70 plus year olds, Mike Murdock and Rudy Bletscher.  It is interesting to note that all the teams had team members that were very comparable in size and strength to each other.  Having  team partners that are compatible in strength, lifting style, and body size is essential in order for a team to perform optimally.

Mark Mitchell and Scott Tully with their 450 pound Team Maxey Press.

The first lift of the day was the Maxey Press, done in honor and remembrance of Bob Maxey, who was a founding member of the Dino Gym and who this lift is named after.  The Maxey Press is a strict press from the rack using the Fulton Bar. Mark and Scott stole the show here as they got an easy 450#, and then called for 500#.  Truly a huge team press!  They missed it by inches at lockout.  Both of these guys are 250-300# strict pressers, but just had their timing off a little lifting together.  The next lift was the Hands Together Bench Press.  This lift is tricky when performing it alone, but as a Team Lift  really provides a challenge.  Mark and Scott ended with 570#, but had more in them.  They just ran out of attempts.  The next lift was the Team Rectangular Fix.  Mike and Rudy showed true grit in this one, as they did a lift of 160 pounds.  When tabulating the points, I realized that these two scored the most points in this lift of all the teams.  They had adjusted points in the Rectangular Fix of 173 points, compared to 157 points for Chad and me, and 152 points for Mark and Scott.  That is something they should be proud of!

Rudy Bletscher and Mike Murdock - A pair of very strong lifters over the age of 70 years.

The last lift of the day was the Team Trap Bar Deadlift.  I had made a custom-designed Trap Bar for this occasion to accommodate this lift.  I told the guys whoever lifted the most would probably have a World Record since I doubt this lift has ever been contested before, anywhere.  The comp was very close at this point, with Mark and Scott leading Chad and me by only 10 points.  So this Team Nationals came down to the LAST EVENT to be decided!  Chad and I opened with 915 pounds while Mark and Scott decided to break the 1000 pound barrier on their opener with 1005 pounds.  This put them in the drivers seat over us.  Chad and I then matched them with a 1005 pound pull.  They decided to call for 1100 pounds to really put the pressure on us, so Chad and I were forced to do the same.  They missed it ever so close, and then  Chad and I pulled it for the win. A dramatic finish!

This was a great day for the USAWA.  I want to thank Darren Barnhart for officiating, and for my Dad LaVerne and old-time Olympic Weightlifting champ Dave Hahn for showing up to watch this ordeal.  Team Nationals is a very unique competition that I am surprised not more lifters want to take part in.   It challenges you in different ways than typical solo lifting competitions.  Even though next year’s Team Nationals is a year away, I invite everyone now  to take part in this event next year.

Al Myers and Chad Ullom with a 1100 pound Team Trap Bar Deadlift.



1. Al Myers (253# & 44 years old) and Chad Ullom (245# & 38 years old)  – 115 kg Class & Open Division

2. Mark Mitchell (357# & 49 years old) and Scott Tully (344# & 34 years old) – 125+ kg Class & Open Division

3. Mike Murdock (230# & 70 years old) and Rudy Bletscher (216# & 74 years old) – 105 kg Class & 70-74 Age Division

Official (one official system used):  Darren Barnhart

Team Lifts:  Maxey Press, Bench Press – Hands Together, Rectangular Fix, and Trap Bar Deadlift

Lifters Maxey Bench Rec Fix Trap DL Total Points
Al Myers

Chad Ullom

400 500 200 1100 2200 1734.92
Mark Mitchell

Scott Tully

450 570 215 1005 2240 1592.42
Mike Murdock

Rudy Bletscher

200 210 160 585 1155 1252.96

Notes: All lifts recorded in pounds.  Total is total weight in pounds lifted.   Points are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

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