DERRY — It's almost an addiction.
That's how Derry power lifter Carol Bowden described her affinity for lifting weights. At age 62, she shows no signs of putting down the barbells.
Bowden was among lifters from all over New England participating Sunday Powerlifting Championships at the Workout Club in Derry.
The 100 Percent Raw Powerlifting Federation-sanctioned meet brought out athletes to compete before a packed house. Many broke their personal best and national records in various federation weight classes. The Workout Club's team had eight athletes.
"I like a personal challenge," Bowden said.
She owns Salon Deluxe and Day Spa in Derry, and said she enjoys the challenges and the competition.
The meet included three lifts — bench press, dead lift and strict curl. Contestants competed in divisions by age and weight class.
Bowden took tops in her age class division, tied a record for bench press, and won a top spot for dead lift, lifting 83 and 170 pounds, respectively.
Derry's Bonita Kershaw, 60, earned second place in her 148-pound division and, together with Bowden, tied the American bench press record. This was Kershaw's first lifting competition.
For 15-year-old Janos "Johnny" Zsofka, it's been about three years since he truly became a fan of powerlifting. The Pinkerton Academy freshman took his division class and also an American record for bench press, lifting 286 pounds.
Peter Hubbard, team captain and coach, said he was happy with the meet results and all his athletes worked very hard leading up to the competition. At 72, he is also a class division winner and trains with his wife, Nona Hubbard, 48, a Citizens Bank manager and lifter with many records and competition wins of her own. She took her age division win in the 148-pound and took an American record in the bench press, lifting 154 pounds.
"She is amazing and that is why she is a number one full power lifter in the U.S. 100 Percent Raw Federation," Hubbard said. "And, of course, I am a little biased since she is my wife."
But, Hubbard added, he's proud of all his athletes.
"I am really proud of all the lifters who put in the hard work and effort to get to this point," he said.
Three members of his team were first-time lifters, all setting records and anxious for the next contest. Several team members plan to compete in Vermont in November in the Granite City Iron Wars.
Hubbard thanked the host Workout Club and said anyone interested in learning more about weights and lifting should get involved. He said powerlifting is becoming more popular with athletes of all ages.
"Lifters are very dedicated and cheer each other on," he said. "For anyone who wants to get in shape and have some fun and meet some wonderful folks, power lifting is the way to go."
Other athletes and results include:
Mike Foline, age group 50-54, 181-pound class division winner; Gayle Pollard, 45-49 age group, 123-pound class division winner, American bench press, 141 pounds; Bev Charland, 50-54 age group, 132-pound class division winner.
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