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Feel the power: State powerlifting championships

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The USAPL state championships were held Saturday at ConVal High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, May 02, 2017 6:45AM

Mark Zaccadelli II paced up and down the middle of yellow-tiled line in a hallway outside of the ConVal gym on Saturday morning, his headphones in and his head down.

Zaccadelli’s girlfriend, Natashia McBurnie, was standing close by, but the two weren’t interacting.

“I just leave him alone until the competition is over,” McBurnie said. “He’s all smiles afterward, but right now he’s in his zone.”

Zaccadelli, who is 22, was in the middle of the USA Powerlifting New Hampshire State Championships — an event that gives local lifters an opportunity to set a state record, an American record, or qualify for a national competition. Powerlifting consists of three attempts on three separate lifts, including squat, bench press and deadlift.

Seconds before Zaccadelli’s squat, he came out from behind a wall in the gym screaming and beating his chest to pump himself up. The 130-pound athlete from Bristol, Maine placed himself behind the bar and squatted 170 kg, or 374.8 lbs. He benched 134.9 kg, and deadlifted 190 kg. All results were unofficial.

Because Zaccadelli isn’t a New Hampshire resident, he didn’t break any of the state records, although he said he holds the records in Maine for his age bracket that ranges from 19 to 23. 

“I don’t tell him what he’s doing until it’s done,” Zaccadelli’s coach Ryan Martin said. “He has no idea how much he’s lifting until he’s done it.”

Martin — who has won two world championships — said withholding information from Zaccadelli about how much weight he is lifting is a mind game.

“If he thinks he can only lift so much, that’s all he’s going to do,” Martin said. “So if he doesn’t know, he’s going to move it.”

Martin said he’s been in the game for 10 years, and in that time, he said, Zaccadelli is a standout.

Martin said he met Zaccadelli at a competition he was judging.

“He did a local meet and I was there judging it and he was just hanging out just doing his thing and he came up and was like, ‘Can I do this?’” Martin said. “And I was like absolutely man, jump right in if you want. I watched him bench one time and I looked at my buddy and I said, ‘I’m stealing this kid.’”

Zaccadelli said recently he’s become more serious about the sport.

“I was always into it, but never like this,” he said.

When asked how many he was competing against on Saturday, Zaccadelli said he had no idea.

“I’m just trying to set personal records,” he said.

Martin said that attitude is what will make Zaccadelli great.

“The kid is going to make a name for himself,” Martin said. “He’s going to be something — but don’t tell him that.”

Antrim woman returnsto record form

Sonja McKinlay, 73, of Antrim, quietly prepared for her first competition after a six-year hiatus from the sport Saturday.

There was no grunting to pump herself up before her three attempts at two different lifts — the bench press and the deadlift. Instead she quietly warmed up, confident in her ability after decades of experience. McKinlay took gold in the Masters 60-64 division at the 2005 USAPL Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri.

“I’ve barely trained,” McKinlay said, adding that she only recently started lifting at the gym again.

Even still, during the competition she broke the state record on her second bench press attempt, which was set at 47.5 kg. She couldn’t lift the increased weight on her third attempt.

“I pushed it,” she said, satisfied with her return to competition. “I’ll get it at the next meet.”

McKinlay dead lifted 87.5 kg.

McKinlay said she plans on focusing on squats after the competition, and will try to engineer a routine to train three days per week amidst a busy schedule. She said she would like to do all three lifts in the northeast regionals, which will be hosted in Massachusetts in August.

McKinlay picked up powerlifting by chance later when she was in her 40s and on a sabbatical in New Zealand. Her office was across from a gym, and one day she went over.

A person working at the gym asked her if she had ever lifted any weights. She said she hadn’t, he asked her if she wanted to try, and she said sure.

When she returned to the United States, she found a gym and started competing. The sport has taken her all around the country, and internationally as well. One of her first international competitions was in South Africa soon after apartheid ended, which she called “quite and experience.”

“Lifting has really presented me with so many opportunities,” she said.

Recently, an injury and a busy schedule has kept her away from the sport.

In the time she’s been gone, McKinlay said the powerlifting community has gone through some major changes. She said drug-free lifting groups used to be fringe groups; now, they’re mainstream. For a long time, there weren’t many women in the sport, now there are. And people used to use equipment to lift, but the sport has reverted back to lifting raw.

It’s changed for the better, she said, and she’s excited to be a part of it all again.

“It’s a great sport, you can do it when you’re 80,” McKinlay said “I hope I am.”

Mother-son duo break records

Damian Lord was the youngest person to compete at the powerlifting competition.

The 10-year-old swept all of the state titles in his age bracket.

“He’s loves it,” his mom Candace said on Saturday.

Damian received a greenlight on all of his attempts throughout the day. He benched 24.9 kg, and deadlifted 54.4 kg.

Candace was looking forward to her son’s foray into powerlifting all day; after his first bench press, she was overcome with emotion, crying tears of joy as she was embraced by other members of her gym.

Candace, who is from Kingston, also competed on Saturday. She set the state squat record at 119.7 kg on her second attempt, and the state bench press record at 82.3 kg.

She said she’s been a personal trainer for about 14 years, but didn’t start competing until last year because she didn’t think that what she was doing was at a competitive level.

Last year, her coach encouraged her to try a meet. From then on, she’s been hooked.

Not long after, Damian took up the sport too.

Now they train together.

She said because Damian is still growing, he does a lot of body-weight activities to prepare. He also is really active, especially in martial arts.

As summer approaches, Candace said they will rollback their lifting routine a little bit.

“We enjoy the summer and we don’t have such a strict workout routine,” Candace said. “...Maybe do more of what we call a ‘regular’ work out like kickboxing classes and not just spot lifting.”

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.