News: Spirits lifted with first-ever HH bench-press competition
By Jim Dresbach
Pentagram Staff Writer
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Marines, Soldiers, civilians and Defense Department employees took physical training to the competitive level the evening of Jan. 10 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Cpl. Terry L. Smith Gymnasium.
Of the two dozen participants taking part in the inaugural bench-press competition, a wide sampling of military groups approached the Henderson Hall weight-lifting bench. A half dozen Quantico Marines interested in forming a base weight-lifting team traveled the 35 miles for the two-hour competition. Two women faced off against the bar and free weights, while Pentagon civilian workers and Soldiers mentally prepared to achieve awards for personal-best lifts.
"We had great participation; this gives [servicemembers] something to look forward to," said Smith Gym Facility Manager Cliff Holcomb, who also served as the event organizer. "With the turnout we had, we definitely will be looking to do this [more] in the future. This is a stepping stone to get [servicemembers] to increase their [weightlifting] goals and set some goals and come back if they didn’t get that first-place trophy."
Each lifter was allowed three attempts. Scores were then tabulated to determine winners. Following the main lift-offs, some competitors took part in an informal endurance segment where prizes were awarded to those with the most successful repetitions.
First-, second- and third-place trophies were awarded in six categories. The top female lifter was Megan Cummings while Deanna Collen was the overall female runner-up. Cummings also earned the women’s masters championship. In the men’s lightweight division, John Battle earned first place, Eric Morales took second place and Anthony Hawkins took third place. Matt Reep was the top middleweight participant followed by Kevin Jimenez’s second-place effort, and Brian Baker notched third-place honors.
Cedric Reed’s successful lifts propelled him to the welterweight championship. Matt McLaughlin was the welterweight runner-up. The heavyweight winners were Hakim Shakir (first place), Keith Goldwire (second place) and Daute Evans (third place).
Shakir also took home the men’s masters (40 years of age and over) title, and Daniel Pope was the master’s second place finisher.
Holcomb stated that the Marine portion of JBM-HH is anticipating the opportunity of hosting bench-press competitions possibly every three to four months, and all branches of the military, veterans and Defense Department employees are welcomed to register.
"The energy was great," Holcomb said. "There was great participation. The competitors were cheering each other on.
"The audience was into it. It was a great event. With the turnout we had, I think word is going to spread that Smith Gym is putting on one of the premiere bench press competitions," he said.