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Area weightlifters a natural fit on Power Team

By WAYNE GRUMET

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2001


The Pasco Power Team does almost everything together. The 14 members train, compete and hang out together.

One thing the Pasco Power Team doesn't do together is take strength-enhancing drugs.

The weightlifting team is all-natural, and judging by its performance, the members are doing just fine without drugs.

For example, Jimmy Securo will attempt to squat 1,000 pounds June 23 at a meet in Orlando. Teammate Bart Quinn said Securo would be one of only 10 people to ever squat 1,000 pounds.

As for Quinn, the 33-year-old bench presses 600 pounds in the 275-pound division. He won the American Powerlifting Association world title in 1995 and still holds a couple of state records.

Quinn calls teammate Rick Lawrence the best 220-pounder around. Lawrence has benched 600 pounds and recently set a new bench press record at a meet in Louisiana. The Pasco Power Team has attracted all types of lifters since its start in 1989.

Nick Defaro has made an impact in the Special Olympics division. Defaro, who suffers from cerebral palsy, holds a number of records in the division.

Couples have also been able to bond on the Power Team. Theresa and Joe Brandau are regulars at competitions. Theresa set a 192-pound bench press record recently.

"It's a lot of work but a lot of fun. We enjoy what we are doing," Quinn said. "We see the same faces meet after meet. There's a lot of camaraderie."

The Pasco Power Team also helps out in the community. The team recently participated in the Pull Your Heart Out event to benefit the New Port Richey Marine Institute. Quinn and Securo were the only ones to pull the fire truck across the finish line alone.

The team's drug-free stance is more like an understanding rather than a rule. Natural lifters just seem to find a home with the group. "We've had a couple that were into (the drugs) in the past," Quinn said. "They never stay long. This is a pretty tight group. We hang together."

The Pasco Power Team will host a statewide meet June 16 at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in New Port Richey. The event will have $1,000 up for grabs. First place wins $500, second gets $300 and third receives $200.

BOWLING IN THE OUTBACK: Fifteen-year-old Chris Hilty is eager to get his chance to compete in the Outback. The Land O'Lakes student has been selected by the People to People Sports Ambassadors program to bowl in an event in Australia.

"The travel will be nice but it's about the competition really," Hilty said. "It's nice that they considered me an elite."

Hilty will leave Aug. 1 and has already raised about $3,500 of the $5,000 needed for the trip.

Hilty has been bowling for about 10 years and was first exposed to the game by his grandfather, John. The two joined a bowling league and 5-year-old Chris was a natural.

"I was hitting high scores for my age," Hilty said. "I just worked my way up."

Hilty averaged 202 at Mariner Lanes and his lowest average was 189 at Hudson Bowl. Hilty competes in as many as three leagues a week and doesn't really practice. Hilty's time is taken up at school where he maintains a 4.3 grade point average. He said he wants to be a surgeon.

This will be Hilty's first trip abroad and he's excited and a little intimidated by the daylong flight to Australia.

"I'll bring my CD player on the flight. And I'll bring a lot of batteries," he said.

Anyone interested in helping Hilty can donate via mail. Send donations in Chris Hilty's name to South Trust Bank at 8941 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34667.

In addition, Hudson Bowl hosted a tournament Saturday to help raise funds. UPCOMING GOLF EVENTS: The Special Olympics Pasco Golf Tournament will be held at the Wentworth Country Club in Tarpon Springs on May 19.

The four-person scramble costs $50 in advance and $55 on the day of the event. The fee is tax deductible.

Players can win a Nissan car in a hole-in-one contest. There will also be other prizes such as tickets to Busch Gardens, movies and more.

For information, call Valerie Lundin at (727) 774-3062.

- Wayne Grumet can be reached by e-mail at bkhwlg@msn.com or by fax at (352) 521-0290.

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