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Fit to be king? 500-pound lifts highlight meet


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 20, 2000

In the King of the Bench weightlifting competition, a 140-pound press might be considered weak.

But when the lift is done by 86-year-old Albert Pesce, it's an accomplishment.

The Sun City resident was one of 44 lifters who competed in the fourth-annual meet put on by the Pasco Power Team. It was the second year Pesce had taken part in the competition.

"It almost puts tears in your eyes," said Rick Lawrence, meet director. "After he lays down, I had to help him get up but he was ready to go."

In contrast to Pesce was Beau Moore.

Entered in the Super Heavyweight division, Moore bench pressed a meet-best 675 pounds to win the overall men's title. Johnny Yong, of Sarasota, won the Master's overall and Kent Spires won the Lightweight overall.

"He's a world-class lifter," Lawrence said of Moore. "He's on a quest for a 700-pound bench. I feel he can do it."

In all, six lifters eclipsed the 500-pound mark including four class winners -- Tom O'Donnell in the 308-pound class, Anthony Vellake (510) in the 220-pound class, Mike Couch (575) in the 275-pound class and Moore.

Other class winners Saturday included: Mark Davis (148), Kent Spires (165), William Serocki (181), Tom Schembri (198), Shannon Fusco (women's open), Eric Mavis (teenage), O'Donnell (Master's 40-50), Greg Arnold (Master's Over 50), Yong (Master's Over 60) and Nick Cafaro (Special Olympics).

"We had four less lifters than last year, but we had a higher caliber of lifters," Lawrence said. "We had a lot of really, good lifters.

"To win a trophy at our meet, you have to be strong. When you have this class of lifters, seven or eight guys benching 500 pounds, that doesn't really happen. If you get two or three at a meet, you're lucky."

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