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ZION CROSSROADS –– Cherokee Widner of Sylvatus was crowned the 2013 national champion at the Ironman Nationals lifting competition, held at the Best Western Crossroads on March 17.
The event was sanctioned by the 100% RAW Powerlifting Federation, and the competition took place without any aids other than a weight belt and wrist straps.
Widner, 14, competed in the 132-pound category and managed a total of 506.5 pounds in the bench press and deadlift to win his age/weight division. The Carroll County teenager was also crowned the 2013 United States bench press champion, deadlift champion and strict curl champion. Widner earned four trophies for his efforts in winning his second straight Ironman championship.
Widner bench pressed 159.8 pounds and 176.4 pounds in his first two lifts before missing a press of 187.4 pounds.
In the deadlift competition, Widner hoisted 270.1 pounds in his first lift, following with lifts of 303.1 and 330.7 pounds in second and third lifts. Widner was granted a fourth attempt in an effort to set a new national and world record deadlift of 352.7 pounds, but he was too drained from the three preceding attempts to finish the lift.
In his final event of the day, Widner strict-curled 49, 60 and 66.1 pounds.
Widner was able to compete with four-time state wrestling champion Jeffery Allen of Monelison Middle School in Amherst, a 198-pound eighth-grader who set a new strict curl world record with a lift of 126.8 pounds, and won the Ironman championship in his weight category.
Another notable opponent was John Moore, a former U.S. Ambassador of the Law of Sea Negotiation, who served in the administrations of six U.S. presidents. Now 75, an attorney in Charlottesville and a professor at the University of Virginia, Moore broke the world record in the 75-79 age category when he bench pressed 259 pounds.
Widner plans on competing in the American Powerlifting Association national championships in Defuniak Springs, Fla., in April, the 100% RAW powerlifting championships in Currituck, N.C. in early June and the Southern Powerlifting Federation national championships in Knoxville in mid-June.