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April 24. 2013 11:56PM

NH flexed its muscles in regional powerlifting meet


Exeter High School football players, from left, Mitch Harrington, 15, Mark Cicchini, 16, Andrew Cicchini, 14, Dave Harvey, 16 all fared well in a Vermont-New Hampshire Powerlifting Championship meet in Newmarket on Saturday. (COURTESY)
NEWMARKET - The basketball court at Seacoast Sports Club's Great Bay location was transformed last Saturday as more than 50 weight lifters from seven Northeast states competed in what the event's promoters called the first full power meet to be held on the Seacoast.

Current and former athletes from Exeter High School and Derry's Pinkerton Academy fared particularly well in the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate New Hampshire & Vermont State Championships, a meet that also included lifters from Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

Veteran lifter Peter Hubbard of Raymond, 74 and one of the event's promoters, added to his collection of age-division records, and his wife, Nona, 51, set an RPS record of her own with a 255-pound squat. Peter Hubbard set his RPS records with a 280-pound bench press and a 305-pound dead lift.

But, Hubbard said, even if he had not completed one successful lift, the day would have been worth it because of the young men and women who participated.

"The smiles on the young guys' faces made the meet for me," Hubbard said.

Tim Parrott, 18, of Derry, a Manchester Community College student and Pinkerton Academy grad, benched more than two and a half times his body weight of 163-pounds with a bench press of 425 pounds, beating the existing RPS record for his age and weight divisions by 120 pounds. He also won the meet award as top bencher overall.

"I was really nervous before I lifted, but each left that went away a little bit," Parrott said at the end of his day, which he described as "awesome."

"Competing with some of the strongest people in the world is something I never expected I would be doing, but I love it," he said. "I always liked being strong, and this really helps with that."

A former Pinkerton wrestler, Parrott said he hopes to pass on to current Astros what he's learned about the importance of staying healthy and working out throughout the year, not just during the wrestling season.

"They've seen me wrestle and they know my strength is my best advantage," Parrott said. "I want to help them get where I've gotten."

Exeter High's Zach Bosen, a New Hampshire Union Leader All-State lineman, has a ways to go before he's lifting the kind of weight Parrott benched, but his press of 240 pounds was good enough to earn him recognition as the meet's top high school bencher.

Derry's Joni Zsofka, 18 and 181 pounds, set a new RPS bench-press record of 340 pounds his age division and weight class. He said he began lifting at the urging of his father, who wanted him doing something other than playing video games in his spare time.

"Lifting got me out of trouble, and I think it will help a lot of kids," Zsofka said. "It improves your confidence, your strength, your health. Football players and wrestlers will get a lot of benefit from it."

Older folks will, too, as the Hubbards and Esteban Rubens can attest.

Rubens, 40, of Stratham had an outstanding meet with a 425-pound squat, 285-pound bench press and a 530-pound dead lift, setting RPS records in all three events for the 40-44 age group in the 220 pound weight division.

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