Strongman competition in Frazer pits amateur athletes from across the country against local talent

Some of the country’s strongest amateur athletes took to a Frazier fitness center this month to compete for honor and glory.

Steel City’s Strongest, a U.S. strongman sanctioned competition at the Legends of Pittsburgh Fitness and Performance Center at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall, brought together 65 athletes, including nine women, and several local competitors, including Jamie Whitman of Monroeville and Luke. Sinagra of Hampton.

Whitman, a breast cancer survivor and owner of the Plum business, said she was excited to show off the fruits of her training after not competing since 2017.

“I was extremely nervous at the start, which I kind of expected,” said Whitman. “But it was a little more than I expected. It all worked out after the first event and I called and got to work.

Challenges included a deadlift, keg toss, log press, and medley involving carrying sandbags about 50 feet. The frames used in the medley were inspired by the Fort Pitt Bridge. There was also a sleigh pull outside the center with the sleigh resembling the slope of Mount Washington.

Whitman, 42, competed in the women’s masters division and won fourth place in the September 18 event.

“I am extremely happy with my performance,” she said. “The women I competed with were absolutely amazing.”

Competitors who came first, second and third in their respective divisions have had the chance to compete for USS titles in upcoming national competitions.

Whitman had a small advantage on the court. She and a dozen others work out at the fitness center on Saturdays.

The event was hosted by his mentor, longtime competitor and first-time promoter Vaughn Sikorski and his wife, Paula, both of Harrison.

“She was so close in every event, but these other women were legitimate,” Sikorski said of Whitman’s performance. “I think each of them hit a personal best during the deadlift. As long as the athletes were happy with the production of our show, I was okay with the result. “

Entrance and parking were free. About 150 people attended, including the athletes. Masks were optional.

There was an athlete recovery station that had reclining chairs, food and drink.

It wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be, ”Sikorski said of the organization of the contest. “Probably because I got incredible help from the people around me and from my wife. People who had specific tasks had their own backup plans which relieved me a lot of stress as I was not able to devote time earlier due to my very busy work. Paula and I slept about four hours in the last three days leading up to the show.

Three judges carefully monitored each athlete to ensure they were in good form and that the lifts were up to competition standards. Those who were unable to complete the timed challenges were awarded credit for qualified elevators and distance traveled.

USS legend Aaron West served as the announcer and made the competition appear to be broadcast on ESPN.

Dante Patrella of Camp Patrella filmed the contest and began uploading some of the content to his YouTube channel.

“We wanted the athletes to be a part of something that we will do every year,” said Sikorski. “No promoter can produce an event production without the help of the staff around him. Being an athlete in these types of competitions, I have never paid so much attention to the cogs behind the scenes.

Whitman credited her team and coach Ken McClelland with pushing her to success.

“I will definitely be participating in the competition again,” she said. “I can’t say enough good things about Vaughn and Paula in the promotion of this event. What they did and how far they went to provide fantastic competition for fans and contestants was unreal. It was great that they just wanted to make sure everyone was having fun.

Other athletes, highlights and results

David Johns, 55, of Winchester, Va., Was the event’s oldest competitor.

He stuck to his claim not to give up until “someone beats me on the dead lift”.

The former weightlifter had no problem lifting 545 pounds 12 times as he won first place in the 50+ World Championships division.

Sinagra, 24, of Hampton finished the medley in under a minute with 230 and 260 pound sandbags and scored a 550 pound steel frame on the course.

The 2015 Hampton Township High School graduate got involved in Strongman contests about four years ago after recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. He was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s a passion. It’s really good because I know everyone here and everyone who comes in. Normally I have to drive between an hour and eight hours to compete. It’s nice to have one. here locally and it brings together people who haven’t had a chance to try it out yet without that time commitment.

The top spots were Skylyn Kopas of Pittsburgh in the Novice Women’s Lightweight Division, Kellie New of Michigan in the Women’s Open Middleweight, Karrie Ann David of Michigan in the Women’s Masters Division, Bo French of Michigan in the Novice Men’s Lightweight. , CJ Jasper of Pittsburgh in the Novice Heavyweight Men, Ray China of Pittsburgh in the Light Open Men, Cameron Peters of Fairmount City in the Middleweight Open Men, Joe Scrim of Youngstown in the Heavyweight Open Men, Dillon Gartner of Nebraska in the men’s open super heavyweight, Andy Root of West Middlesex in the middleweight masters and Joe Edwards of East Liverpool, Ohio in the masters division on the men.

Competitors also came from Florida, Missouri, Georgia, New York, Maryland and Indiana.

More information on USS competitions is available at

Michael DiVittorio is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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