The IHGF (International Federation of Strength Athletes) brought its All-American stonelifting championships to the Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival.
2019 Dublin Irish Festival: Stones Join the Competition
by Francis Brebner
President, International Highland Games Federation (IHGF)
This year’s men’s and women’s IHGF All-American Stones of Strength Championships took place at the 2019 Dublin, Ohio Irish Festival, the first of its kind held there, and it received a warm reception by the thousands of passionate and enthusiastic spectators.
The lineup of top-notch strength athletes for the men included James Rude, Anthony Fuhrman, Ryan Putzulu, Dusty Davis, Joshua Eisele, Boston Jacobs, Kasey Jackson, Sean Urquhart and Chase Wiley, who contended over five stonelifting challenges. A cash prize of $1,000 and the title of IHGF All-American Stones of Strength champion was up for grabs for both men and women.
The 61-lb. stone putt was a tight tussle between Fuhrman and Eisele, with the lead changing hands every round. Fuhrman took the win in the final round with a putt of 19’ 2-1/2” over second-place Eisele, who did 19’ 2”. Third was Urquhart with an impressive putt of 18’ 10”.
In the 337-lb. stone carry the lighter guys set some notable distances. Fuhrman set a benchmark as the first over 100’, with a best of 104’. Rude overtook this with 109’ 8”, but he was far outdistanced by Eisele’s incredible effort of 264’ 3”. Jacobs looked comfortable with the stone, practically sprinting down the course and still going strong at 250’, finally dropping it at 300’ for the win.
In the overhead stone press, athletes lifted a stone weighing 200 lb. from the ground to chest height and then pressed it overhead for as many reps as possible in 60 sec. Jacobs knocked out 6 reps, followed by Urquhart, Eisele, and Putzulu, who each did 5 reps. Fuhrman pipped Jacobs by 1 rep, taking the lead, and was then surpassed by Rude’s with a stellar performance of 8 reps for the win.
In the stone medley, athletes carried a series of natural stones weighing 193, 199 and 250 lb. over a 10-m course in 60 sec. Jacobs led the top four with 20.48 sec., followed closely by Eisele at 21.75 sec. Fuhrman at 23.14, and Rude at 23.97.
Athletes had 60 sec. to load five Atlas stones weighing 200, 250, 300, 350 and 400 lb. onto barrels in the final event. After four events, Fuhrman and Eisele were tied on points, and just 2 points behind was Rude in third. Urquhart took the early lead loading 4 stones in 24.91 sec.; he was overtaken by Eisele doing 4 stones in 14.46 sec. and Jacobs with 4 stones in 13.49. A focused Rude sprinted through the course all the way to the fifth stone and just missed loading it, ending with a fast and now leading time of 12.42 sec. Fuhrman, who needed all 5 stones for the win, pulled the last stone from the ground to his lap, but the stone slipped; focusing, he regripped and, cheered on by the crowds which gave him the encouragement he needed, placed the fifth stone for the win and the title of 2019 IHGF All-American Stones of Strength champion.
Men’s overall points:
1. Anthony Fuhrman – 11
2. James Rude – 14
3. Josh Eisele – 14
4. Boston Jacobs – 16
5. Sean Urquhart – 25
6. Ryan Putzulu – 25
7. Kasey Jackson – 35
8. Dusty Davis – 38
9. Chase Wiley – 41
The women’s lineup in the IHGF All-American Stones of Strength Championships included Meg Davis, Kristen Bonitto, Amalie Flowers, Megan Seibyl, Emily Adams, Ashley Umstot, and Arianna Benfanti. Up for grabs was a first prize of $1,000.
Adams was the favorite going into the 22-lb. stone putt but had to duel with Seibyl through the second round. In the final round, Adams unleashed a whopping clutch throw of 23’ for the win, to second-place Seibyl’s 20’ 7”. Third was close, with Umstot outpacing Bonitto, 19’ 6” to 19’ 1/2”.
In the overhead stone press, athletes lifted a 100-lb. stone to chest, and then pressed it overhead for as many reps as possible in 60 sec. Most athletes knocked out 5 to 6 reps, with Davis, Bonitto, and Flowers tying at 7 reps each.
The 233-lb. stone carry was done for max distance with no time limit, and for a few of the athletes, lifting this awkward stone from the ground was a tough challenge in and of itself. Only four athletes registered a distance: Bonitto took the win with an impressive 150’; second was Davis at 125’ 5”; third Seibyl at 100’; and fourth Flowers at 66’ 2”.
The stone medley consisted of natural stones weighing 100, 110, and 140 lb. carried over a 10-m course in 60 sec. All athletes completed the stone medley, and a second or less separated the top three: Bonitto, first, at 19.41 sec.; Flowers, second, at 20.48; and Seibyl, third, at 20.98.
Finally, five Atlas Stones weighing 80, 110, 150, 190, and 200 lb. were to be loaded onto five barrels in 60 sec. With 2 seconds separating the top five athletes, Seibyl won the event, loading 5 stones in 16.51 sec. Second was Flowers at 17.77, and third was Bonitto at 18.41, with Bonitto wining the overall championships.
Women’s overall points:
1. Kristen Bonitto – 10
2. Megan Seibyl – 13
3. Amalie Flowers – 14
4. Meg Davis – 17
5. Ashley Umstot – 24
6. Emily Adams – 25
7. Arianna Benfanti – 30
Fuhrman, along with the next three athletes in his group, will compete in the IHGF World Strength Games in San Clemente, California. Bonitto, with the next three athletes from her group, will compete in the IHGF All-American Strength Games, also in San Clemente, California, in a televised event 12–13 October. The top competitors from there will compete in the IHGF Stones of Strength World Challenge during the 2020 Fefor Power Week, in Fefor, Norway, all expenses paid.
Athletic director for the Dublin Irish Festival Robert McKeeman deemed the IHGF All-American Stones of Strength Championships a huge success. The IHGF would like to thank Robert McKeeman, Richard McClain, Josh Beatty, and all the field officials, as well as Jeremy Gerstacker, events coordinator for Dublin, Ohio, for all their support in hosting this major event.
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