McCandless teen sets national powerlifting records

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.

Weightlifting began as a hobby for the three Del Nano brothers.

That was until the youngest, Nick, realized his true potential for the sport.

“Originally, when my brothers got into lifting, the primary goal was just to look good and get girls,” said Del Nano, 15, a sophomore at North Allegheny Intermediate High School.

“A couple weekends ago was the first time I've ever competed, but my brothers (Dom and Joe) got me into it like two, two and a half years ago. I had just been doing it three or four times a week.”

Del Nano now has three World Natural Powerlifting Federation national records for 13- to 16-year-olds in the 198-pound class: the squat, at 410 pounds; the deadlift, at 530 pounds; and the composite, at 1,185 pounds. His lifts are raw, which means he didn't use an apparatus.

“I was curious if there were records and what they were,” Del Nano said. “I went home, and we looked them up, and a couple of mine were higher than the records, so that's when I decided I was interested in competing and setting them.”

On Sept. 9, Del Nano, of McCandless, competed for the first time in a World Natural Powerlifting Federation event in Bordentown, N.J., where he was joined by his father and brother, Joe, 17, a senior at North Allegheny Senior High School.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” said his father, Tony Del Nano. “He (Nick) was lifting a lot of weight, and I was kind of concerned with his safety a little bit. Deadlifting 530 pounds like he did, he's going to want to do more, and I'm thinking about his back and this and that. He seems to handle it pretty well.”

And with three records in tow, Nick Del Nano is ready for more. It's a good thing the world championship is just around the corner.

“As far as numbers, I want to go for in worlds, I want to get 600 on my deadlift because I didn't get my max in New Jersey,” Nick Del Nano said. “It was my first time competing, so I wasn't used to how the judges judged.”

He will compete again Nov. 3 at a world-championship-qualifying event, located back in Bordentown. The finals will be Nov. 17 in Atlanta, where U.S. participants could be joined by lifters from Brazil, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Georgia and several other countries.

Nick Del Nano said is excited about the upcoming bonding experience with his father, as well as having one competition under his belt.

“Going in there my first time, I really had no idea of what to expect,” Nick Del Nano said. “I was relying on other people for advice when I didn't know what to do. I think just being independent will help me a lot.”

No matter what happens, Nick Del Nano will continue to get support from his biggest supporter.

“It makes you feel really proud,” Tony Del Nano said.

“I think it's a great life lesson for him — that if he wants to do something and shows initiative, he can goout and get it. “

Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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