Former Crotonite Jeff Scott, world-traveling weightlifter now living in Montrose, has been a consistent silver medal winner in various Masters weightlifting contests. Journeying to Savannah, Georgia, for the American Masters Olympic Weightlifting Championships on November 1 and 2, he came away with a well-deserved gold medal. Nearly 100 lifters from all over the United States participated in the two-day event.
The competition site was Savannah’s Anderson-Cohen Weightlifting Center, which honors the late Paul E. Anderson, “the Dixie Derrick,” 1956 Olympic champion weightlifter, strongman and professional powerlifter, and Howard Cohen, former U.S. champion Olympic weightlifter. Howard Cohen, still lifting at age 76, was also a participant, competing in the 75 to 79-year-old group.
Scott, 49, competes in the 45 to 49-year age group of the Lost Battalion Hall Olympic weightlifting team, headquartered in the Rego Park neighborhood of Queens in New York City, and is also an assistant coach of the team. Scott’s best two lifts in Savannah totaled 202 kilograms (444 pounds) and easily beat the silver medallist, Eric Nofsinger, 48, lifting for world-famous Coffee’s Gym, whose total was 162 kilograms (356 pounds).
To make Scott’s victory even sweeter, the Lost Battalion Hall team upset Team Savannah, which had never before lost a championship meet at home. The Lost Battalion Hall team’s eight first place winners scored a total of 2,265.2967 points to beat Team Savannah’s 2,118.8564 points.
The American Masters is one of two championship meets held annually for lifters 35 years of age and older. The other championship meet, the National Masters, was held in Savannah this past April and will be held again in April 2009 in El Paso, Texas.
The Lost Battalion Hall memorializes an incident during the First World War in which units of the U.S.77th (“Statue of Liberty”) Division, a total of 554 men, were isolated and cut off by German forces in October 1918. By the time American troops reached the beleaguered units a week later, 107 were dead, 63 missing and 190 wounded. Only194 men walked out of the Argonne Forest unassisted.