2009 World's Strongest Athlete Contest Results


This was the first year we opened the contest to this division…and it was worth the wait!! This division produced one of the most exciting battles of the day between two beastly New Jersey State Troopers! When it was all said and done, only one point separated Brian Markowski from Kevin Kelly! This is how close (and exciting) their epic battle was…
Brian Markowski edged out Kevin Kelly in the tire flip by flipping the 600 lb. tire four times in 10.28 seconds, compared to Kevin’s 10.32 seconds!
Kevin then dragged the 255-pound sled 60 yards in 31.0 seconds, compared to Brian’s 32.25 seconds!
In the 210-pound hand-over-hand rope pull, Kevin again edged out Brian by pulling the 75-foot rope in 18.0 seconds compared to Brian’s 18.9 seconds!
The deciding factor of the contest was Brian’s amazing 19.3-second, 60-yard Super Yoke carry with 420 lbs. on his back! (This Super Yoke time was the 2nd fastest time of any competitor in the entire competition!) Kevin took 3rd place in the Super Yoke as he was edged out by Kevin O’Neil of the US Air Force. Slipping into 3rd place in this event prevented Kevin Kelly and Brian Markowski from going into sudden-death overtime and the dreaded Prowler “push-off”!
Ironically, Brian Markowski was a member of my original Strongman “competition” back in 1999 when he was a junior football player at Paramus Catholic high school! (I guess the “veteran” experience paid off on the big stage that this contest has now become.)
When it was all said and done, ALL of the competitors in this division deserve all the credit in the world for competing (and finishing) a grueling event like this!
Here were the final standings of this division:

1st Place

Brian Markowski – New Jersey State Police

2. Kevin Kelly – New Jersey State Police
3. Kevin O’Neil – US Air Force
4. Greg Cyrwus – New Jersey State Police
5. Jan Czech – New Jersey State Police
6. Adam Gagliardi – Montgomery County Maryland Fire & Rescue
7. Paul Gifford – Lebanon New Hampshire Police Dept.
8. Doug Kechijian – US Air Force



The high school division also had an extremely close battle between two training partners – Paul Drake from Wayne Hills and Cameron Josse from Indian Hills. Both football players have trained together for the past 7 months and were looking for gym bragging rights! When it was all said and done, Cameron edged out the bigger – and more tattooed – Paul Drake by 2 points! Check out the impressive numbers that both of these “kids” put up at the competition. (Remember that these are HIGH SCHOOL “kids”)…
Both Cameron and Drake tied in the Super Yoke carry by completing the 60-yard “walk” with 370 lbs. on their back in 19 seconds flat!!
Drake pulled the 175 lb. rope 75 feet in an incredible 16.65 seconds, compared to Cameron’s 21.25 seconds.
Cameron edged out Drake on the sled drag by completing the race in 27.19 seconds, compared to Drake’s 27.59 seconds.
The major difference maker in this battle was when Cameron KILLED the 600 lb. tire by flipping it 3 times in 8.03 seconds! This incredible feat of strength turned out to be the deciding factor in Cameron becoming the strongest high school athlete at the competition!
Here are the final standings of the entire division…

1st Place


Cameron Josse – Indian Hills HS, NJ

2. Paul Drake – Wayne Hills HS, NJ
3. Travis Woods – Edison HS, NJ
4. Justin Michalak – Northeastern Senior HS, PA
5. Patrick Cole – Hasbrouck Heights HS, NJ
6. Brian Long – TF Riggs HS, South Dakota
7. Dan Lungo – Edison HS, NJ
8. Chris Guido – Bishop Ayr HS, NJ
9. CJ Hart – Bishop Ayr HS, NJ
10. AJ Scoppa – New Milford HS, NJ
11. Robert O’Neill – St. Francis Prep HS, NY
12. Sean Doherty – Littleston HS, PA
13. Frank Cem – Bishop Ayr HS, NJ


The college division was the largest division of the competition and it was packed with studs!! Amongst the 24 competitors was last year’s defending champion, Brian “Curls” Pascal of John Hopkins University. The defending champion jumped out to a quick start by taking first place in the first event – the 255 lb. hand-over-hand rope pull. “Curls” pulled the 255 lbs. 75 feet in 22.75 seconds!
The second event is when things got interesting. Monmouth University defensive lineman, Andrew “The Russian Bear” Sklover worked himself into a frenzy and then EXPLODED with 420 pounds on his back and completed the 60-yard Super Yoke carry in 18.8 seconds! This was the best Super Yoke performance of the entire event and there was a buzz amongst the competitors that the defending champ may be going down!
Luis Altimiranda had the best sled drag of the college division when he dragged 300 pounds 60 yards in an impressive 35.47 seconds on the brutal field turf surface! Andrew took second place in the sled drag with a 38.34-second performance and “Curls” got himself a solid third place finish with a 42.07-second drag.
But the thing that put “Curls” ahead of the pack – as it did last year – was his freakish ability to flip the tire! The kid explodes through a 600-pound tire like no one I’ve ever seen! He flipped the tire 5X in an unbelievable 12.84 seconds which ended up solidifying his second straight College Strongman title!
Here’s the final standings of the entire college division:

1st Place

Brian Pascal – John Hopkins University

2. Andrew Sklover – Monmouth University
3. David Kennedy – Monmouth University
4. Luis Altimiranda – Stony Brook University
5. Derek King – Florida Atlantic University
6. Brandon Glyck – Princeton University (tie)
6. Paul Polomski – Bryant University (tie)
7. Rich Brennan – Catholic University
8. Douglas Beyer – Trinity College
9. Adam Triglia – University of Pennsylvania
10. Kyle Keelen – Kean University
11. Matt Lowney – St. John Fisher College
12. Frank Spinelli – Springfield College
13. Daniel Rodriguez – American International College
14. Tom Kraus – Ramapo College
15. Chris Orzechowski – Rutgers University
16. Josh Griffith – Bucks County Community College
17. Nick Goodling – Albright College (tie)
17. LaSalle McDonald – William Paterson University (tie)
18. Zach Moore – Rhode Island University
19. Ryan Hoffer – Catholic University
20. James Cooper – Muhlenberg College
21. Andre McCalmont – Queens University (Canada)
22. Anthony Ferla – Temple University



First of all, I want to extend a HUGE “thank you” to all the pro athletes that showed up to compete in this event. These guys obviously don’t “have” to do this; yet they all came, competed their asses off and were more than happy to talk with the younger athletes, sign autographs, take pictures, etc. Having them there is also a huge “draw” and they definitely put “asses in the seats”, which enabled us to raise a lot of money for the charities.
The beauty of the pro athletes that showed up was that they didn’t just “show up”…they came to compete and WIN! You seriously couldn’t have written a better script for how the competition in this division unfolded!
The competition started out with defending champion, Mackenzy Bernadeau, jumping out to a quick lead by dominating the Super Yoke Carry! But then things got very interesting when Lance Ball shocked the world and took first place in the tire flip! This is when everyone realized that the pro division was wide open! Brian Cushing let out his frustrations on the hand-over-hand rope pull when he pulled 255 pounds 75 feet in 21.6 seconds for a first place finish (and the best rope pull of the entire event)! The final event for the pro guys was the torturous sled pull. Kevin Brock shook things up when he took first place in this event.
There was a hush amongst the crowd as the final points in the pro division were being tallied. The guys were exhausted and had no idea who had won!! One pro athlete was overheard saying, “Please don’t let it be a tie. I got nothin’ left in me.” Once all the points were totaled, a 3-way tie was revealed between Mackenzy Bernardeau, Kevin Brock and Brian Cushing!! I had to hunt the 3 finalists down to break the news to them…they would have to perform a head-to-head, 20-yard Prowler Push-off; winner take all!!

Hunting down the three finalists was no easy task…

Kevin had already taken his cleats off and was relaxing with the crowd. Big Mack was outside puking up a lung after his grueling sled drag. And Brian Cushing was sprawled out on the treatment table, getting his blood-filled quads massaged after his battle with the sled!

Cush gets some last-minute work before "overtime"

Although I know all three of these guys would have liked to call it a day, they all sucked it up (as they always do) and pushed their bodies past their limits one final time! This is the exact characteristic that has made every single one of these athletes so successful! With no energy left in their bodies, Big Mack, Kev and Cush all took the line, prowlers in hand, for a final, epic push! It was the longest 20 yards of their life. In the end, it was "Big Mack" that edged out Cush at the finish line, with Kevin Brock finishing shortly after Cush. Although they all deserved to win the event, their can be only one World's Strongest Athlete...and that man was the defending champion, Mackenzy Bernadeau!!
Here were the Top 5 in the Pro Division:

1st Place

Mackenzy Bernadeau – Carolina Panthers O-line

2. Brian Cushing – Houston Texans linebacker
3. Kevin Brock – Carolina Panthers tight end
4. Lance Ball – Indianapolis Colts running back
5. Greg Isdaner – Dallas Cowboys O-line

GREAT day! GREAT cause!