Last Sunday, nearly 100 football players along with their family members, friends, and coaches packed the Palmerton High School gymnasium for the 7th annual Blue Bomber Football Invitational Weightlifting Competition.

For the first time in the seven years of the competition, Tamaqua captured the team championship on the strength of five gold, two silver, and two bronze medals. The 33 team points earned by the Blue Raiders were enough to comfortably better Salisbury's total of 25 and Lehighton's 24 for the team title.

Four meet records were broken and one tied in the event and three of them were accomplished by TIMES NEWS area athletes. In the 14/15 age bracket, Palmerton's Josh Evans tied the 120 lb. class best ever and Salisbury's Dom Rossetti set a new standard in the 210 lb. class. In the 16-18 group, North Schuylkill's Jonathon Long set a new mark in the 150 lb. class on the strength of an outstanding bench press. Locally, Pete Conforti of Tamaqua squatted 450 and benched 275 to rewrite the record in the 210 lb. class, while Marian Catholic's Anthony Damiano smashed the previous record in the 225 lb. class by 25 pounds with lifts of 460 in the squat and 310 in the bench.

In addition to establishing a new record, North Schuylkill's Long was names the meets Most Outstanding Lifter in the 16-18 year old category for his lifts of 330 in the squat and 260 in the bench while weighing in at 150 lbs. In the 14-15 age group, top honors went to Mike Abraham of Salisbury with a 325 lb. squat and 250 lb. bench, while weighing just under 158 lbs.

TEAM STANDINGS

1. Tamaqua 33 points; 2. Salisbury 25; 3. Lehighton 24; 4. Palmerton 24; 5. Mahanoy Area 19;

Listed below are the medal winners with their overall total and squat and bench lifts in parenthesis. The lifts were performed 'raw' meaning no knee wraps, bench shirts, or wrist wraps.

14-15 year-old division

120-pound weight class

GOLD: Josh Evans, Palmerton 375 (195/180) *Tied Meet Record

SILVER: Nick Sander, Palmerton

BRONZE: Isaac George Palmerton

135 pounds

GOLD: Kris Knappenberger, Lehighton 370 (225/145)

SILVER: Josh Suveg, Panther Valley

BRONZE: Matt Althouse, Palmerton

150 pounds

GOLD: Austin Watson, Salisbury 475 (275/200)

SILVER: Alan Ramirez, Lehighton

BRONZE: Thomas Ruzicka, Lehighton

165 pounds

GOLD: Mike Abraham, Salisbury 575 (325/250)

SILVER: Darien Correa, Salisbury

BRONZE: Jacob Staines, Panther Valley

180 pounds

GOLD: Josh Kachmar, Mahanoy Area 560 (305/255)

SILVER: Tyler Skripko, Tamaqua

BRONZE: Eugene Kuchan, Panther Valley

195 pounds

GOLD: Trevor Skripko, Tamaqua 565 (350/215)

SILVER: Kyle Troch, Lehighton

BRONZE: Alex Ververeli, Salisbury

210 pounds

GOLD: Dom Rossetti, Salisbury 665 (385/280) * New Meet Record

SILVER: Jake Ditzler, Blue Mountian

BRONZE: Trent Clay, Salisbury

225 pounds

GOLD: Alex Zmyewski, Palmerton 555 (350/205)

SILVER: Rian Shubeck, Panther Valley

HWT

GOLD: Stephen Bolousky, Mahanoy Area 540 (315/225)

SILVER: Joe Damiano, Marian Catholic

BRONZE: Devin Murphy, Tamaqua

16-18 year-old division

150 pounds

GOLD: Jonathon Long, North Schuylkill 590 (330/260)

SILVER: Nick McArdle, Panther Valley

BRONZE: Steven Shanton, Lehighton

165 pounds

GOLD: Nick Hollenbach, Tamaqua 585 (330/255)

SILVER: Mitch Moyer, Lehighton

BRONZE: Jacob Peck, Palmerton

180 pounds

GOLD: Austin Forte, Mahanoy Area 650 (400/250)

SILVER: Josh Agosto, Lehighton

BRONZE: Mike Balliet, Lehighton

195 pounds

GOLD: Anthony Iacoviello, Tamaqua 690 (420/270)

SILVER: Aaron Cook, Palmerton

BRONZE: Zach Tidmore, Blue Mountain

210 pounds

GOLD: Pete Conforti, Tamaqua 725 (450/275) * New Meet Record

SILVER: Tyler Groner, Tamaqua

BRONZE: Joe Oriel, Lehighton

225 pounds

GOLD: Anthony Damiano, Marian Catholic 770 (460/310) * New Meet Record

SILVER: John Snyder, Palmerton

BRONZE: Gage Cara, Mahanoy Area

240 pounds

GOLD: Zach Breiner, Lehighton 690 (450/240)

SILVER: Steven Semmel, Palmerton

255 pounds

GOLD: Salvatore Merenda, Tamaqua 700 (375/325)

SILVER: J.T. Krincek, Pen Argyl

BRONZE: Colton Davidson, Lehighton

HW

GOLD: Gavin Sonntag, Salisbury 710 (450/260)

SILVER: Aaron Broomell, Mahanoy Area

BRONZE: Tyler Wolfe, Tamaqua