Thomas Cencich said he backed off a little bit. After all, the 52-year-old Littleton resident only had a deadlift of 429 pounds. He also took it easy with his squat of 446 pounds. Normally that’s where he would start, but he wanted to make the judges happy.
“I’m going really easy, really light to get something on the board,” the 1978 Evergreen High School graduate said.
Well, he was at Disney World after all. There were other things to do.
But when it came time for the bench press that was an entirely different story. For three-and-half years, the 5-foot-6, 181-pounder, who once owned the state record in the squat, bench press and total weightlifting divisions, has been chasing the world record for the Over-50 division. Now he has it.
Cencich recorded a bench press of 463 pounds at the North American Powerlifting Championships in Orlando, Fla., on July 5. Cencich’s mark came in the men’s 50-59 age division.
“Is it a big deal? I don’t know, but it feels kind of good to lift more than anybody ever had before for my age,” Cencich said.
An electrical engineer at Lockheed Martin for 30 years, Cencich has been competing in the men’s 50-59 age group since 2010 because rules state that a competitor enters the division based on the year of birth. When he couldn’t top the mark two years ago it was a bit disappointing, Cencich said. That’s not the case anymore.
Cencich, who owns the state record in the open men’s bench press class, put in the extra hours to get where he is now. The typical weightlifter, according to Cencich, maybe competes four times per year. Not him. It’s not uncommon for Cencich to be competing in anywhere from seven to 10 championships per year.
“I compete too often,” Cencich said. “There are very few masters that compete as much as I do.”
That’s because between competitions it’s mostly about recovery time, Cencich said. And it’s only at international championships, like the one in Orlando, Fla., that one can break world records.
Cencich, who works out twice a week along with lifting partner Jim Brookshire through the Rocky Mountain Lifting Club, knows that opportunities like the one that was presented to him in Orlando, Fla., are few and far between. But it’s because of workout partners such as Brookshire, he said, why Cencich had the chance that he did.
“You don’t get many opportunities to break a world record,” Cencich said.
But if you do the reward is sweet. Thomas Cencich knows that now.
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.