By Matt Popchock


You may not see them on Saturday afternoons in “Wide World of Sports,” or at ungodly hours on ESPN2, but you might have seen a few of the strongest young men in Beaver County fought for the title of best strongman in Monaca, PA recently.

The third annual Daman’s Strongman Competition was held adjacent to the Daman’s Strength Training facility, in which local fitness guru Rick Daman allowed a number of his customers, WPIAL athletes past and present, to show off their skills for a good cause.

Three divisions of competitors–the junior, high school, and college groupings–squared off in four events each: the tire flip, sled drags, hand-over-hand rope pull, and finally, something Daman calls “prowler sprints.”

Central Valley football sophomore Skyler Cron won the overall championship of the junior division; Beaver football senior Anthony Fidurski, who also participated and won as a sophomore, took the high school division title; and Youngstown State football junior Chris Elkins won the college division.

“Rick makes sure you’ve got the form down, so the strength comes naturally,” said Fidurski, who won the tire flip by turning over a roughly 500-pound tire three times in succession in just 7.07 seconds. “I knew where my strengths and weaknesses were. I’ve worked on picking up my strength.”

“I slipped up [in that event] the first time through, and when it started raining, I worried I wouldn’t get to make up for that. But I ended up getting that second chance, and that probably helped me win today,” added former Beaver Falls football standout Elkins, who won in a tiebreaker from former Tiger teammate Dean Dinnell. “They’re all tough events, and you just have to work your way through.”

All three champs, who took home very warrior-like prizes, seem to appreciate the warrior-like bodybuilding regimen they’ve established under the direction of Mr. Daman.

“It’s made me stronger, faster, and put my mind right. It’s given me more opportunities on the football field, and everywhere else,” Cron said of the grass-roots gym.

They were joined on this day by one of their own: former Rochester and Penn State football standout Derek Moye, who will soon report to training camp for the New Orleans Saints.

“Entire towns shut down for their athletes, and all these towns support one another,” Moye said of the student-athlete experience in Beaver County. “Hopefully that support continues throughout my career, because it’s been a great blessing.”

Check out the full interview with Moye, along with all the results of Saturday’s events, courtesy of Rubino Productions.

According to initial reports, the event raised around $2,000 for “Kenzie’s Krew” in care of the Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania.


Elkins will see another accomplished Beaver County football player when Youngstown State heads to Heinz Field Sept. 1 to help Pitt open its season…

Panther running back Rushel Shell was named the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Male Athlete of the Year over the weekend. When I bumped into beat writer/recruiting analyst Kevin Gorman at the Darrelle Revis Skills and Drills Clinic, I did not have the presence of mind to ask him about this. However, I’ll take a leap of faith this is one of the easiest decisions their sports department ever made.

In order: Shell broke Mike Vernillo’s WPIAL career rushing record, broke Billy Sims’ national record with his 39th consecutive 100-yard performance, then, in that same Class AAA district quarterfinal loss to Franklin Regional, broke Jeremiah Young’s PIAA career rushing record with 9,078 all-time yards. He ended with 2,312 as a senior.

Easily the most scrutinized prospect in the WPIAL Class of ’12, Shell entered Oakland as the No. 11 high school football player in the country, regardless of position, according to MaxPreps.

If you feel like reliving some history, here’s a look back at when Shell broke down Vernillo’s door Sept. 23 at Tony Dorsett Stadium against Mount Lebanon:

(Special thanks to the Beaver County Times for their contribution to this post.)

(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)

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