Family affair for weightlifting duo
Mike and Joe Ferrantelli look like they will have the opportunity to do something few, if any, athletes have ever done. The New Port Richey residents may be going to the Czech Republic to compete as father and son in a world weightlifting competition. Many remarkable athletes have never had such an opportunity. But two West Pasco strongmen may have that chance.Mike, 46, has won numerous powerlifting national and international titles over the years. Dad is just getting into it. His dad, Joe Ferrantelli, 69, took third at the 2012 Masters Bench Press World Championship in April. He and Mike went to USAPL Bench Press Nationals. The father came to help his son and the technical president convinced the elder lifter to try lifting as part of a father-son team. They could be the first father-son team to compete in a world championship. The decision happened during a meet Aug. 25-26 in Palm Springs, Calif. Mike won the 231-pound class and had a 573-pound bench. Joe won his 231-pound class with a token lift of 143 pounds. He can bench more than 400 pounds but only tried a bare minimum to win his age group. This opportunity was a surprise for father and son. "He was planning to help me,'' Mike said. "They have wanted to do this for some time. "I felt awesome. I did the 573 pounds on my second attempt. I missed the 628-pound world record on my third attempt. I was very happy with the way the competition went." The younger Ferrantelli has major responsibilities that leave him doing heavy lifting in so many ways. "Everything about it (the opportunity) was perfect," he said. "Especially being a full-time parent, full-time employee and full-time college student.'' Mike, 46, is a captain in the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Mike will graduate with a bachelor's degree in criminology in December from Saint Leo University. He also has custody of his daughter, Alexys, 10. He and girlfriend and training partner, Kelly Leggett, take care of his daughter. Kelly is a life-long resident of West Pasco and is a massage therapist as well as weightlifter. Leggett is a key figure in Ferrantelli's ability to multi task. "I am very blessed to have my soul mate, who is my best friend and training partner,'' Mike said. "It's tremendous." Mike was born in Long Island, N.Y., and moved to New Port Richey in 1969. He graduated from Gulf High School and joined the Sheriff's Office in 1985. He started competing in 1986. He owns 10 national championships, five world championships and took second place in a world competition. Most of the championships were in the 220-pound class. "Last year, they changed the weight classes to mirror the Olympic weightlifting classes,'' he said. "I am in the 231-pound class. I now weigh 234 pounds." Father and son will find out Oct. 31 when the United States Powerlifting will choose the competitors. The meet will be in April, 2013, in the Czech Republic. Mike Ferrantelli feels he and his father are uniquely fortunate to have this opportunity. "It's amazing on several levels,'' he said. "No father-son has ever competed at the highest level. It's pretty amazing that we will be the first regardless of sport to do that."