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REMINDERVILLE -- A village police officer flexed some muscle and took home the gold in weightlifting at this year's Ohio Police and Fire Games in Canton June 11 through 16, coming within 10 pounds of the state record in the competition.
Det. Sgt. Marco Berquist lifted 520 pounds in the squat, 540 pounds in the dead weight and bench pressed 265 pounds, for a total of 1,425 pounds -- within 10 pounds of the state record in the aggregate competition.
Each contestant gets three chances in each of the categories.
Berquist said he didn't do as well as he had hoped, particularly in the bench press.
"I was kind of surprised [at the win] because I didn't get the weight I wanted," he said. "I did 365 in my first attempt. I had done 385 in practice, in warmups, and had I gone with that I would have broken the record. But in my second attempt, I tried 400 and didn't make it, and you can't go back down [in weight] with your next attempt."
Berquist says the competition is as much about mental strength as physical.
Still, he was happy to take home first place, and hopes to compete in next year's event.
"It would be nice to have that under my belt, a record," he said.
Berquist participated in the games in 2005, the same year he joined the Reminderville Police Department. That year he competed in jiujitsu, weightlifting and wrestling, taking second place in each of the three.
Being a peace officer is "a good fit for me," Berquist said.
"It was something I could see myself doing as a career," he said. "I enjoy the investigative aspect of police work. I enjoy helping people resolve an issue, whether it's through resolution of a conflict or restitution. I also enjoy helping with other police services."
Reminderville Police Chief Jeff Buck said Berquist showed well against 32 other officers from across the state.
"He puts in a lot of training and hard work, both on his [personal] time and as an officer," Buck said. "We like to be No. 1 in all our fields so we can better serve our residents."
Buck says Berquist is "a good example for the other officers."
"He's a guy our younger officers look up to," the chief said.