Meet Team Connecticut

Nikki Dorval  ("Coach Nikki")

DIVISION: Sub-Masters 35-40 / 132 lbs Class



  • 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation

  • World Champion - Team Strict Curl, 2017 & 2018

  • World Champion - Team Deadlift, 2018

  • World Record - Strict Curl 

  • Nationally Ranked 6th - Strict Curl

  • State of CT Record - Strict Curl, Deadlift, Bench Press


  • Strict Curl

  • Deadlift


Coach Nikki, a reformed Accountant and world-traveler, transitioned into the health and fitness industry as strength, nutrition and flexibility transformed from a passionate hobby into a full-time profession. The Strength Academy, LLC was established in 2017, where Coach Nikki offers clients an opportunity to take themselves to the next level with customized training programs, nutrition programs, yoga classes and life coaching sessions to meet the individual's goals at the Strength Academy, LLC in Cheshire, CT.


Coach Nikki is Connecticut’s 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation Co-Chair – a drug-free, competitive powerlifting group. The Strength Academy hosted 3 World Sanctioned meets in its first year, breaking World and State records across a variety of divisions. In October 2018, Coach Nikki set the Strict Curl World Record at the 100% RAW Worlds Powerlifting Meet in Virginia Beach, VA.

Coach Nikki is a certified Ideal Protein Weight Loss Coach. Coupling nutrition with physical exercise, Nikki works with her clients to rapidly see and feel the benefits of this lifestyle-changing, educational weight-loss programs. Coach Nikki also developed a "Building a Healthier You" 4-session virtual series focusing on nutrition and the human body, mind and spirit.

Balancing strength with healthy muscle, joints, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue, Coach Nikki is a certified Yoga instructor (Yoga Alliance RYT-200) and currently offers Yoga classes at the Strength Academy.

Coach Nikki obtained her Holistic Life Coach certification and Offers different perspectives to life's current circumstances. Nikki helps her clients re-align their lives with their goals and desires across all aspects of life (Health, Home, Vocation, Finances, Recreation, Relationships, Personal Development and Life Purpose). Using various holistic Coaching tools, Nikki offers others the opportunity to find a greater sense of self, ultimately finding a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment in our daily lives.

Amy Traver

DIVISION: Masters 50-54 / 198 lbs Class



  • 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation

  • World Champion - Team Strict Curl 2018

  • World Champion - Team Deadlift 2018

  • World Record - Deadlift 2018

  • World Record - Strict Curl 2018

  • State of CT Record - Powerlifting 2018

  • State of CT Record - Deadlift 2018

  • State of CT Record - Strict Curl 2018

  • State of CT Record - Flat Bench 2018

  • Nationally Ranked 3rd - Strict Curl 2018

  • Nationally Ranked 12th - Deadlift 2018

  • Nationally Ranked 20th - Full Power


2017 Connecticut State Championship

  • 2018 American Challenge

  • 2018 World Powerlifting Championships


Amy has been training for competitive powerlifting since the spring of 2017, where she competed in her first 100% raw meet in East Long Meadow, Massachusetts. Under the direction of Coach Patrick Russo, Amy has garnered multiple state and world records in her age/weight class, as well as being named to Competition Team Connecticut for strict curl and deadlift. Amy trains at Strength Academy five days a week, where she enjoys the camaraderie of being a member of Team Connecticut.

When not in the gym, Amy Traver works at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, CT, where she is a Visual Arts Teacher and Humanities Department Chair

Amy appreciates the support of her family as she competes. Her biggest supporters are her husband of 27 years, Wayne and her Children, Hannah and Christian.

Lesley DeAngelo


DIVISION: Masters 45-49/148 IB Class



  • 2018 World Champion - Team CT - Strict Curl

  • 2018 World Champion - Team CT - Deadlift

  • 2018 CT State Record - Full Power

  • 2018 CT State Record - Strict Curl

  • 2018 CT State Record - Bench

  • 2018 CT State Record - Deadlift

  • 2018 Nationally Ranked Top 5 - Strict Curl

  • 2018 Nationally Ranked Top 10 - Deadlift

  • 2018 Nationally Ranked Top 10 - Full Power

  • 2017 CT State Record - Strict Curl


  • 2018 World Powerlifting Championship

  • 2018 American Challenge CT

  • 2018 New England Strict Curl Championship

  • 2017 Connecticut State Championship


I began to train for competitive powerlifting in October 2017 after meeting Coaches Patrick Russo and Nikki Dorval in June 2017. My journey consists of training 4-5 days a week in an incredible program led by experienced coaches at the Strength Academy in Cheshire. This, along with the support from my gym family, has helped me grow both physically and mentally. While the root of my strength comes from the way I was raised to always be the best that I can be, my greatest strength comes from my family who empower me with courage. I work as an administrative assistant for Cheshire public schools and live in Southington, CT with my husband and biggest supporter, Jim, and our twin sons, Kyle and Ryan. I am humbled and honored to be a member of Team CT and the Strength Academy in Cheshire and look forward to continued success with the Team.

Luca Leonetti

DIVISION: Masters 40-45/242 IB Class



  • CT Record Holder for 40-45/200


  • Strict Curl


I have been married to my amazing wife, Gina, for 14 years. We have two beautiful daughters, Sophia and Olivia. I am the director of National Accounts for Waste Management. I also dabble in real estate. Family, work and my real estate take up most of my schedule, but I always make time for my curl training.


Dave Hinckley ("Demo Dave")

DIVISION: Masters 70+74/181



  • 2018 Deadlift 70-74 181 weight class 259 lbs

  • Member of 2018 World Championship Strict Curl and Deadlift Teams


  • Strict Curl

  • Deadlift


I was a retired old man looking for something to do. I met Coach Russo and Coach Nikki in early 2017; they were inspiration behind my taking a risk and becoming a competitor at the age of 71. “Demo Dave” was created by a need for renovations in the gym and I was happy to help. With the renovations and improvements every time people come in something is in a different spot. Got to keep ‘em guessing!

Joe Freni ("King of Curls")


DIVISION: 35/165 and 181 classes



  • 2015 d’s Gym Challenge age group winner

  • 2015 NPC East Coast Cup & NE Championships

  • 2016 100% RAW Powerlifting Organization World Championships : Overall winner 165 lb open class Strict Curl

  • 2016 featured article on overcoming depression through bodybuilding/powerlifting & nutrition (February 2016

  • 2016 TRAIN Magazine featured article

  • 2016 NPC CT Grand Prix top 5 placing

  • 2017 100% RAW Powerlifting Organization National Championships : Overall winner 165 lb open class Strict Curl

  • 2017 C.T. Fletcher International Strict Curl Powerlifting World Championships : Overall Winner (141 lb curl at 161 lb Body weight)

  • 2017 100% RAW Powerlifting Org. Iron Man Challenge : Overall winner 165 lb open class Strict Curl

  • 2017 SuperLeague Athlete

  • 2017 Harbinger Fitness & C.T. Fletcher Brand Ambassador

  • 2017 100% RAW Powerlifting Judge

  • 2018 Named Cover Athlete for the C.T. Fletcher Strict Curl World Championship 

  • 2018 100% RAW Powerlifting Org. American Challenge – Overall best curler of the meet

  • 2018 100% RAW Powerlifting Org. World Championships – 1st Place Sub Masters 181 lb class

  • 100% RAW Powerlifting Massachusetts 165 & 181 open class


  • Strict Curl



Growing up, I played every sport imaginable, and I was the worst player on every team, the weakest, most uncoordinated, and least athletic, and I was also bullied heavily as a kid. Once I was old enough, my dad got me into weightlifting and I instantly took to it, excelled at it, and loved that I was in control of my own progress, it gave me more confidence and made more friends through it and I punted all other sports that I had been playing as I was poor at all of them and had no passion for them.


I Flash forward to today… I.T. guy by day, Powerlifter, bodybuilder, and dog shower by night. I had always wished there was an event that I could compete in to take advantage of my love of “arms day” and always knew I’d never be the biggest or best in squat, deadlifts, or bench. I found strict curl powerlifting through the c.t. fletcher “My Magnificent obsession” documentary showing him strict curl powerlifting & I immediately looked up any organization that offered it & signed up as quickly as I could in the 100% RAW Powerlifting organization and I’ve been hooked ever since, traveling the world to compete against the best in the world and continuing to follow my dream of being the best in the world.

Pat Douglas ("Bro")


DIVISION: Masters and Open, 181



Sub-Masters Strict Curl world record

Masters strict curl American record

Open strict curl state record, sub-masters and Masters state records full power.


Strict Curl

Full Power


I am a Jesuit brother at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska doing vocation work. I am assistant powerlifting coach at Creighton Prep High School and head coach of a powerlifting team in Omaha.

Ken Berry


DIVISION: 65-69 Age 220/242 lbs 


  • Strict Curl CT Records 64-69 and 65-69

  • 2018 Worlds - 2nd Place 65-69 

  • 2018 Worlds - 1st Place Strict Curl Team Member

  • 2018 Worlds - 1st Place Deadlift 65-69


  • Strict Curl

  • Deadlift


Self employed restaurateur. I've been powerlifting for two years.

Tiffany Barney


DIVISION:  45-49 Class 123lb


  • CT State Record 

  • 40-44 Class 132 - Strict Curl 27.5 kg (60.6 lbs) - 3/2018

  • 45-49 Class 123 - Strict Curl 29 kg (63.9 lbs) - 6/2018

  • 45-49 Class 123 - Bench Press 45 kg (99.2 lbs)


  • Strict Curl


I am a mom of 2 and run a Packaging, Printing and Display Company for the past 23 years. I started powerlifting approx 1 year ago. After my 1st meet in 2017 I was hooked! Between beating my personal records and coming together as Team CT to reach our goals has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that not long ago your body couldn't do what it just did!

Andrew Harduby




  • CT State Record 


  • Strict Curl


born and raised in Meriden CT, I started lifting weights in elementary school, off-and-on throughout the years, until life threatening health issues landed me in the hospital. At that time, I decided to take my health back. In January 2016 I met Coach Russo & Coach Nikki, started with the Strength Academy, haven’t looked back. To date I have lost 160lbs.


I graduated Platt High School in 1995 and the CT School of Broadcasting in 2000. My other passions include music, classic muscle cars and animals. I started breeding working-line German Shepherds in 2007 and have owned four Shepherds (my female, Athena Ariella Vom Nordosten Haus, has competed twice in the German Show Ring) and one Rottweiler.

Marcel Duprey


DIVISION:  Masters


  • Connecticut State Record  Strict Curl

  • New England Championship 1st Place Strict Curl

  • Empire State Strict Curl Open 1st Place Strict Curl

  • World Strict Curl Championship 3rd Place Strict Curl

  • Team First Place World Championship Strict Curl


  • Strict Curl


I have been in my own business for over 30 years. I started out doing fiberglass repairs for manufacturers, contractors and suppliers of bath products. Expanded over the years to include remodeling and selling. I closed most of it up and just do repairs on fiberglass tubs and showers.

I have three great kids(2 boys 1 girl) and six  grandchildren (all girls) Happily married to my wife for 12 years.

I was introduced into Strength Academy in 2017 as a health and weight loss alternative. I can’t describe the positive effect this gym has had on my life. Coach Russo and Coach Nikki are the best people. They bring out what they know you can do ("Believe Or Leave"). I did believe and am a better person for it. The team they formed is no less than the best because we’re all together for each other. I’m thankful and proud to be a part of this #1 team in the WORLD.