Elite #3 Charlie Telesco
Updated: Apr 21
Charlie Telesco Perhaps no one in the history of Diablo had more of an impact on the pulse of the club during their run than Charlie Telesco. Charlie came to us in his early 20's. I had been trying to recruit him for a time. I ran in to him at APF Senior Nationals where he had just bombed in the squat with 633. A teenage girl from Rick Hussey's Big Iron Gym had just squatted the same weight. I approached Charlie and asked if he was finally ready to make the 1.5 hour drive to Diablo. He was and the rest is history.
During Charlie's first year I grouped him with Steve Flaming, Jeff Irion and a few others. This group soon began to refer to themselves as "Team V." If I tell that whole story I won't have room for anything else. Let's just leave it at the "V" was the initial of a guy who stalked Diablo online and was quite the character. Steve was on his way to Elite or had already made it. Regardless, let's just say his personality was already developed. Jeff was young and green like Charlie. Team V flourished in the mid era madness that was Diablo. I saw a unique potential in Charlie so I soon pulled him from that group and placed him in the main group...the “experimental" group. Here he went from a best total of 1600 ish to 2400 in under two years.
Monday was a combination of DE bench day and shirt work. On these days we never handled less than 650 and we did this for 5-8 doubles. We pulled every Tuesday...in every manner possible. Thursday we would do hours of lats and triceps. Saturday was DE SQ day and we always "worked up." I don't think there was a Saturday for several years where we didn't have at least 800 on our backs at some point during the sets. We did tons of accessory work on all the training days. Our group had a rule...if the weight on the bar was raised everyone had to take the weight. No exceptions. These were grueling years of training where everyday we were seemingly trying to kill each other. All of us were close to or chasing 1000 sq, 700 bench and 700 deadlift.
Charlie liked to always push the pace and make life even worse for us. I vividly recall one DE squat day where we had decided to take a deload week and use just 4 plates (425) on the safety squat bar. The idea was we were all so fried that getting in some work with no bands and chains and a reasonable amount of volume would help us get back on track and feeling better. We were supposed to stop at 8 sets. Charlie decided to do 9 so I decided to do 10 and it was on. The other two guys in our group, Dayan Neely and Dalen Randa stopped at 12, refusing to give in to the madness as we had specifically decided on deloading. We chased each other to over 25 sets, neither wanting to give in. At one point Charlie yells at me, "Why won't you die old man?" To this day I still laugh thinking about that. I don't think he just wanted to get thru the training, I think in that moment he actually meant it.
To me that day personified Charlie's run with the club. Always more, always pushing, always challenging. Searching for the boundaries and then trying to run head first thru any barrier. His time in the sport, or specifically that time with the main group he self described as "more of a sprint than a marathon." The young man who entered Diablo was unrecognizable in every possible way a few short years later. From recent college graduate to grizzled national level contender in a span of just 3-4 years. Now 7 years retired from the sport Charlie leaves a legacy of a 975 squat, 683 bench and a 733 deadlift. World class numbers by someone who by force of will became a world class competitor, lifter and teammate.