Chaz-man Not Scared Of Thunder--or Ice, Or Zap . . .

Millersville's Hero Takes Shot At Tv's Titans

October 16, 1991|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer
The American Gladiators have Nitro, but Millersville has the Chazmanian Devil.

Tonight, the Chaz-man, aka Charles "Chaz" Riddle, goes muscle-to-muscle with the real gladiators -- hulks with names like Zap, Thunder and Ice -- in a quest to capture the coveted title of "American Gladiator Live Tour National Champion."

Riddle, a 27-year-old health club employee and sometime stand-up comic, has already survived the tryout phase of the first-ever American Gladiators national tour, a spinoff of the TV show. The tour, which started this month, will hit 100 cities before ending next May.

About 400 would-be super heroes competed in the Baltimore tryout, held at the Baltimore Arena a month ago. Fewer than half made it throughthe first two of four physical tests. Of those who completed all four, Riddle was one of only four men, four women and four alternates selected to move on to tonight's contest, scheduled for 8 p.m. at the arena.

Riddle is 6 feet tall and weighs 205 pounds. He's broad in the shoulder, narrow at the hips, with bulging arm muscles and not a trace of fat. As well-built as he is, he's a far cry from the behemothGladiators, who look as though they could bounce bullets off their comic-book physiques.

Still, Riddle has no doubts about his chancesat such events as The Joust (Gladiators and challengers go at it with what appear to be giant Q-Tips), Atlasphere (opponents get inside huge metal spheres and try to roll over each other), The Wall (challengers scale a wall with a Gladiator in hot pursuit) and Hang Tough (contestants swing from rings to a series of platforms while Gladiators try to knock them off).

"I'm looking forward to The Wall and Hang Tough," he says. "I think I'll be good at those."

Tonight's contest will not be televised, nor is it an audition for the syndicated television show, broadcast on 160 stations nationwide; all the shows forthis season have already been taped in Hollywood.

The tour is a promotional gimmick that gives winners a shot at $50,000 in cash and prizes, and the chance to compete next year for the national title in Las Vegas, said Maren Blum, assistant public relations director for the Baltimore Arena. That final competition will be televised nationally.

Riddle hopes to be there. "I want to be televised. I want to show the world how mighty I am," he says. "I'm getting my 15 minutes of fame."

A Howard County native, former high school football player and ex-Marine, Riddle moved to Millersville three months ago with his wife, Sharon, who is expecting their first child in December.

Always interested in sports, Riddle turned physical fitness into a career in 1986 when he left a job in a shoe store to go to work at a health club. Today, he manages and instructs at Harbor Nautilus in Baltimore, where he lifts weights for two hours every morning.

Except for an occasional run up the stairs at the Harbor Nautilus building, he hasn't added to that routine to train for the Gladiator contest. Hedoesn't think he needs to.

Riddle already has been through the tryouts twice -- he went to the New York competition before he knew theGladiators were coming to Baltimore. "I did great," he says. "I wentthrough all the events, but I wasn't picked as a finalist. It's verysubjective, like a prettiest baby contest."

The tryouts, which have attracted hundreds of people in every city the Gladiators have visited, consist of four physical tests: push-ups (45 for men, 25 for women, in 60 seconds); a 40-yard -- in 5 seconds (6 for women); wind sprints in 15 and 17 seconds, respectively; and a game of "Powerball," in which you try to stuff a ball in a trash can while a Gladiator tries to stop you.

Riddle said the tryout was no sweat. He's just as cool about tonight's impending battle.

"The butterflies will probably start early Wednesday morning. But I played football for many years, and once you are out there you forget the crowds," he says. "The best thing to do is just take (the Gladiators) one at a time. If you let emotions get into it, you're dead."

Copyright The Baltimore Sun

Tenino players listen to coach Jeff Zenisek (right) following a 21-14 nonleague loss to Hockinson Wednesday night in Tenino. 

Former CWU coach to take over Tenino

HIGH SCHOOLS: Former Central Washington coach Jeff Zenisek hired to coach Tenino football

MEG WOCHNICK; Staff writer | • Published March 23, 2010

Jeff Zenisek, who coached the Jon Kitna-led Central Washington football team to a share of the NAIA Division II title in 1995, is Tenino's new football coach.

The Tenino school board approved at the district’s recent board meeting.

Zenisek, who last coached in college in 2001, has a strong coaching background in high school and college.

He spent five years as the head coach at Central Washington (1992-97), four as an assistant coach at Northern Iowa, a Division I Football Championship Series program (former I-AA), and five as the head coach at Division II Western State College in Colorado. He most recently was defensive coordinator at Mercer Island High. Prior to joining Central Washington in 1992, he was football coach and athletic director at Orcas Island.

In addition to his coaching duties, Zenisek will become Tenino’s athletic director, Tenino principal Jeff Johnson said. Current AD Randy Kramer plans to retire from athletics and become a full-time teacher.

“It’s a good deal,” Johnson said. “The school district made it a value and priority that the coach be in the hallways during the school days … in the classroom, weight room and be a positive role model.”

Zenisek replaces Kevin Ridout, who resigned in November. Tenino went 0-9 in 2009 and last made the state playoffs in 2007.


Wanted: Another chance, and backups
GAIL WOOD; Staff writer 
Published September 02, 2010

Pete Fulton finally has the starting lineup he's been hoping for as coach at Northwest Christian.

And Jeff Zenisek is finally back coaching.
If Northwest Christian doesn’t make it to the playoffs this season, it won’t be because of a lack of talent.

But with only 15 players turning out, Fulton will likely have to go with 11 two-way starters.

“Our starting group is impressive,” Fulton said. “If they can stay healthy the whole year, we can make it to
the playoffs.”

Zenisek, after sitting out of coaching for five years, is the new head coach at Tenino, taking over in place of
Kevin Ridout. Zenisek coached Central Washington to the NAIA championship in 1995 with John Kitna at

“My daughter was a freshman in high school, and in college coaching you’re moving all the time,” Zenisek
said. “I wanted to stay put. I was a family man and I loved it.”

With his daughter now a freshman in college, Zenisek is back on the job, aiming to rebuild the program at

“It’s good to be back coaching,” Zenisek said.
Josh Hatfield, at 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds, is the cornerstone of Northwest Christian’s offensive and
defensive lines. He has the size and quickness to be an impact player.

“He’s really something special,” Fulton said. “He’s smart. He’s got quick feet.”

Hatfield has a sore Achilles’ tendon, limiting his practice.
To avoid injuries, Fulton has had his players practice without pads.

“We’ve got to be careful,” he said.
At quarterback, Ben Conner is back after suffering a high ankle sprain in the third game last year and
missing the rest of the season.

“He’s back strong,” Fulton said. “He’s really gifted. He does everything well.
“Whatever we ask, he can do. We just hope he stays healthy.”
Steven Dunn is a power running back who could make Fulton’s spread offense explosive.At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Dunn has the speed and power to break big plays.
“He’s the tailback of the old fullback style,” Fulton said. “He’s Larry Csonka. He’s really good. At the skill
positions, we’re set.”
Because of a lack of depth on the line, Fulton opted for a pistol spread offense. Without a tight end, he’ll
spread the field.

“We’ll go with four wideouts because we have only five linemen,” Fulton said.

At Tenino, Zenisek has seven returning starters on offense and five on defense. Brad Engebreth, a 6-3, 255-
pound senior, and Brian Bender, a 6-2, 240-pound senior, are keys on the offensive line. But Engebreth and
Bender are inexperienced, with both in their second year of football.
Brandon Pettit, a senior running back who became a starter three games into last season, will again be
Tenino’s go-to guy. Derek Mozzone and Ryan Schlesser are sure-handed receivers.

“It took a while to figure out what we were,” Zenisek said. “We’ll spread people out. It’s more of a wing
spread. We’ll change it up. We’ve got a little speed to get outside. We’re packaging things.”

Zack Chamberlain is Tenino’s quarterback and the playmaker Zenisek needs to make his offense work.
Zenisek is glad to be back in coaching.

“Coaching makes you young again,” Zenisek said. “Coaching is coaching no matter what level you’re at."