The start of the 2014 American Open championships started off with some highs and lows. In the 53 kilo weight class we had two lifters. Last year’s bronze medalist Samantha Wright and this years Youth National Champion and Youth American Record Holder Kaija Bramwell. First up was Sam with an opener of 67 kilos in the Snatch. She made it easy. Next up was Kaija with 68 kilos one kilo more than her American Record of 67 kilos. She made it very easily. On her second attempt with 69 kilos Sam rushed the lift and missed it. We decided to bump her to 70 kilos to give her a little more time and move up on the board. She had a tremendous pull on the third attempt but put a little too much on it and missed it behind. She was credited with 67 kilos on her opener. We called for 71 for the Second attempt of Kaija Bramwell. She had a great pull on the bar however while it was overhead she tucked her butt underneath her and lost her balance and had to drop the bar. We knew that it was a minor technical skew so we decide to go for 73 kilos on her third attempt. She had a powerful pull and over pulled the lift just by a hair. She has made this weight in training and will make it in the competition soon. She was credited with 68 and a New American Record.
Going into the Clean & Jerks Samantha was first up with 83 kilos this is one kilo heavier than her previous heaviest made weight in competition. Sam has had great training leading into this meet and was routinely making 85-88 kilo Clean & Jerks. Unfortunately, She missed her opener with 83 kilos, it cut her air off and she was not able to recover to make the Jerk. We moved her up to 84 kilos to buy her more time. On the Second attempt she was again unsuccessful in the Clean and Jerk due to losing her air after she stood up with the Clean. Regrettable the Third Attempt with 84 kilos proved to be just a little too much on this day and despite a great effort and fight was unable to make the lift.
Kaija Bramwell had made a goal after the Senior National Championships that she would open with the New American Records in the Youth Division and make them. She had already established a new Youth Record in the Snatch with 68 kilos. Kaija opened with 86 kilos in the Clean and Jerk and nailed it. This was a New Youth American Record in the Clean & Jerk (86 kilos) and Total (154 kilos). Every attempt after this one would be a New American Record Attempt. We called for 89 kilos and she made it another Youth American Record in the Clean & Jerk and Total (157 kilos). For her last attempt we looked at the board and made a decision to try to push it a little and go for 94 kilos. We had already solidified our primary goal of breaking the American Records. This was her last competition as a Youth Lifter and wanted to go out on a high note. The second goal was to hit a 162 kilo Total. This would tentatively put her in a position to receive Elite Athlete Funding by the USA Weightlifting. And thirdly, making the 94 kilo Clean & Jerk would have put her on the podium for a Clean & Jerk medal. It was a big jump but she had made 93 kilos and training and we were banking on the adrenaline factor pushing her to the next level. She had an extremely long wait in the back after her 89 kilo lift and this was a whole new experience for Kaija. She went out for the lift with extreme determination and confidence. A such a young age Kaija shows great composure and focus. However, that weight proved to be a little out of her reach that day. All in all she broke five Youth American Records and finished in the top ten of very competitive class. The overall depth and totals at this competition where higher than the Senior National Championships. Not bad for the youngest lifter in her class. Next up the Junior Nationals where she looks to know prove herself as one of the best Junior lifters in America.
Saturday we saw Craig Rintoul lift in the 85 kilo B Session. Craig came out and hit a very successful 112 kilo Snatch on his opener. On his Second Attempt the call was for 117 kilos. He did not finish the pull on the lift and left it out front. He came back confident and corrected the 117 kilo lift on his Third Attempt. Going into the Clean & Jerk Craig opened with 142 kilos for a good lift. The call was to jump to 147 kilos on the Second Attempt. The Clean was good put cut his air off and Craig was not able to recover enough to put a full effort into the Jerk. After discussing the options we felt that repeating at 147 as opposed to jumping up to 150 was not much different. Our goal this day was to go for 152 kilos so it was within his desired goal. Craig refocused and went out for the lift with a great amount of energy and aggression. He had been sick for a couple of weeks prior to this competition and the heaviest weight he had Cleaned was 145 kilos. He caught the 150 kilos deep into the squat. He fought to stand up and cleared his throat for a shot at the Jerk. He dipped and drove but the bar drifted a little he got it over head but with a slight press out in his right arm. 2 to 1 no lift. Given the situation leading up to this meet I knew that if Craig had one more week back from his illness to be at full strength the results would have been different. I am proud of Craig with his training and determination. In sport like in life you have to deal with all situations and neither are fair. No excuses just go lift.
All of our athletes have a lot to take away from this competition and all have things to work on. Next up are two other lifters that we are working with Chris Douglas in the 77 kilo A Session from Paramount Barbell Club out of Seattle, WA and 85 kilo A Session James Ellis out of Scottsdale, Arizona. Tomorrow we have Cody King in the 105+ kilo A Session. Good luck gentleman.
Videos will come later!