The 2014 National Championships was at the Grand American Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. This was a very nice hotel with ample room for both Warm Up and Competition Area. Loaders where many and doing a very efficient job. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to National events and athletes sometimes even the National Champs themselves had to load during the competition. The training room was held at a Crossfit across the street and was very convenient consider how many lifters there were. This being the largest National Championships in the history of US Weightlifting. There are positives and negatives to this.
Positives: There are more fans and more people interested in Weightlifting then ever before and this is a good thing despite how where they are coming from. Many weight classes had a good level of depth that we have not seen in a while especially in the women’s classes.
Negatives: With so many lifters the competition was split into a two platform meet dividing peoples attention as what which sessions to watch. I feel this takes away from the athletes and makes it difficult for fans to watch all the sessions live. There were many athletes and coaches whom don’t know many of the technical rules or unwritten rules of the Warm Up Room. The inexperience showed on the platform with many bomb outs and way to many missed lifts by all.
All in all it was a great venue and I would come back to this place for a National level competition. I complete 180 from last year.
Blake Edwards competed in the 77 kilo B Session. This was Blake’s first Senior National Championships and just missed the cut for the A session. His weigh in time was at 7 am and Lift time was at 9 am. He was the first group of the day on Saturday. Warm Ups went extremely well and we were very confident to open with 115 kilos on his opening attempt. Blake over pulled his opener and missed behind. He came back and then cut it short and left it out in front. On his third attempt he regrouped and made it very easily. In the Clean & Jerk Blake had great warm ups. He opened with 145 kilos and made it very easily. On his second attempt, we chose to take 150 kilos, he missed it the Jerk a little out front. He came back with 150 on his Third Attempt and made it for a 265 kilo Total. This was a National Competition PR for Clean & Jerk and Total. We had expectations of a 270–275 kilo Total. A little off our mark but nothing that can’t be fixed.
In 53 kilo weight class we had two lifters, Sam Wright and Kaija Bramwell. This class was very deep and roughly 6-7 girls had the opportunity to medal. Kaija Bramwell was the current Youth American Record Holder and resent Youth National Champion. We knew she was a long shot at a medal and our goal was to break her own American Records. Kaija opened with 61 kilos in the Snatch and just missed it out front. All her pervious Warm Ups looked good and I made the decision to go up instead of repeating the same weight. We went for 64 kilos on the her second attempt and she made it very easily. On her third attempt we called for 67 kilo and a New Youth American Record. Kaija went out and nailed it. She has broken the record now twice in the last three months. In the Clean & Jerk Kaija opened with 81 kilos the most that she has ever opened with. She made the lifting very easily. On her Second Attempt she took 84 kilos and also made it very easily. For her Third Attempt we called for 86 kilo a 1 kilo improvement upon her already existing Youth American Record of 85 kilos. She made a very difficult Clean and during the Jerk had a very slight elbow press out and was called a no lift. Kaija finished with a 151 kilo Total tying her Youth American Total. Kaija is consistently improving and with more training she has a shot at the Junior World Team next year.
Samantha had very good training coming into this meet and was a girl we were looking at to make some noise for medal contention. Sam opened up with 67 kilos in the Snatch and made the lift. Our next attempt was with 70 kilos it was a miss out front. The third attempt was also a miss at 70 kilos. Her timing was a little off and the lifts were not there this day. In the Clean & Jerk Sam had some difficulty finding her groove and missed her first Clean and Jerk attempt with 82 kilos. The same scenario came up on her Second Attempt and missed. In a due or die situation on her Third Attempt to stay in the competition and post a Total. Sam came out and showed a lot of heart and made 82 kilos. It was not her best performance but it was a performance to learn from and move forward. Overall it was a higher total then her American Open Performance and there is a lot of lifting left in Sam. Next up for her will be the University Nationals in New Mexico in September.
Dillon Casillas was the next lifter up for Performance One Weightlifting. Dillon competed in the 62 kilo A session. After looking at the starting list we had a strong confidence that third place would come down to 2-4 guys and Dillon being one of those guys. He opened with 94 kilos in his First Attempt in the Snatch and made it very easily. On the Second Attempt we called for 98 kilos and he again made the lift. Dillon was locked in on the Snatches and looked very smooth. At this point we were battling back and forth with a lifter from Lost Battalion Hall Weightlifting Club. We choose 102 kilo for Dillon on his Third Attempt and he made the lift and set a New Competition Record in the process. In the Clean & Jerk, Dillon opened with a very conservative 118 kilos. We took this lift because we were trying to keep some distance between us and the next competitors. It was successful. On the Second Attempt we called for 122 kilos again another good lift. I choose to only take 124 on his Third Attempt. It was a small jump but it forced our competitors to take a bigger jump in weight to try to catch us and it was a weight that we can make easily. Dillon did not make the lift and left and opening for his competitors to come after us. Fortunately, for us the failed at their attempts to over take us and we walked away with a Bronze Medal in the Snatch, and in the Total. This was Dillon’s first National Competition and first grouping of medals. Next up will be the University Nationals in September.
Jake Mapes lifted in the last session of the day on Saturday, the 94 kilo B Group. Jake was the youngest competitor in the entire 94 kilo class. He was coming off of his Bronze Medal experience at the Junior National Championships. We knew Jake was not yet ready to contend for a medal at this level of competition and that we were going for Personal Records, experience and finishing in the top of the B Session. In the Snatches, many lifters were all taking the same weights. Mapes opened with 120 kilo and made the lift. This was a 5 kilo Competition PR Lift. There was about 13-15 attempts before Jake’s Second Attempt. This was more a test of mental patience then physical strength. He came out for his Second Attempt at 125 kilos and had a beautiful lift minus one minor elbow unlock. It was enough to not give him the lift. On the Third Attempt Jake missed the lift out front. In the Clean & Jerk, we opened with 160 kilos. Our goal was to hang with Brett Brian lift for lift. Brett was the Junior National Champion in the 94 kilo class. Jake has closed the gap considerably between himself and Brett and just couldn’t push through. Jake missed his opener. On his Second Attempt he missed 160 again. On his third Attempt he regrouped and came back and 160 kilos and made it very easily. I think the new experience and the long waits affected Jake. I told him what he went through was like having ten meets of experience all wrapped in one competition. Jake is young and will only get better. He too will be competing at the University Nationals.
Missy Faubus finished out the competition on Sunday in the 75+ kilo class. Missy had great warm ups in the Snatch and went out and had a very good day. She opened with 84 kilos in the Snatch and made the lift. We called for 87 for her Second Attempt and again then she nailed it. We called 90 kilos for her Third Attempt and again she went out there and made it. This was 2 kilo below her Competition Best of 92 kilos that she made back at the 2013 American Open. Her 90 kilos Snatch won her the Bronze Medal. In the Clean & Jerk Missy had a little hiccup and missed her opener with 105 kilos. We repeated the lift on her Second Attempt and again left the Jerk a little out front. In order to give her a little more rest I bumped her up 1 kilo to 106 kilos on her Third Attempt. She needed this lift and came out like a Boss and nailed the lift for a new Competition PR in the Clean & Jerk. It was not her finest performance in the Clean & Jerk but she made the lift that mattered. With more consistency in the Clean & Jerk I believe Missy could crack the top Three. Missy will also being training for the University Nationals in September.
I am satisfied with the fight in all of my lifters and I know with more experience, at this level of competition, my lifters will be a force to be reckoned with down the road.
Coach Joe Micela