This year’s meet was in Dallas, Texas. Dallas is a great city with very nice people, and that is coming from a Philadelphia Eagles fan. The weather for this meet was very nasty. Dallas doesn’t get much snow and ice, but this particular weekend they received quite a bit. The problem was not the amount of snow but the lack of resources to deal with it. Shame on Dallas for that it cause many problems within the city and at the airport. An ounce of prevention would have been much-suited here boys.
This meet was the largest in more recent years and despite the great efforts of the local organizers was not held up to the high standards that a National Event should be held to. With numbers this large it places a great amount of stress on the organizers, volunteers, referees, coaches, and athletes. Many sessions did not have the proper officials sitting in the referee chairs or jury tables. In many cases coaches had athletes on two platforms, one on one side of the room and the other on the other side of the room.
Instead of trying to cater to lower standard and more people at our National Events we should encourage more Regional Events so that the best of the best are competing at these higher levels of competition.
On to our athletes
Friday night we saw all three of our men lifting at the same time. In the 85-kilo B Session we had Craig Rintoul and James Ellis and in the 69-kilo B Session we had Keith Weitz. All three lifted side by side on platforms 1 and 2. This posed a logistical nightmare as a coach. I am very thankful to have had the help of Eric Bramwell, Kyle Sprouse, and Roger Nielsen during this session. Keith came into this meet having recently come off an injury and was not at 100%. We still made the attempt to go and compete. He Snatched 90, 94, and missed 98 kilos. In the Clean & Jerk he made 110, 114, and got called for a slight press out with 118 kilos. Keith will train hard to get back in shape and be ready for the Nationals in July. Craig Rintoul has been with me for over six years and has finally filled out into the 85-kilo weight class. He has had very good training leading into this competition and we were excited to see him perform. Craig snatched 115, 120 (tying his PR), and missed 125 kilos. In the Clean & Jerk, Craig made 145, and missed 150 twice in the Jerk. Craig was just 5 kilos off his PR Total of 270 kilos. With some more training and staying on this current path of success I see Craig lifting lifetime bests by the National Championships. James Ellis has been having very good training as well up until he pulled his groin two and half weeks prior to the competition. James was the only athlete on the team I had no idea how he was going to compete because his groin issue was very unpredictable. James is a competition lifter and looked very good in his entire warm up snatches. He missed 120 on his opener by just over pulling on the bar. He regrouped and made 120 on his second attempt. On his third attempt we went for 125 and he like on his opener just over pulled it. In the Clean & Jerks, we were worried more about the groin. Again all warm ups looked well. Deep down inside I knew his groin could only take so many lifts. He opened with 155 and just missed the Jerk out front. He came back to make it on his second attempt and then we took a shot at 160. It wasn’t meant to be. The groin couldn’t handle the weight. If we didn’t have this set back James was on pace to do 130 & 170. James will heal up and come back very strong for the Nationals.
On the Girls side we had a stellar performance from all three of our ladies. Like in the 85’s we had two athletes in the 53-kilo class. Sixteen year old, Kaija Bramwell and New Jersey transplant Samantha Wright. Several years ago I trained Kaija’s father Eric. Kaija is a very mature and determined sixteen-year girl with tremendous lifting ability. Kaija went six for six and took home the Rick Schutzs award. Kaija snatched 53, 56, 58 kilos (58 was a PR). In the Clean & Jerk she made 73, 76, 79 kilos (79 was a PR) and a PR Total of 137 kilos. Kaija will be competing at the Junior Nationals in January and she will be looking for some medals. She is on pace to break the Youth American Records. Sam had a very good day in the Snatch. Sam made 64, 67, & 70 kilos (70 was a PR). Her 70-kilo snatch won her the Gold Medal beating the second place girl on bodyweight. In the Clean & Jerk, Sam had a little bit of a challenge. She missed 78 kilos on her opener, made it on her second attempt, only to miss 81 on her third attempt. Sam finished in 3rd place overall. Great Job Sam! Sam will fix her mistakes in the Clean & Jerk and will come back to be very determined at the Nationals this summer. Our last lifter of the competition was Missy Faubus. Missy competes in the 75+-kilo weight class. She made all three of her snatches 85, 90, & 92 kilos (90 & 92 are National Comp PRs). The 92 kilos Snatch was good enough for a Silver Medal and only 3 kilos off of Gold. In the Clean & Jerk Missy had a little bit of a struggle with her opener of 105 kilos. She came back to make a solid lift with it on her Second Attempt. 109 kilos was the weight we called for on her Third Attempt but the Jerk was not there on that day. Missy placed 4th overall just missing 3rd place by 1 kilo. Missy had a great performance and we are very proud of her.
All in the entire meet had many highs and lows but I am very proud how all of our athletes fought hard on every lift. Everyone knows what they need to work on and we will make the appropriate plans to get everyone ready for the next National Competition.
Coach Joe Micela