This years Senior National Weightlifting Championships Coach Micela took three very dedicated lifters to the Nations top competition. Craig Rintoul, Blake Edwards, and Samantha Wright qualified to go. Craig and Blake competed in the 85 kilo weight class and Samantha competed in the 58 kilo weight class.
Craig lifted on Friday Aug 14th at 7:45 pm. By the time the session actually started it was closer to 8:30 pm. This time was very late for Craig considering that he trains at 10 in the morning. For the most part his warm ups went fine with no major distractions. Craig’s Snatches have not been sharp as of late so I decided to open him up very conservative. I choose to start with 113 kilos this was the lightest I have had him open in over two years. He went out for the Opener and missed it. We repeated it for his Second Attempt and he made it very easily. The call was to keep the about conservative so I called for 117 kilos for his Third Attempt. He came back and made this lift very easily. This was the heaviest snatch that he has made in over one year in a National Competition. In the Clean and Jerk I was more confident in Craig’s ability. Even though he has not hit heavier weights in training his last local competition was very impressive with the caliber of weight that he was able to lift. I decided to open him with 142 kilos. He made the lift very easily. The call was to go for 147 kilos on his Second Attempt. There was a considerable weight in between attempts so we had to take another warm up weight while we were waiting. This is very customary in Weightlifting to keep the athlete warm and loose. He made 147 very successfully. The call for the Third Attempt was to take 152 kilos. He had missed 155 kilos in the last meet so this was a safer attempt. There were many attempts at 150 kilos and this caused a log jam as we waited for our turn. We had to take another warm up lift while we waited. We went out for 152 and Craig put in a great attempt. The Clean was rough and he caught it very low. It took a little too much out of him as he prepared for the Jerk. It was not there and missed out front. The entire session was very long with extreme amounts of time waiting in between lifts. It is very difficult to duplicate this situation in training. There are many variables that we had to take into consideration and try to train for and not all of them could be met. Craig gave a valiant effort given the circumstances. Going forward more attention to detail must be given to the time of day an athlete will be competing and pushing training closer to that same time. Extending training sessions out to take the long waits into account along with longer rest periods. We did do this they just weren’t long enough.
Samantha Wright competed at 11:30 am on Saturday Morning in the 58 kilo B Session. This was a very consistent time for Samantha considering she trains around the same time five days a week. Sam has extremely good training coming into this competition having hit All Time Personal Records in Training and at a Local Competition in both the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. We bumped Samantha up from her normal 53 kilo weight class. She had a very big class of girls and they were all very close together. Sam took her first Snatch Attempt with 70 kilos and nailed it. When you make your Opening Snatch it just sets your mind a little at ease. The call was to go for 73 on her Second Attempt. Sam had made 74 in her last local meet and was very consistent with weights from 73-75 kilos. There was a long wait for 73 so we had to take two lifts in the back before we went out for the 73. The plan was to take a Power Snatch with 55 kilos at 11 Attempts out and then a Snatch at 4-5 out with 60 kilos everything looked sharp. She made the Second Attempt with 73 kilos but had to put on a little extra balancing act in the bottom position to ensure her position. I was very happy to be on the board with two go Snatches. The call was to go for 76 kilos because many girls were in at 75 and I was trying to jump a couple of placings if we could make the 76 kilos. The idea was every kilo would matter going into the Clean and Jerk. Just as we did with the First Attempt to Second Attempt we had to take something in the back prior to the Third Attempt. Again we were faced with 11-12 Attempt Wait. at 9 out we took a Power with 60 kilos and at 4-5 out we took a Snatch with 68 kilos. She looked ready for 76 kilos. Unfortunately she rushed the pull a little and left it out in front for no lift. Overall very a very positive situation to be in. In the Clean and Jerks Sam has been showing great improvements. Recently, she Cleaned 95 kilos which is a huge Personal Record. We opened with 91 kilos part because we got caught with our warm ups and two to try to catch a couple of girls who where opening with 90 kilos. She had great warm ups especially her last warm up with 89 kilos it was very sharp. Sam went out for the 91 and Cleaned it fine but rushed her Jerk and left it out front no lift. I wasn’t overly concerned because Sam is normally very solid in the Jerk. She came back on her Second Attempt and had an even better Clean and this time set up for the Jerk a little better but was called for a press out. Now I was upset. Once you miss two lifts your whole plan goes out the window. You go from Performance mode to Survival Mode. After a little pep talk she went out there and nailed the Third Attempt with 91 kilos. I was happy that she showed fight and didn’t give up but I was extremely pissed we could finish the day off with the weights we wanted to hit. All in all Samantha hit a new National Competition Personal Record in the Snatch with 73, the Clean & Jerk with 91, and Total with 164. Going forward Samantha needs to work on more overall Leg Strength and hit more competitions to sharpen up her meet prep skills. She will compete at the University Nationals in six weeks.
Blake Edwards competed on Saturday night at 7:45 pm in the 85 kilo B Session. Blake has had very good training this summer except for his Snatches. All of his Snatches have just been a little off it is not a strength issue just a timing issue. So because of this the plan was to take smaller jumps in the snatch rather than our usual five kilo jumps. We opened with 121 kilos in the Snatch to again like Samantha to take a little advantage over our competitors. He went out and nailed it like the veteran lifter he is. The call was to take 125 kilos on the Second Attempt again sticking to smaller jumps. Blake went out and made it for a good lift. The call was for 128 kilos on the Third Attempt. I was confident with the way 125 looked on his Second Attempt that 128 would be there. Blake over pulled it and missed it behind. If you could have a good miss that was it. On the contrary, the Clean and Jerks have been great very sharp and strong. This is Blake’s money lift. We had high spirits and expectations going into the Clean and Jerk. Blake was coming off a PR Clean and Jerk about a month ago with 163 in his last local meet. His warm ups were all precise and easy. The call for the Opener was 155 kilos he nailed it. The Second Attempt was for 160 kilos. This is a weight that Blake has made more than ten times in the last couple of months. We had to take a lift in between the Opener and Second Attempt. Blake took a Power Clean and two Jerks with 120 kilos. He went out for the 160 and made it look easy. Going into the Third Attempt we called for 165 kilos this would be for a New Personal Record and move him into the top three spot of the B Session. Once again we had to take a lift in the back to stay warm and keep the Neuromuscular System firing. We decided on a Power Clean and Jerk with 120 kilos. It looked great. He was ready for the 165 kilos. Blake went out and Cleaned it with ease. It was the best clean of the night. He set up for the Jerk and had the lift locked over head. Unbeknownst to me because I was standing on his right side his left elbow pressed out. He was given two red lights. It was very deflating because of the ease of which he Cleaned the 165 kilos. That lift would have been the icing on the cake of an already successful day. In the end Blake established a New National Competition Record in the Total with 285 kilos. Blake is one if not the most mentally tough athletes I train. I love to see him in competition mode. He like Samantha will be competing next month at the University National Championships in Utah.
In conclusion there were more positives then negatives. I believe the plan going into the meet was a good one. Everyone needs to use this competition as a spring board into an even better training cycle leading into their next meet. Each athlete knows what they need to work on because we discussed it individually. I am proud of the fight and the never back down attitude. If my athletes bring that to every challenge and competition they will never lose. Let’s keep this energy going into the next competition University Nationals for Sam and Blake and the American Open for Craig.