Pictures of the Volcano

The latest news from Guatemalan Officials is the airport will be closed up until Friday June 4th.  Several other countries that are stranded as we are have decided to drive to El Salvador and try to leave from their airport.  The San Salvador Airport is about 4-5 hours away from were we are in Guatemala.  Several problems arise with this situation.  One no one in our group speaks well enough Spanish to assist in an emergency.  Sarah Robles and myself probably understand the most Spanish out of the entire group and that is not saying a lot.  Second, the Tropical Storm created many mudslides and flooding to much of Guatemala and El Salvador.  We are unsure of many of the roads outside of the city and if they are drive able.  Thirdly, in this part of the world there is always the concern with outlaws and a violent criminal element that have been know to rob and kidnap as a form of income.  We have discussed getting a security detail to escort us to and into El Salvador.  Once in El Salvador there is no guarantee that will be able to get out.  We are only speculating at this point.

Dr. Kyle Pierce the Head Men’s Coach has been working tirelessly to get everyone out of here.  He has been to Guatemala several times before and has several local contacts that have provided us with update information in order for us to best make our decisions.  I can’t say enough about how lucky this team is for having an experience veteran Coach and Team Leader such as Kyle.  The entire staff has been working together with Coach Pierce assisting him where they can and relaying all info to the athletes and the National Office.

We are entering unprecedented territory and are learning quickly on the fly.  All of our Coaches have international travel experience and all decisions are being made once the best available data is being provided to us.  No one wants to get home more than me.  But I want to make sure that the team and myself are getting home safe and sound.  We will not take any unnecessary risks in order to get home if we need to stay a little longer done here we are content with that as well.  I will update once I know more information.  Take care and say a prayer for us.

Final days of 2010 Pan American Championships

Sunday May 30th Final Day of Lifting

The day started off with our top ranked female lifter Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold in the 75+ kilo class.  This was Sarah’s second Pan American team.  Sarah hit a new Personal Record in the snatch with 106 to finish third in the snatch behind the Venezuelan and girl from Ecuador.  In the clean and jerk sarah hit 133 to move ahead of the Venezuelan for silver.  Sarah finished in second place behind the Ecuadorian for the overall title.  Sarah was our highest female finisher.  With her points the women’s team finished 7th in the competition and 6th overall for the Pan American Games.  This earned our Women’s team 5 slots for next years games.  As the Head Women’s Coach I am very proud of all over our girls performances.  We had a goal of finishing top 6th and they all lifted contributed to the effort.  Holley had a tough road to travel getting a little food poisoning during her stay leading up to her session.  But despite a couple of obstacles Holley was able to snatch 90 kilos and just missing a close Personal Record at 96 kilos.  In the Clean and Jerk Holley came back from a near tragic miss with her opener at 115 to make it on her second and nail 120 on her third.  Holley gained a lot of experience on this trip.

1. Seledina Nieves ECU 118 142 260

2. Sarah Robles USA 106 133 239

3. Yaniuska Espinoza VEn 106 132 238

8. Holley Mangold USA 90 120 210

105 kilo class was next to go.  Donny Shankle and Cody Gibbs were both in this session for the US.  Cody had a great day Snatching finishing third in the Snatch with 165 kilos.  Donny hit 158 on his third attempt to solidify him in 5th in the snatch.  The clean and jerks saw a major swing on the total board and it came down to the last clean and jerk to determine the outcome.  Cody Gibbs hit 191 on his opener and that was all that he was able to do that day.  Shankle hit 200 on his third to move him into 5th in the clean and jerk.  With that lift and a little good luck Donny was able to move into 3rd overall in the 105 kilo class.  Cody finished in 5th.

1. Lazaro Lopez CUB 173 215 388

2. Jorge Arrollo ECU 177 200 377

3. Donny Shankle USA 158 200 358

5th. Cody Gibbs USA 165 191 356

Last up for Team USA was the 105+ kilo class.  We had two of our top lifters in Colin Ito and Patrick Judge competing.  Ito had the meet of his life going 6 for 6 hitting 155 snatch and 202 clean and jerk (PR) for 357 total (PR).  Colin came ready to lift.  Big Pat Judge rounded out the meet with a Gold medal snatch of 168 kilos and a Bronze Medal overall performance.  Pat had the opportunity to go for the overall Gold but today was not his day.  Pat clean and Jerk 210 with two narrow misses at 218 to finish him tied with the Cuban but the Cuban was lighter than Pat so he finished in third place.  This is the second year in a row that Pat finished in third.

1. Julio Cesar Arteaga ECU 167 222 389

2. Sertanis Teran CUB 167 211 378

3. Patrick Judge USA 168 210 378

7th Colin Ito USA 155 202 357

It was a great competition with many ups and downs.  All the athletes totaled and many went after Personal Records.  The Men’s Team finished 3rd overall behind Cuba and Colombia earning 6 slots for next years Pan American Games in Mexico.  The Women’s team finished 7th and earned 5 slots for next year’s games.

On a more pressing note we have been delayed here through at least Wednesday.  Several of our athletes were supposed to leave last Friday.  As of right now the Guatemalan Airport is still closed.  We have heard all kinds of rumors about when the Airport will open and when we will be able to fly out.  There is discussion about driving to El Salvador and flying out to Miami from there.  I can’t confirm this or not.  The safety of our team is our top priority.  Thankfully Dr. Kyle Pierce, the Men’s Head Coach, has many connection here in Guatemala.  His phone seems to be the only one that does work down here and has been in constant contact with USA Weightlifting’s National Office.  Most of the athletes are in good spirits but they all want to get home to their families as soon as possible.  If this situation persists I can see the moral of the team getting a little worse day by day.  We took most of the team to the Guatemalan Weightlifting Center for a little workout today.  The coaching staff felt it would serve two purposes.  One to get the athletes out of the hotel and second get back to their routine of training.  For many of the lifers it is a great treat to be able to train with this many talented lifters they don’t get that opportunity to train all together often.  I will try to write more on my thoughts of the competition and the events of that this volcano and tropical storm have created.  Stay tuned

69 kilo Women’s Class

After an interesting night of Volcanos and Black Ash Raining down on us we were still able to lift.  The volcano has affect several of our athletes leaving today as the airport is closed until Monday.  We have been trying to check the airlines but we need a little help with this matter. Glen has been checking on it.  The hotel is not going to kick everyone out of the rooms.  I will check my email as often as I can.

On another note we still had to lift today.  Sarah Bertram lifted today in a very tough weight class with many Olympian’s competing for gold.  Sarah snatched 85, 88 and just missed 90 kilos and finished 4th in the snatches.  In the clean and jerks Sarah hit 104, 107, and missed 109.  It was the guttiest clean I have ever seen.  She is one of the toughest most intense athletes I have ever been around.  I wish all our girls have as much fight in them as she has in her.  She finished 7th in the clean and jerk and 6th overall.  Here is the results from the class.

1. Leidy Solis COL 102 122 224

2. Norma Figueroa PUR 94 120 214

3. Liliane Menezes BRA 88 112 200

6th Sarah Bertram USA 88 107 195

Volcano Erupts in Guatemala during the Pan American Championships

Around 7 pm the Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala erupted spewing black volcanic ash to the ground.  Local news agencies reported the flying ash killed one reporter and several people are missing.  I went outside to witness black ash the size of very tiny pebbles raining down from the sky.  This is first for me.  The local airport has been shout down until Saturday.  This has affected several of our athletes trying to leave today.  Hopefully, it won’t have a major impact on the rest of the team but as of right now we don’t know.

After talking with the competition organizers they ensured me that the meet will go on despite news agency reporting that the local government is urging people to stay inside and to only travel outside if ultimately necessary.  I believe everyone is concerned that this could be the start of possibly a bigger eruption.  We can only wait and see.  After speaking with one of the locals regarding should be concerned about this his reply was “don’t worry these things happen all the time”.  In the last 10 hours have become an expert on volcanoes and I have learned that Guatemala has over 200 volcanoes in this tiny country.  Should of looked that one up before I left the US.  Like I said we’re not overly worried yet.  If it gets a little ugly I’ll just pack up my stuff and move.  Guatemala is a nice country but I don’t want to have to stay here any longer than I have too.

Pan American Results first couple of days

First day of Competition

Wednesday May 26th, 2010

First Day of Competition May 26th, 2010

We started the first day of competition off on a great foot.  Kelly Williams, of Georgia, went 5 for 6 and finished 3rd in the snatch 6th in the Clean and Jerk and 4th overall in the 48 kilo class at this years Pan American Championship.  In a very deep weight class Kelly brought her veteran toughness to the platform and lifted her very best under very hot and humid conditions.  Kelly fought to keep herself in medal contention till the very end.

1. Carolina Valencia MEX 47.75 74 93 167

2. Carmen Echevarria PUR 47.75 72 91 163

3. Guillermina Candelar DOM 47.20 69 90 159

4. Kelly Rexroad USA 77.90 72 87 159

The next up to compete was Rachel Churchward from Washington.  She, also had a very deep weight class with many internationally experienced competitors.  Unfortunately, today just wasn’t her day and she was only able to perform slightly below her personal best.  Rachel finished in 11th place.

1. Rusmeri Villar COL 52.80 88 113 201

2. Inmara Henriquez VEN 53 78 105 183

3. Lesli Burgos PUR 51.20 76 97 173

11. Rachel Churchward MEX 52.60 75 96 171

By now the rest of Team USA has arrived in Guatemala and is ready to go.  Tomorrow Amanda Hubbard will compete at 1 pm in the 58 kilo class.  Amanda has had really good training leading up to this competition and we’re excited to see her in action.  Thursday morning a majority of the Team will train and we will take our team picture.  If there is any time we will try to take the team to a local shopping area to buy some gifts for home.  Friday Sarah Bertram will compete at 12 pm.

Thursday May 27th, 2010

Amanda Hubbard was next up for Team USA.  The 58 kilo weight class is one of the deepest divisions of this competition.  The top lifters were only separated by just a few kilograms.  Amanda, reigning national champ, snatched 85 kilos and clean and jerked 105 kilos for a 190 kilo total.  She finished 7th overall in this highly anticipated class.

  1. Alexandra Escobar ECU 97 125 222
  2. Yuderqui Contreras            DOM 96 120 216
  3. Lina Rivas                         COL 96 115 211

7th Amanda Hubbard USA 85 105 190

Next up is Sarah Bertram from Oregon on Friday

Day 1 & 2 in Guatemala for the Pan American Championships

We arrived Sunday night around 7:30 pm in Guatemala City.  I traveled with Kyle Pierce, the Men’s Coach, Rachel Churchward, one of our 48 kilos lifters from Washington, and one of training partners/coach Mike Ng.   A representative from the host organizing committee was there to meet us.  He escorted us to our luggage and out to an awaiting car.  I never went through less security entering a country in my life.  I am hoping it was because of the competition but it still bothered me none the less.

At the hotel I met up with Amanda Hubbard-Sandoval, our 58 kilo lifter living in Michigan and Kelly Rexroad-Williams, our other 48 kilo lifter living in Georgia.  Both were in good spirits and excited to be here.

Monday May 24th

Training at the Venue

The Training Hall is adjacent to the Competition Venue and will also serve as the warm up room for the competition.  Only Rachel and Amanda trained this morning.  Kelly trained yesterday and prefers to have two complete days of rest prior to competing.  Rachel worked up to a couple of singles in the snatch with 40 kilos.  They all looked good, Rachel has good positions and is coached by one of best national coaches, in John Trush, and it shows.  She clean and jerked up to 50 kilos for some more singles and called it a day.  Amanda looked very sharp and snappy in both her snatches and clean + jerks.  She worked up 70 kilos in the Snatch and 80 kilos in the clean + jerk.  Hitting several sets of singles in both lifts.  She finished off with some Front Squats at 90 kilos for doubles.  Amanda appears to have this confident glow about her and she herself said she has had very good training coming into this meet and is ready to lift some big weights.

Observations of two Mexican Female Weightlifters Training

Mexican Weightlifting has taken on a new philosophy when it comes to weightlifting.  There philosophy is that this sport matters, especially with their woman.  Hiring two Chinese Coaches one to coach the men and the other to coach the women.  The Chinese influence of multiple exercises and an exuberant amount of work (sets x reps) with their athletes even days leading up to the competition is amazing.  The level of conditioning and weightlifting fitness that these woman posses is truly inspiring.  I had the fortune of watching Luz Agosta (63 kilo class) and Cynthia Dominquez (69/75) train.  Both woman were working up to fairly heavy snatch high pulls (chinese pulls), presses, and assistant exercises.  This was their first of possible two workouts today.  The difference between the muscular builds on these girls compared to our girls is very obvious.  They train twice a day on Mon, Wed, & Fri and once a day on Tues, Thurs, & Sat.  Sometimes they will come in on Sundays and do some very light technical work but not always.  These girls train like professionals and it shows.  I will keep you updated on our girls training and competitions as well as other countries training and competition.  Bye for now.

2010 Performance One Developmental Weightlifting Meet

Saturday May 8th, 2010 Performance One hosted it’s first ever developmental meet in it’s new facility.  We had a small but talented group of lifters many of whom were competing for the very first time.

Nine year old Chris Leglinski started off the competition competing in the 50 kilo weight class.  This was Chris’s first competition and he shows a lot of promise.  He is coached by Marc Henry of Phoenix Weightlifting Club.  Marc used to train with Coach Joe and now has opened his open facility in Phoenix.  We wish Chris and Marc continued success in the sport of Weightlifting.

Next we saw Keith Weitz in the 62 kilo weight class.  Keith is coming off of a 5th place finish at the Collegiate Nationals in Marquette, Michigan back in April and was hoping to qualify for this years Senior National Championships.  Well Keith got his wish hitting Personal Records in the Snatch with 84 kilos and the total with 182 kilos to earn him a trip to his first Senior National Championships.  Keith has qualified for two national competitions in his first full year of training in Weightlifting.    Craig Addington lifting in the 69 kilo class made his come back after a one year layoff.  Craig hit 70 kilos in the snatch and 95 kilos in the Clean and Jerk.  Christian Allen a new comer to the sport showed unbelievable promise.  Christian a Sophomore at Highland High School is already an accomplished Wrestler and Football Player and now he can add Weightlifter to his resume.  In his first meet Christian Snatched 70 kilos and Clean & Jerked 100 kilos in the 85 kilo weight class.  His total of 170 kilos earned him a trip to the 2010 School Age National Championships.   Also making the School Age National Championships was Tyler Strom from Williams Field High School.  Tyler, like Christian, hit Personal Records in the Snatch with 82 kilos and Clean & Jerk with 105 kilos.  Both Tyler and Christian will head to Foster City, California next month with Coach Joe to compete with the best 17 & Under lifters in the nation.  Last but not least was John Alvarado a highly decorated Junior Lifter that was apart of Team Arizona Weightlifting’s National Championship Team back in 2005.  John hit a Personal Record in the Snatch with 112 kilos.  He finished with 242 total.  It was good to see John back lifting.   We wish him good luck on his journey back to national contention.

Wt Name Year of Body Best Best
Div Birth Team Wt Sna C&J Total Place
Sch 50 Chris Zeglinski 10 Phoenix WL 50.0 18 30 48 1st
Senior 62 Keith Weitz 87 Team AZ WL 61.2 84 98 182 1st
Junior 69 Craig Addington 90 Team AZ WL 68.8 75 95 170 1st
Senior 85 John Alvarado 85 Unttached 78.4 112 130 242 1st
Sch 85 Tyler Strom 93 Team AZ WL 83.0 82 105 187 2nd
Sch 85 Christian Allen 94 Team AZ WL 82.4 70 100 170 3rd

Coach Micela Coaches Tempe Special Olympic Team to High Marks

On Friday April 30th at Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ the Special Olympics of Arizona held their State Championships.  Coach Joe Micela led 9 athletes to 6 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze in the Bench Press portion of the Power Lifting Championships and 5 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze in the Dead Lift portion.  This was Coach Micela’s first year working with the Tempe Chapter of the Special Olympics.  “This experience has given me a greater appreciation for human accomplishment, dedication, and drive.  I am very appreciative for the time that I was given to work with each and evryone of the athletes. ”  Coach Micela and the City of Tempe’s Adaptive  Programs are planning on expanding the program next year.  Contact the City of Tempe for more info.

Mesa Community College Student finishes 5th At Collegiate Nationals

Keith Weitz of Mesa Community College Sophomore finished 5th in the 62 kilogram weight class  at the 2010 Collegiate Nationals in Marquette, Michigan.  Keith a new comer to the sport of weightlifting was an accomplished high school wrestler and after returning from a Religious Mission decided to try the sport of Weightlifting out.  Weitz found Coach Micela and began learning how to become a Weightlifter.  Along with training at Performance One Keith also enrolled in Coach Micela’s class at Mesa Community College called PED 133 Olympic Weightlifting .  The class teaches students how to perform Weightlifting Movements in a safe and proficient manner.  In his first national competition Keith hit Personal Records in the Snatch with 80 kilos (176 lbs) and with the Clean and Jerk with 98 kilos (215 lbs) for a New PR Total of (391 lbs).   At only 22 years of age Keith has a great up side and with his total he has earned entry into the American Open Championships this December in Cincinnati, Ohio.  But before then Keith will compete May 8th at the Last Chance National Qualifier in Mesa to try to go to the Senior National Championships in Peoria, IL in June.  We wish Keith the best of luck.

Alex Lee captures Collegiate National Title

Alex Lee captured his first National Title in the 69 kilo weight class on April 16th in Marquette, Michigan.  Alex has been a perennial top three national competitor for the last five years but it was only after he moved up a weight class did he win his first gold medal.  An ASU Juior, Lee hit Personal Records in the Snatch with 116 kilos (255 lbs) and Clean and Jerk with 159 kilos (349 lbs) for a new PR Total of 275 kilos (605 lbs).  Along with the Gold Medal Alex has earned a spot on the 2010 World University Team that will compete in Taiwan on July 1-5th.



Clean and Jerk