2018 USA Weightlifting Youth National Championships
The Youth National Championships is, by far, the most stressful event of the year for us. We have many kids, and many sessions, to plan and coordinate for. There are many different personalities, and each lifter needs something different from us as coaches. That being said, it is also probably the most fun and rewarding event of the year. When things go well, we get to celebrate with them so many times over.
It is a very special thing to watch these kids zone in, and focus so hard, to do their best, and begin to love as much as you, the sport you are so passionate about. This year was no less special than previous years, and maybe more so now that our own son has started to lift.
Our weekend started with our son, Sebastian, age 10, and a 6am weigh in. After less than 2 months of training, he had a 4/6 day when he Snatched 16kg, Clean & Jerked 21kg, for a total of 37kg which tied the best he has done in the gym in those 2 months. He placed 9th overall in the 11u, 31kg division. He showed great perserverance after missing his 2nd C&J due to a press out and not understanding why. He began to get very upset, but pulled it together and make the correction to have a good lift on his final attempt.
12 year old Camila was up next. Lifting at the bottom of her new heavier weight class, she weighs 41kg in the 44kg weight class, she did fantastic. She had a 4/6 day when she Snatched 24kg, just barely missed a new PR at 28kg, then nailed all 3 of her C&Js, with an amazing fight for a 2kg PR of 38kg on her last attempt. She finished with a PR Total of 62kg, and 14th place overall in the 13u, 44kg division.
10 year old Ansley finished out Friday with an amazing performance in her first National appearance. She had a perfect day, making all 6 lifts, and receiving 3 white lights on every lift from the judges. You only need 2 whites for a good lift. She won the Snatch competition with a competition PR of 41kg, took 2nd in the C&J competition with a PR of 46kg, and took 2nd overall with a PR Total of 87kg in the 11u, +58kg. 1 Gold and 2 Silver medals for Ansley!
Saturday began with 14 year old Brandon, who has recently hit a growth spurt and had to move up a weight class. We just wanted to get him more National experience and make some good attempts on the platform. He Snatched 48kg, just missing a PR at 52kg, and hit a new PR C&J of 62kg, and took a hell of a shot 65kg. He finished with a Total of 110kg, and 12th place overall in the 14/15, 56kg division.
14 year old Trevor finished out Saturday with a very entertaining session. He went 5/6, with a competition PR Snatch at 69kg. That gave him 3rd in the Snatch by 1kg. C&Js were a battle to the end. We kept putting on the bar whatever he needed to stay in 3rd place, as the top 2 were well ahead of everyone else. Coming down to the last lift, he had to hit 91kg to sweep all 3 Bronze medals with a total of 160kg. If he misses, he gets 4th in C&J and Total. 91 was his current PR, so we were very confident, but his hip and leg were noticeably irritated, as he was limping on and off the platform for each lift. Trevor is a gameday athlete, so of course he nails the lift to sweep the Bronze. It was a very lively back and forth battle, and was so much fun to be part of. 3 Bronze medals for Trevor!
15 year old Camryn started off Sunday with another 6am weigh in, yay. That did not affect her at all. She showed up ready to lift, and absolutely crushed it. She went 5/6, by absolutely smoking a PR Snatch at 61kg, after missing 58kg due to a technical error. She then nailed all 3 C&Js, with a 2kg PR at 72kg, for a PR Total of 133kg and 7th place overall in the 16/17, 69kg division. I now have to make good on our bet....
15 year old Ava was up next. Lifting up 2 weight classes and an older age division from last year, she had her best performance to date. She went 3/6, with a competition PR Snatch of 54kg, barely misssing 2 more PRs at 57kg and 61kg. Fighting hard for a medal spot in C&Js, she new she had to make 73kg, and she absolutely crushed it for a new competion PR. With one lift left, and a shot at an overall medal, we took a huge jump to 79kg, and swung for the fences. Many lifters would have clarked it, or not attempted it all. She stepped up to the plate and went after it. She damn near got under it, and we could not be more proud of such a gutsy performance. She finished with a PR Total of 127kg, 4th in Snatch, Bronze medal C&J, and 4th in Total in the 16/17, 53kg division. Can't wait to see her numbers after a full year at this heavier bodyweight.
16 year old Abbey finished out our weekend in her last Youth National appearance. She has not had much time in the gym lately due to school and extracurriculars, and training has been a struggle. She showed up full of determination, and ready to lift, and had an amazing day. She went 4/6, kept her head together after missing her opening Snatch, nailed her next 2 and finishing at 59kg. Her C&Js looked more solid than they have in some time, and she finished at 70kg, just missing 74kg due a press out. She has not been able to get more than 65kg overhead in a while, so this was an absolutely wonderful performance on gameday. She finished with a 129kg Total, and 12th place overall in the 16/17, 69kg division.
Every one of these kids makes us so proud. We are fortunate to have lifters that excel at every level of this sport from Youth to Juniors, to Universities and U25s, to Seniors, to Masters. We have had medalists at the highest National level, and are now moving to the International level, which is astonishing for this young 5 year old club, and we love each lifter at every level we have.
But there really is nothing quite as rewarding as working with these kids. Yes, Coach Dan does get emotional, and may shed a tear sometimes. It is hard to explain the emotions we coaches go through with the youth lifters. They are starting to grow up. They are learning about life through failure and success in sport. They are showing us their character in the good and bad times. Their emotions go up and down, and ours follow suit. We cry with them when they fail, and we celebrate with them when they succeed, and there is nothing quite like the celebrations after success. There is nothing much worse than the look of disappointment, and nothing much better than the reaction of absolute joy on the face of someone you have grown to love, who has poured their heart and soul into this. How can we as coaches not do and feel the same? We know their struggles better than most, and when they break through, it is an unbelievable feeling.
These kids will grow up and move on someday, and it will hurt. We just hope that they each know how proud we are of them, and just how much we love them.
Weightlifting is fun.