Northern hosts lifting championships

John Becker

Not many people can say they have lifted the weight equivalent of two freezers or a golf cart, but these athletes can. NMU hosted the USA Weightlifting National Collegiate Championships last weekend, April 16-18. Both USOEC and NMU weightlifters made strong showings at the competition where multiple athletes earned medals.

USOEC athlete and NMU freshman Britta Carlson earned fourth place in the women’s 48 kg division with a total of 89 kg lifted. In the women’s 53 kg division, USOEC resident and NMU graduate student Breanne Carlson took silver by putting up 59 kg in the snatch and a clean and jerk of 71 kg for a total lift of 130 kg. The latter Carlson’s lift was a personal best.

USOEC head coach Andy Tysz said the first day of weightlifting went well but could have been a bit better.

“(Breanne Carlson) didn’t do what she was able to do, but she’s still improved a lot lately,” he said.

In the women’s 58 kg, USOEC resident and NMU sophomore Sara Cowles earned the bronze medal and set a new personal best of 157 kg. Tysz said he was happy with her lift.

“She’s going to the Junior Worlds in June and this (was) a great prep meet for that,” he said.

USOEC resident and NMU sophomore Joshua Barnett lifted a total of 190 kg and was uncontested in the men’s 56 kg division, but his total bested the nearest 2009 competitor who lifted 171 kg.

In the men’s 69 kg division, USOEC athlete and NMU freshman Michael Evans lifted a total of 220 kg for sixth place, fellow freshman Andrew Vrabel put up a total of 205 kg for eighth and Max Cretcher had a total of 195 kg for 10th.

On Saturday, April 17, USOEC athlete and NMU freshman Chris Lenahen earned the gold medal in the men’s 94 kg division by his second clean and jerk, but decided to best his medal winning lift with a 158 kg clean for a total of 283 kg.

In the women’s 69 kg, USOEC Athlete and NMU sophomore Allie Henry snatched 74 kg and cleaned 93 kg for a total of 167 kg which earned her a silver medal.

USOEC sophomore Robin Feuerman earned fourth with a total of 162 kg.

On Sunday, April 18, NMU athlete Thomas Braddy put up 129 kg in the snatch and a powerful 190 kg in the clean and jerk. He attempted to break the 193 kg national collegiate record with a clean of 196 kg, but failed. Braddy’s 319 kg total earned him silver in the competition.

The final event, the men’s 105-plus kg division, saw USOEC resident and NMU graduate student Collin Ito earn a silver medal with a 155 kg snatch, and 197 kg clean, totaling 352 kg. Ito bested his previous clean and jerk, which was the national collegiate record; however his competitor Fernando Reis (Lindenwood University) set new national collegiate records in the snatch (168 kg), clean and jerk (202 kg), and total weight (370 kg). Before his lift, Ito said his goal was to beat his 2009 clean of 195 kg, and while he succeeded, he said on any given day a weightlifter can perform better or worse based on multiple factors.

“How rested you are, how training has been going, or dealing with everyday life can affect your performance,” Ito said.

Ito said he felt really good before the lift, especially because he was well rested and didn’t have to go far for the competition.

“I feel more at ease. I think it’s pretty good to be in the hometown. It’s right down the street from where I live,” Ito said.

Last year, Ito had to endure eight hours of flying before the national competition, which was held in Shreveport, La.

Tysz said he was impressed overall with the effort of the USOEC athletes and he expects them to only get better from here.

“We’re a young group and we won a couple of classes, but we’re placing second and third behind some athletes that are flat out older than us. I think in a few years, when we get to mature a little more we’ll do even better,” he said.