Weightlifters conditioned for victory

John Becker

The USOEC weightlifting team was busy all summer competing in some of the highest-level tournaments in the world as they strive for higher feats of athleticism.

The USOEC competed at the USA Senior National Championships, in Peoria, Illinois, June 11-13. Graduate student Breanne Carlson (53 kg division) placed third She snatched 61 kg and put up 78 kg in the clean-and-jerk, for a total of 139 kg.

USOEC head coach Andy Tysz said it was a new personal record (PR) for Carlson.

Collin Ito, pictured here at the 2010 USA Weightlifting National Championships, was just short of a podium finish at the World University Championships, held in Taichung City, Chinese Taipei, on July 5. // John Becker/NW

“Her past PR was set only seven weeks before that, so it was a very good performance,” Tysz said.

Sophomore lifter Chris Lenahen (94 kg division) and Brandon Jackson (105 kg division) placed seventh in their respective weight classes. Lenahen lifted a total of 286 kg, and Jackson put up 277 kg total. Tysz said Lenahen’s effort was a personal best, but Jackson’s lift was down from previous competition.

“It wasn’t a bad performance considering what we’ve been doing, and (Jackson) was only about 10 weeks off from a broken ankle, so not bad at all,” he said.

Lenahen said his goals for this year include lifting a total of 300 kg in competition and to earn a top five finish at the American Open. “I’m 14 kg away, we’ve had a pretty strong lifting and training over the summer, so I feel confident in December that the numbers will be there,” Lenahen said.

Tysz said the USA Senior National Championships is the highest national competition for weightlifting. “At the senior nationals, you’re getting the best in the nation,” he said. “Olympians go there to lift.”

Andrew Vrabel (69 kg) snatched 93 kg and lifted 125 kg in the clean-and-jerk, finishing eighth with his total of 218 kg. Dan Gorelik (77 kg) put up 108 kg in the snatch and 130 kg clean-and-jerk. His 138 kg total earned him 11th place.

On June 16, Sara Cowles (58 kg) placed in the top 20 at the Junior World Weightlifting Championships in Sophia, Bulgaria. Cowles lifted 85 kg in the clean-and-jerk and 70 kg in the snatch. Her total of 155 kg earned her 17th place. Tysz said the competition is fierce, because the junior world championship is the highest level of competition for weightlifters 20 and younger.

Robin Feuerman (63 kg) completed one snatch at 69 kg but missed the other two. She missed on all her snatch attempts and did not post a total. Tysz said he felt that Feuerman could have done better though; she had many setbacks before the competition.

“She got hurt early in the semester with her back… so we had to really reduce training in the middle of the semester,” Tysz said. “She was ready for better numbers than that, but it was just one of those days.”

On July 4, Allie Henry earned a bronze medal at the World University Championships in Taichung City, Chinese Taipei. Henry posted a PR of 80 kg in the snatch and put up 90 kg in the clean-and-jerk. Tysz said her finish was phenomenal, given her experience at the international level.

“That’s the highest level of competition for collegiate athletes,” he said. “It was her second international meet and she finished on the medal podium, so that’s pretty good.”

Collin Ito earned fourth place on July 5 with a snatch of 150 kg and a clean of 200 kg, for a total of 350 kg.

Ito said he felt he could have done better, as he thought he’d completed his final clean-and-jerk, but the officials did not rule it as a good lift.

“It would have given me an extra lift, so I could have gone for a new personal best,” Ito said.

Ito was only 2 kg away from a new PR in the clean-and-jerk.

Tysz said Ito has a lot of potential, because he hasn’t reached the pinnacle of his training.

“He’s very young for a superheavyweight lifter, they’re not really maturing until their mid and later 20s, which is when they really start putting up some big numbers,” Tysz said.

Tysz said he has high expectations for this year and wants to see improvements across the board.

“I want each and every one of (the USOEC weightlifters) to rise in the rankings list.”