The USOEC weightlifters had a great meet at the Joe Dube Classic this past Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida.
Returning sophomore Chris Lenahen was ecstatic to be competing at his home gym, especially since he had been injured last year and wasn’t able to compete in the Classic last year.
“It was hard missing this meet last year; it was at my home gym. This was my third time winning Dube, and it felt great to be back,” Lenahen said.
Lenehen had a bad knee injury for the majority of last year and was not able to compete until the very end of the school year.
“I was focusing on not making the same mistakes before surgery and improve technique, that way I won’t get injured again.” Lenahen said.
The hard work ended up paying off. In his second event back, the Collegiate Nationals held at NMU this last Spring of 2010, he ended up taking first place and hitting some personal best lifts with a finish of snatch at 125 kg, clean-and-jerk 158 kg, and total score 283 kg. He cannot wait for this up coming season to get underway.
“My second tournament back last year was collegiate nationals, and I won it. I’m really looking forward to this year, coming off that win after an injured year was really motivating, I can’t wait to see how I do without coming off an injury.” Lenahen said.
Another athlete, junior Brandon Jackson of Orlando, Florida, also took first place at the Joe Dube classic this weekend. He was the best out of four leaving the other three lifters behind by an astonishing 80 kilograms – meaning he lifted a total of 176 pounds more than his competitors).
Jackson also has been working back from an injured ankle last year. He did a lot of focusing on just his Olympic lifts over the summer and rehabilitating his ankle so that he could come back strong and compete at his best.
“I’ve been focusing on getting better and stronger there so I can compete at 100 percent” Jackson said.
Lenahen and Jackson are both looking forward to the American Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, as they are even more motivated to meet their goals from last year.
“For the American Open I want to hit all 6 lifts for 300 kg, a personal best for me,” Lenahen said.
Two-time Junior World Team member Sara Cowles (Senior) also had a great competition. She finished first, an astounding 21 kilograms ahead of the second place finisher, as well as receiving “Best Lifter” award for the women’s division. Cowles was very pleased with herself and her teammates performances.
“We weren’t supposed to be competing at our peak and they ended up all doing so well. I can’t wait to see how well we do next when we will actually hit peak performance” Cowles said.
Cowles has something else to be excited about: She is within grasp of the Junior American Records held by USOEC alum Amber Davis. The record she holds are 73 kg for Snatch and 93 kg for clean-and-jerk. Cowles will soon have to enter competitions as a senior instead of at the junior level, so she only has till December to get the records.
“I’m 3 kg away from breaking the records. It was a pretty good confidence booster being sick the night before and the morning of and hit all three personal records, and be so close to the record” Cowles said.
The next event for the Wildcat/USOEC Weightlifters is the American Open Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday Dec 12, 2010.