The USOEC sent both its men and women’s weightlifting teams to compete in the American Open Championships on Dec. 2-4 to begin the process of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Team.
Placing first in the 69 kg weight class was senior Allie Henry lifting a personal record total of 193 kg and a snatch personal record of 93 kg. The second place winner lifted a total of 179 kg.
Henry said that she had a productive couple weeks of training beforehand that set her up for success.
“Training has been going really well, no personal records in the snatch, but clean and jerk was going well during practices,” Henry said. “Mentally, it has been the best training cycle I’ve had; it’s been a lot of fun actually.”
Henry said when lifters travel for a competition it is important that athletes don’t get tense before a competition. Henry said that she was well prepared this time.
“Traveling was long, and I made sure I stretched at the airports,” Henry said. “I got in late on Thursday and couldn’t train until Friday but still felt surprisingly good after a day of travel.”
Henry said even though warm ups were going well; she still had some precompetition jitters.
“Warm ups felt good and my lifts were solid; I was physically ready to go,” Henry said. “I was actually most nervous sitting in that chair waiting to lift. My heart was pounding really hard.”
For most 2012 Olympic sports, the national governing bodies simply take the top one or two athletes in each weight class or category. USA weightlifting, however, looks at national athletes against the international weights that are being lifted, Henry said.
“The top 15 men and women go to Olympic trials simply by rank, so there could be one or no one in a weight class and then 10 in another,” Henry said. “They want the top women in the U.S. to compete in the four team positions, not just the best person in each weight class.”
The teams have to wait for USA Weightlifting to release the top 15 ranked men and women that will compete at the Olympic Trials.
The USOEC athletes are all waiting to see if they placed at the open and if it will be enough to get them in the top 15.
Also taking a medal home from Alabama was sophomore Shelbie Serpan at 75 kg who went five for six on her lifts totaling 204 kg.
Placing top five in their weight classes were freshman Ryan Borges at 62 kg, junior Andrew Vrabel at 69 kg, junior Matt Fraser at 85 kg, and Jerilyn Smith at 75 kg.
USA Weightlifting Olympic Trials will be held in Columbus, Ohio, March 2-4 for the 30 men and women that qualify.
Attending her second American Open was silver medalist Serpan who hit a 16 kg total personal record of 179 kg. She said she was excited at her results.
“I work hard every day and do my best in competition, it’s nice to see my hard work pay off,” Serpan said.