Junior Nationals and Pan Am Trials Recap

Last weekend, Garage Strength took 9 athletes out to Lombard, Illinois to compete at the Junior National Championships and the Senior Pan Am Trials. This was a big opportunity and meet for our athletes as this was one where their dreams could come true. The dream of being a World Team member and being a National Champion was within reach for a lot of our athletes competing and you could truly feel the energy and motivation with the group.

First up for Garage Strength was Hayley Reichardt (49kg) and Kyle Martin Jr. (55kg). Kyle was the youngest competitor in the entire competition at 12 years old! This was our biggest goal for him. He really wanted to make Junior Nationals this year and he made it happen on the last possible qualifier. Kyle went 3 for 3 in the snatch and hit a big personal record. Kyle ended with 1 recorded clean and jerk and at 73kg for a competition personal record. Hayley had the task of maintaining her National Champion status and delivered on it. Hayley did not have the meet she wanted, going 71kg in the snatch and 91kg in the clean and jerk. Hayley did not add onto her total but still solidified her spot on the Junior World Team.

Kate Wehr (55kg) was next to go for the team. Kate went big with a 75kg snatch and a 96kg clean and jerk for a 2nd place finish overall and a trip to Fiji for the Junior World Championships. This was a big meet for Kate as she went down a weight class. She took a big risk cutting down to 55kg from her prior weight class of 58kg. It paid off for sure!

Next for the team were Jordan Wissinger and I (67kg). Me and Jordan have been competing against each other for a couple years now and its always a fun battle between us. With the U.S. only taking 2 per weight class, we knew we either both had to beat the guy ahead of us or beat each other. I just fell short of my goal to make the team. I hit a personal record snatch at 130kg and missed the jerk with 163kg which would have put me on the team. Jordan hit a 130kg snatch and clean and jerked 163kg to make the Senior Pan Am team. Both Jordan and I competed great and represented Garage Strength well!

Saturday was a crazy day for Dane and the gang. We had 3 athletes: Emma Esterbrook (64kg), Erin Amos (64kg), and Kyle Baron (81kg). Erin Amos was in the Pan Am Trials and pushed super hard for a big total. She came up short in the snatch but posted a big 114kg clean and jerk for a personal record. Emma Esterbrook found herself in a new weight class and claimed a silver medal in the snatch with 80kg. She clean and jerked her way into a 4th place finish overall. Kyle Baron was a bit of a dark horse. Kyle has been lifting with us for about 10 months and has only done one competition prior to this one. Kyle finished 3rd overall and went for a gold medal in the clean and jerk on his last attempt and got called 2 to 1 on a press out. There is a bright future in this sport for Kyle!

On Saturday Tyler Schade (89kg) took the stage with a Championship performance. Tyler won the title at 89kg and will join the wall of Champions. Tyler snatched 127kg and clean and jerked 165kg. He took an attempt at 172kg to put himself on the Junior World team and barely missed the jerk. His performance was good enough to put himself on the Junior Pan Am team going to Cuba.

Anna McElderry (76kg) was the last to go for us. This was her first year competing at Junior Nationals as she is still a youth lifter! Anna Went 80kg in the snatch and clean and jerked a personal record of 105kg. This performance finished her 5th overall and she still has 3 years left as a Junior!

At the end of it, all we had 5 out of 9 make an international team. We had 2 National Champions, a Runner up, and a whole bunch of medals! The whole team represented Garage Strength well and champions were made this weekend.

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