The Garage Strength Weightlifting went down to Orlando with a few goals in mind. We wanted to get our junior lifters in a strong position on the first ranking for the Junior World team. We also wanted to get a bunch of rookie lifters to feel comfortable on the national stage. We accomplished just about every goal we had set out to do. I am extremely proud of our results and will go lifter by lifter. I will also rant about the horrible officiating I witnessed that could place a serious damper on our sport if it is not dealt with properly.
Kyle Martin Jr.: Hit a competition PR in the Thursday night session. He lifted well, responded well to coaching cues and preparation. As coaches, we need to improve his clean and jerk technique dramatically! He went 38/46k but again, we need to do a better job with his clean technique.
Lauren Davison: This was Lauren’s first ever national competition. She competed in the A session, opened up with numbers that PR’d her total which ironically was from when she competed as a 63k lifter. I need to do a better job getting her more consistent with heavier weights on the platform.
Kate Wehr: Kate is a stud. Outside of Hayley Reichardt, she has the most potential out of my lifters. She has been dealing with some serious back issues over the last 9 months. She still came back and hit 70/86k and I believe she is back on track to climb her way back to the top of the Youth and Junior rankings. She was the youngest competitor in the 58k category and one of the youngest in the entire American Open. Kate should have hit 74k on the snatch and I will work my ass off to get her that lift in the future!
Anne Marie: She never competed on the national stage and still went out and tore it up, narrowly missing a big 78k snatch in the 58k session. She went 74/92k, I wish we had her 78k snatch and her last clean and jerk back but we learned a lot working forward from here! Now we will fix her mobility and MAYBE see her in a new weight class.
Jake Horst: Jake lifted EXACTLY how I wanted him to lift. He rose the occasion, placed second overall in the 62k division, missed a close one at 118k in the snatch and struggled with his attempt at 140k in the clean and jerk. Nevertheless, he put himself in good position heading into Junior Nationals.
Here is my biggest issue. Jake got completely hosed by a horrible call by some of the most prominent judges in American Weightlifting. He was in a battle with Derrick Johnson. Admittedly, Johnson mopped Jake up during the snatch portion of the competition. However, Johnson came out and missed 140k in clean and jerk, then took 141k on his second attempt. He had a HORRIBLE press out on this lift. Somehow the judges gave Johnson the press out...the jury chose to review the decision AND STILL gave him the good lift. This was a complete travesty. The jerk was a press out, the coaches in the back knew it was a press out, the crowd knew it was a press out. I would beg someone to post the video of this lift and show me otherwise. Perhaps I sound like a sore loser, but the call was bad and I know the time and effort my athlete’s put into training and to see them get hosed is infuriating. Johnson went on to miss his third attempt as well at 148k.
Hayley Reichardt: Hayley went out and was hit with a press out on her first snatch attempt. This was a complete coaching error. I had noticed the last 3-4 weeks in training that she was catching a bit soft on some heavier snatches. I did not correct the issue because I thought it would go away once she was on the competition stage. First snatch...press out. This muddled our plans a little BUT taught me some good lessons as a coach. Hayley went on to hit 5 lifts in a row, breaking her own Youth American Record in the snatch, she broke her Youth American record in the clean and jerk TWICE and hit 91k on her final attempt to finish third overall. She is the real deal and competes like a complete monster. I am proud of her as she also put herself in very good position heading into Junior Nationals.
Jess Schubach: Jess competed poorly at her first national competition at USA’s back in May. She came back for the AO focused and ready to crush shit. She looked great and was in a great spot mentally. She didn’t hit the numbers we wanted but she smoked her competition PR and is ready to get to the next level. I was incredibly proud of her performance and where she was heading into the AO, I believe she is ready for a breakout year in 2017! She went 80/101 in the 63k division.
Jordan Wissinger: Jordan also had a competition PR with his total (as did every other GS lifter). Jordan went 120/150k as a junior 69k lifter in the A session. He brought home a medal from the snatch portion. I need to get Jordan to be more consistent with bigger attempts in training. This will come in due time as he is very motivated and I am feel that I am figuring him out as an athlete. That is enabling me to coach him more effectively. He hit a PR but I needed to do a better job coaching him leading into this competition. He will lift well at Junior Nationals.
Dj Shuttleworth: Another crybaby festival from Dane….DJ went 143k and 190k, he PR’d his competition total and his clean and jerk. He did not “miss” any lifts as his two attempts in the snatch that were red lighted were press-outs, his one clean and jerk was also a press-out as per the judgement.
Again, the judging during his session was incredibly inconsistent. One of the judges from the 62k session was the main judge in the 94k session as well. This brings up Colin Burns first attempt in the clean and jerk. Burns was coming off a HUGE lift in the snatch portion of the session, where he snatched 173k and broke the American record. His first clean and jerk of 190k was a BLATANT press out that was not called. Coaches (including myself) were losing their minds at this horrible missed call. DJ followed Burns and was called on a press out. Of course I raised my voice in disgust toward the judges inconsistent calls. Here is my problem...Burns’ first clean and jerk was a press out that was not called, I believe DJ’s lift was not a press out as his hips were lowering as his elbow was locking out overhead. Even if Dj’s clean and jerk was a press out, Burns should have been called on his first attempt. That call COMPLETELY changes the way the session rolls. Burns did go on to smoke his 195k and 198k clean and jerk, BUT the process can change a lot if he takes 190k again and has some pressure on himself to make the lift. I have no issue with Burns, I have a serious issue with the judgement. If the judges are consistent, that is perfectly fine. But there was simply no consistency between back to back lifts. As with the 141k clean and jerk from Johnson, I beg someone to show me a video of Burns’ 190k clean and jerk and tell me it wasn’t a press out. I am still proud of DJ for the way he came back and made 190k (which I think was actually a press out in comparison to his second attempt). DJ will have a great year in 2017.
Jules Riotto: Jules is the real deal and hit a PR snatch and brought home a bronze medal and she also PR’d her competition total. She hit 91k and 112k. She is on the Junior national team rankings and is in a great spot mentally. Again, I screwed Jules in two different ways. I am still learning how peak Jules appropriately and I believe I misjudged her training a little heading into the AO. I also screwed up her warm ups. There was a lot of close attempts, I miscalculated and had to rush her attempts a bit toward the end of her clean and jerk. Fortunately, Jules is a beast and competed well and hit her 112k but I still believe that my poor warm up is what caused her to miss the 115k attempts. Either way, she is going to crush weights at Juniors because I have learned from my mistakes.