What an experience. Words can hardly describe how incredible this moment was. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to compete at the 2018 Junior Weightlifting Nationals in Spokane, WA.
After only weightlifting for a year (Junior Nationals was my one year weightlifting anniversary) I competed against the best of the best.
Going into the competition, I didn’t have very high expectations. Many of the other athletes have trained their entire lives in weightlifting. My goal was to go, compete, and enjoy the experience.
My previous competition presented me with a long list of trouble which made me second guess competing at Juniors, but with the support of my teammates, family, and coaches, I chose to compete.
I partook in a strategic weight cut to prepare this meet. I began dialing in on my nutrition five weeks out from competition. At first it was only monitoring what I ate and how it effected my weight, but as competition day drew closer I had to be more strict.
The real grind began three weeks out. It was tough, but I am glad I started so early because it gave my body time to adjust before the big day.
I flew to Spokane with my teammate Thursday morning. We landed in Seattle around 11 o’clock with the time change and sprinted across the airport to make it just in time for our next flight to Spokane. Unfortunately, take off was delayed for quite a while due to fog and weather conditions so we didn’t arrive in Spokane until around 4 o’clock.
We headed to the air B&B for the weekend and waited until our other teammate and coach to arrive before heading to the grocery store to pick up some food and then to the competition venue to do some light bar work and stretching to get loose after a day of traveling.
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and catching up on homework.
I weighed in at 8 am the following day. Luckily, that meant I didn’t have to wait all day for weigh ins. I didn’t change anything about my diet from the week prior except for being more cautious of my water intake the day before.
Friday morning my teammate and I met my coach at weigh ins. I weighed in with plenty of room to spare at 46.33 kg before devouring some pre workout fuel.
I competed in the B session which was nice since it lifted a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Not only was I not lifting with the Olympic level athletes, but I could watch them lift in the later session.
My teammate, who originally was competing in the A session, was bumped down to the B session with me last minute which made me a bit uneasy since my coach now had to coach both of us. It ended up going pretty well except for a slight mishap when he signed an attempt for my teammate instead of for me and the meet stopped due to a technical error. Ops!
Warm ups felt pretty consistent and strong. Originally, I planned to stray on the conservative side for this competition since I haven’t been able to hit my training weights consistently for the past few weeks. I hadn’t even attempted a 50kg snatch since the previous competition a month earlier. I didn’t succeed at any new PRs but I was able to match my current ones and make a competition total PR.
I opened up with a 50 kg snatch which I made with ease. On my second attempt I went for 53kg which felt decently easy as well. For my final attempt I went for 55kg which I ended up missing in front but it was pretty darn close to a successful PR.
For clean and jerks I opened up with 60kg and caught the bounce too. I missed the jerk on my second attempt but came back to make it on my third attempt to finish with a 63kg clean and jerk and a 113kg total.
The Lindenwood coaches also approached me and encouraged me to apply and be apart of their weightlifting team. It was a nice gesture, but I am pretty committed to a college at the moment. I am still waiting to hear back about scholarships, but I guess I can never say never.
After the competition, my teammate and I headed to Blaze Pizza for a little post cut celebration. I certainly enjoyed myself a little bit more than I probably should have because my stomach wasn’t too happy with devouring an entire pizza after dieting for the last couple weeks.
That evening we headed back to the venue to watch the 48kg and 53kg A sessions compete which was a very talented session.
Side note: experienced my first Lyft drive and it was an alright experience. Their car smelled so strongly of smoke.
The rest of the evening we hung out around the house.
The next morning was a slow morning as well. We slept in and played some card games, worked on some homework, and caught up on YouTube videos until it was time to head back to the convention center.
My other teammate competed in the 85kg B session. He is unbelievably strong, especially considering he is still a youth athlete. He went six for six, winning the B session, crushing some new PRs, and placing higher than some of the competitors in the A session as well.
After his session concluded, we stayed for the snatch portion of the 85kg A session before heading across the street to Chili’s for dinner. After dinner we ran back to the convention center and made it just in time to see Harrison Maurus make his last clean and jerk attempt before taking another Lyft back to the air B&B.
I flew back home the following morning with my teammates. We all flew the first leg of our flight to Seattle together. We were able to bump our tickets to an earlier flight which was certainly an experience. It was a tiny sketchy plane but to got us where we needed to be. We ended up getting separated on the connections flights back to Chicago though. My second flight was schedule to depart at 12:30 but it didn’t end up taking off until 2 o’clock.
Overall, I am incredibly grateful for this experience and am so glad my teammates and coaches pushed me to go through with this competition. This may or may not be my last weightlifting competition for a long while since I am not sure what the future will bring, but either way I am excited to see wherever the future takes me.