Hassle Free had the great privilege to send a pretty big group to the Junior Nationals this past weekend in Philadelphia. We had kids representing five different high schools: Lincoln HS in San Francisco, Whitney HS in Rocklin, and Burbank HS in Sacramento, Chico and the Olympic training center at Colorado Springs. Additionally, athletes from Sacramento City College and Cal State East Bay made it a busy weekend (an awesome problem to have)! If that wasn’t enough to keep our hands full, Ben Hwa, Jenny Lam and myself were asked to help some of the top athletes in the country (besides our own) and fill in for vacant coaches. Dave Swanson was the rock of our proverbial ship as he took care of our two youngest athletes, two newcomers to Hassle Free, and some of our athletes with arguably the most potential.
The team traveled to Philadelphia on Thursday and the girls kicked off the competition Friday with Megan Seegert in the 48kg class. She finished 1st in the snatch and 2nd in both the C&J and total with a tough by gutsy 2/6 performance. We opened Megan up with 68kg and 82kg in the snatch and C&J respectively in order to put her in a position to break the American records but a tough miss on her first snatch disrupted the plan. Megan did bounce back and set some training PRs the next day front squatting 95kg and jerking 100kg and she is still 2nd on the Junior World rankings! Following Megan on Saturday, we had Melvin Peete who went 3/6 but gutted out a huge PR Snatch at 118kg and put together a 258 kg total to qualify him for Junior Pan Ams!
Saturday was the busiest of the three day; first, we had Devon Brochinni from Whitney in the Men’s 77kg B session, who made a PR CJ at 112kg. Next, we saw Marc Vanchiasong from Burbank compete in the Men’s 85kg B session and set personal records across the board in the snatch, C&J, and total. If that wasn’t enough, Marc is still only a Youth lifter who will be going to Austin for the 2016 Youth Nationals! Following Marc was Erin Amos in the Women’s 58kg A session who crushed PRs all around while going 5/6; the highlight being a 95 kg CJ! The Women’s 63kg A session was a bit of a roller coaster as our youngest performer Claire Mackey put a total together and had two great C&Js while Mia Tiongson, the veteran, had a tough day failing to total. Her bomb out was especially tough as she has been lifting since she was 12 and is such a tough young woman; however, her college schedule caught up with her and in the end it just wasn’t her day.
Following up that slight disappointment, we saw a phenomenal performance by Kuinini Manumua who moved her ranking up with three huge PRs, snatching 82kg and C&Jing 95kg with an unbelievably close miss at 100kg! She is now the highest ranked female lifter in the country with a birthday in the year 2000! She, along with Claire Mackey, who shares the same birth year, will make quite a duo for the years to come!
Big thanks to Paul Doherty, Eric Gibeault, Karine Tran, Camillo Gutierrez, Larry Hutchinson, Brenda Seegert, Zigmunt Smalcerz for the coaching of these wonderful athletes at home; the future certainly looks bright for Hassle Free and USA Weightlifting as whole. Check out the video below for the highlights!
See you in Salt Lake!