By Jordan Conn, Staff Writer
Of the scores of boys and girls competing for the National Junior Weightlifting Championships this weekend at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, many will be talented and experienced.
But a few are more seasoned than others.
Defending champions return in nine of the meet’s 15 weight classes, and three lifters will be shooting for their third national titles.
“These are the best lifters in the country,” event organizer and USA Weightlifting international coach Steve Fauer said. “This competition is bigger than anything most of these kids have ever experienced.”
Some have experienced national success before. And those lifters may be more composed when they take the stage.
“There are so many distractions in an event like this,” Fauer said. “There’s the crowd, the cameras, the intense competition. For a kid who’s never experienced it before, it can be tough.”
The competitors will lift in two different styles, the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. They will be placed in accordance with their performance in each event, and the combined total will determine whether they will make one of the junior national teams.
The meet will run from 10 a.m. to the late afternoon Friday through Sunday. Tickets will be sold at the door. Single-day passes will be $5, and full-weekend passes will be $10.
James Moser of Hawaii returns to defend his title in the boys’ 105-kilogram weight class. Moser also won the 94-kilogram class in 2006. Another two-time champ is 62-kg lifter Aaron Adams of New Jersey, whose qualifying total was 18 kilograms more than the second-place qualifier.
Kelly Lynch is the female lifter most accustomed to success in the junior nationals, having won the 75-kg class last year and the 69-kg class in 2006. In a field of four 75-kg lifters, Lynch’s qualifying total was 35 kilograms more than anyone else.
One of the most muddled boys’ weight classes is at 77 kilograms, where the top four qualifiers were all within eight kilograms of each other. Boyd-Buchanan junior Jordan Nason qualified fifth in that class. The other local lifter, Josh DeYoung, who is homeschooled, qualified fourth in the 85-kilogram class.
Kari Davis anchors the field of female lifters who weigh more than 75 kilograms. She won the junior nationals last year and finished sixth in the senior meet.
Indiana’s Phil Johnson (69 kg) is consistently one of the most dominant lifters in the event, and he will try to match his 48-kg margin of victory in last year’s nationals. In qualifying, Johnson outlifted his class’s No. 2 lifter, Peter Musa, by 47 kilograms.
Jonathan Garcia of Florida handily won the 56-kg class last year. He narrowly qualified first for this year’s event.
On the girls’ side, Samantha Turnbull (53 kg), Hilary Katzenmeier (58 kg) and Ashley Fides (69 kg) will also try to defend their 2007 championships.
E-mail Jordan Conn at email@example.com
Video: Young weightliftersMeet local athletes Jordan Nason and Josh DeYoung, both 16, as they prepare to compete in the U.S. National Junior Weightlifting Championships held at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo on Feb. 8-10, 2008.