Meet Report By Disa Hatfield
The 2006 USAPL Women's Nationals was packed with the familiar faces and the exciting lifting it is known for. A few newcomers entered the fray, and a few veterans were missed this year. However, the end result was the same: the largest and certainly most competitive women's only meet in this sport.
Dan Gaudreau hosted this spectacular event in the Mile High City, aided by Jennifer Rey and The Rocky Mountain Lifting Club. The venue was excellent, and the meet ran smoothly. Highlights of this meet included the Rocky Mountain-shaped medals, Dan's platform crew, the framed certificates, and of course, those yummy Doubletree chocolate chip cookies given at check-in.
Women's Nationals has officially gone to a three-day meet format to accommodate the growing number of competitors it attracts. Friday morning began with the 44 kg class. Although only 6 deep, with 4 in the open division, this class proved to be one of the most exciting with Erin Dickey and Barbara Sieps battling it out until the last deadlift. Erin was ahead at subtotal, but a miss on her second deadlift put Barbara ahead by 15 kg. Erin had the bar loaded on her third to win, but the carpet slipped out from underneath her feet. A quick jury decision awarded her a 4th attempt. Barbara missed her third pull, which allowed Erin the opportunity to pull it together and come through for the narrow 5 kg win. Erin's 325 kg total is a new Junior American record. Cathy Solan and Donna Aliminosa came in third and fourth respectively, and both ladies earned their berth on the Master's world team in their respective divisions. Teenager Lexi Eddy was the only one in her class, but it certainly didn't stop her from putting together an 8 for 9 day and a 175 kg total at only age 15.
The 48 kg class was taken by fitness competitor Jonna Ocampo, with a 307.5 kg total. T1 Vanessa Baldwin and T2 Melissa Harper had a battle for 2nd. Both young ladies had 95 kg on the bar for the win, but it was Vanessa who was able to come through. 18-year-old Megan Hampton totaled 225 kg in the T3 division, and Jacki Miller placed second to Melissa in the T2 division. Missing from this class was Cheryl Anderson, who planned on competing in this weight class this year. Cheryl unfortunately became ill when she arrived in Denver, and spent the whole weekend in bed. She is feeling better, though, and I am sure we will see her next year.
Friday afternoon saw veteran Siouz-x Hartwig-Gary take the stage to lead the 52 kg class. She has a new last name, but the same veteran focus. Siouz-x sustained an injury in her last squat workout, and competed in obvious pain. However, a 3 for 9 day was good enough to give her the win by over 30 kg. We wish Sioux-z all the best in her recovery, and I'm sure she will be in her old form by World's. The 17-year-old Katie Van Dusen took second with a strong showing and solid lifting; Janel Brown and Deb Hairston rounded out the class. This class saw several teens competing for a spot on the sub-junior world team. Katie Van Dusen took first in the T2 class and also earned the nomination to the Sub-Junior World Team, with Sara Beebe and Kelly Sullwold battling until the last deadlift for second. Amanda O'Neal rounded out this class with an 8 for 9 day. Kim Douglass took first in the T1 class, with Sammie Garrison coming in second. Master's lifters in this class were Shawn Warren (M1), Vera Nelson (M2), Deb Hairston (M3), and Sally Bowers (M4). IPF rules are slightly different in terms of age categories, so Sally Bower and Vera Nelson earned their respective spots on the Worlds Master's Team. Sally also broke the American squat, deadlift, and total records in the M4 class.
The 15-year-old phenom Caitlyn Miller easily earned gold in the 56 kg class. Caitlyn broke the Sub-Junior World record in the squat with a 165 kg lift. She took a 4th attempt to up her new record, but was unsuccessful. However she adds 3 American T1 records to her already impressive lifting resume. Fellow teen lifter Lora Marietta came in second in the Open and won the T3 division with a 9 for 9 day. Kristen Yukness was right on her heals with her own perfect day, coming only 2.5 kg behind Lora. It's hard to ask for anything more then perfection! Jan Froeshle, Leah Marietta, Kristen Thernes (who also earned second in the T3 class), and Joni Mach rounded out this deep Open division. Toni Kemper took first in the M1 category and won the Master's World team nomination, beating out M2 lifters Jan Froeshle and Kate-Dingle Craig and M1 competitor Joni Mach. Barb Zintmaster won the M3 class, with competitor Jeanne Harmes unable to get a bench attempt past the judges. The youngsters were well represented in this class, with Amanda Baum and newly elected athlete's representative coming ahead of Shae Frydenlund in the T2 division. Natalie Wood came in second to Leah Marietta in the Junior division. Caitlyn Miller and the up and coming Leah Marietta earned the World Team nominations in the Sub-Junior and Junior categories.
Saturday morning saw the incredibly deep 60 kg class compete, with 22 women entered! However, it was the young but seasoned veteran Carly Nogle who came in first in the Open and T3 division with a 455 total. Carly was also awarded Best Open Lifter in the Lightweight Division. Newcomer Jennifer Perry broke the American Junior squat and total records on her way to second in the Open. Jenn has been competing for less then a year, and with more practice she will soon be a serious contender in this class. Jennifer Rey struggled a bit with her attempts, but still came in a strong third ahead of Michelle James, T2 winner Stevie Cross, and Sherry Franks. Jenn Perry also took the Junior division, totaling 15 kg more than Jenna Farek. Bridgett Jones took second in the T2 division and Kayrie Spinney came in second behind Nogle in the T3s, with Liz Aldridge coming in 3rd. Master's World team veteran Ellen Stein totaled 395 with here usual flamboyance, winning the M3 division, breaking her own M3 American Bench record, and earning the World Team nomination. She also broke the American bench record in her division. She was followed by Rita Carlsson and Karen Bleier-Schmeets. Angela Simmons won the M1 division, ahead of Sherry Franks and Patty Burnett. Lanette Lopez won the M2 division, with newly elected Women's Committee Chair Gina Stapleton taking second. Donna Donaldson, the oldest competitor of the meet broke her own M6 American deadlift record and won the division. This weight class embodies two of my favorite aspects of Women's Nationals- the depth of both competition and age of competitors. Over 50 years separated the youngest and oldest competitor in this weight class, and the women on both ends of the spectrum are true role models for our federation and this sport. Unfortunately, this class also saw 3 lifters bomb out. Of note is Open competitor Monique Hayes. Monique fell back on her first two attempts with 170 kg in the squat, then handled the weight on her third but beat the rack command. She was also unable to get a bench passed, but did successfully pull a 205 kg deadlift. She struggled with technical issues, not strength, and speaking to her after the meet she expressed that this was great learning experience for her and we will see her again. I suspect that we can add her name to the mix next year of potential contenders in the Open class.
Waiting in the wings Saturday afternoon was former World Champion Priscilla Ribic in the 67.5 kg class. Priscilla had a few technical issues to work through, but still won the Open division by 127.5 kg with a 4 for 10 day. Priscilla also took home Best Open Lifter in the Heavyweight Division. It's pretty impressive when a lifter can miss that many attempts and still dominate. Priscilla is already working hard to iron out her bench, and is already focused on getting the gold in Norway this November. Coming in second with a fantastic showing was Alyssa Hitchcock. Alyssa has been lifting for several years, and continues to improve. This year she adds another Junior division win and Junior American record (total) to her lifting resume. Paula Houston took third in the Open and won the M2 division, breaking the M2 American squat, bench, and total records. Erin Walterman and Jane Larsen-Welborn rounded out the top 5. The Open division was very deep in this weight class, with a total of 10 athletes! Ruth Welding won the M3 division with a perfect 9 for 9 day, and was followed by closely by Donna Marts and Cathy Marksteiner, who took 2nd 3rd in the M2 division. Ruth also broke the M3 American squat, deadlift, and total records in the M3 division. Meghan Jovanovich came in second in the T3 division to Pamela Bartz, who put up a very impressive 415 kg total. Rounding out the Open division were Kelli Carlsson, T2 winner Kami Shroer, and M1 winner Latasia Anzai. Caryn Daniel was second in the M1 division. Erin Ludlow struggled a bit with her bench and deadlifts, but went home with the T1 American squat record and T1 National crown.
Liane Blyne, former World Team Member from the 1990's and World's Strongest Woman Competitor, has made quite showing in her return the powerlifting the past year. She's worked hard to improve her technique and it showed in her 218 kg American record squat. Liane finished with a huge 562.5 kg total, and is a welcome addition to the Open World's team. She was followed by Kim Walford, who took a shot at a 501 lb deadlift. Kim couldn't quite get it locked out, but it sure is fun to watch the intensity she brings to the platform! There is no doubt that 500+ will be an easy lift for her in the future. Liz Freel, Laura Strylund and last year's Open winner Lynne Nelson completed the Open class. Laura Strylund had a fantastic day of lifting, totaling 445 and losing to Liz on bodyweight. She did, however, take home the M1 title and the nomination to Master's Worlds. Rhonda Clark was on her heels, though, but was unable to get her last deadlift attempt in to pass Laura. Lynne Nelson won the M2 division and was obviously chasing the Mater's World Team nomination, but struggled in her signature lift, missing a normally easy 200 kg pull twice. Teresa Merrick took second in the M2 division, while Terry lee won the M3 division and the Master's World Team nod. Terry also broke the M3 American bench and total records. Rebekah Wilson won the Junior division by a huge margin, beating out Lecia Reimers and Dana Mauriello. Kasa Schroer is our nomination to the Sub-Junior World team, winning the T2 division against Michaele Gertner and T1 winner Kate Wellensiek. It was a tough morning for many with Cydney Smith, Veteran Katie Ford, and Sonja McKinlay, bombing in the squat and Marsha Serre in the bench. However, all four of these ladies are seasoned competitors, and I am sure we will see them all back in proper form soon.
Disa Hatfield won the 82.5 kg class with a 532.5 kg total. She was a little tentative on the platform do a shoulder injury that hindered her squat in the weeks leading up to the competition, but after missing her opener on depth, she came back and got her second and third lifts in easily. She also took a shot at breaking her own American record in the bench, but lost control of the bar on the way up. With 8 months before World's, she has plenty of time to heal up and get ready. Malinda Baum came in second and won the M1 division, but not before she gave her handlers a scare by waiting until her third attempt to get a bench in. Katey Dodge completed the Open division with a 405 kg total. Everyone's favorite Aunt, Regina Hackney, won the M6 division, competing with a broken foot! She learned that she re-broke the injured bone by ignoring her doctor's advice to not squat, but she's determined to heal up before Master's World. Not only did she compete with a broken foot, she broke all 4 M6 American records! The highlight of this class was the return of Linda Jo Belsito, who won the M2 division and broke the M2 American squat, deadlift, and total records. The day before, Linda Jo was one of two inductees (she was joined by Billy Jack Thorton) to the USAPL Women's Hall of Fame. Linda Jo spent her time away competing in Olympic lifting, and it was a pleasure to have her back on the powerlifting platform breaking records.
Jessica Watkins decided to bump up to the unlimited division, leaving the door wide open for Bonica Brown to showcase her talent. At only 17 years-old, Bonica has great future in this sport and the 4 Sub-Junior World records she broke are a testament to that. Bonica put up a 228 kg squat, 123 kg bench, 208 kg deadlift, and a 557.5 kg total. Jill Arnow and Margaret McClean placed 2nd and 3rd and won the M2 and M3 divisions. Jill also went home with 3 brand new M2 American records (squat, bench, and total.) Both ladies only managed to get one bench passed, but still managed PR totals. Nicholl's State product Leigh Arnold won the T3 class with her new T3 American record total, a strong 467.5 kg. Other winners in this weight class were Hope Block, who won the T2 division, and Dorothy Raw with a 225 total at age 67 (M6.) Dorothy also broke 3 M6 American records (squat bench and total.)
Unfortunately, rumors of a possible 600+ attempt in the unlimited class by the 57-year-old Harriet Hall were not to be had. Harriet had been ill all weekend and passed out after her first squat. You can't keep Big Mama down though, she was chugging Pedialyte and cheering the rest of the lifters on by the benches. Harriet keeps getting better with age, and hopefully we will see that squat from her in the near future. Jessica O'Donnell moved into the unlimited class this year to win with a 637.5 kg total. It took Jessica all three attempts to get a good squat in, but she ended the day with an American Open deadlift record of 237.5 kg. Junior class winner Sara Greenup came in second in the Open with a 580 kg total. It wasn't a PR total for Sara, but she did break her own Junior American squat record with the biggest squat of the meet, a strong 245 kg lift. She was followed by Brandie Hirai and T2 winner Lana Allen. T3 winner Tamara Walter placed 5th in the Open behind Lana. Both ladies totaled 485, but Lana earned the nomination to the Sub-Junior World team by virtue of being the lighter lifter. Lana also broke the T1 American bench record with a 119 kg lift, an impressive bench for someone so young. Veteran Sue Hall took 6th and retained her spot on the Master's World team, out totaling fellow former Open and Master's World team member Linda Schaefer. Rachelle Hecht took 7th out the Open division and 2nd in the Junior division. Also competing was Meredith Gertner (3rd in the Juniors) and T2 runner-up Allison Mattox.
Thank you to Dan Guadreau and his staff for hosting a fantastic National meet. Apart from the superb job Dan did in organizing and running the meet, he also made sure that there was plenty of local publicity. Jennifer Rey and Priscilla Ribic appeared on a local TV News program, and Dan had press present at the meet to interview lifters and film the competition. On behalf of all the competitors, I would also like to extend a thank you to our coaches, families, and friends, without whom none of us would be able to excel in this sport. Next year, the Rocky Mountains are replaced with the bayou, as we travel to Baton Rouge to do to all over again. See ya'll next year!
Thanks to Priscilla Ribic for the videos.
Liane Blynn - squat's
Priscilla Ribic - squat's
Jessica O'Donnell - squat's
Jessica O'Donnell - dead's
Sherry Franks - dead's
Sherry Franks - squat's
Jane Welborn - squat's
Harriet Hall nearly passes out
Thanks to Donna Marts, Jane Larson-Welborn and
Priscilla Ribic for all photos.