Miami was the scene for this year's Collegiate Nationals, the meet director Rob Keller. There was a good turnout of lifters, given this was Easter weekend. Less can be said of the judge's turnout! There were only five or six judges who made the trip, and they worked all weekend. I'm sure they were exhausted by the end of the meet Sunday night.
The venue was one of the smaller theatres at the Knight Center where Mr. Keller's been hosting meets lately, but it was a good atmosphere and there really wasn't a bad seat in the house, from a spectator's viewpoint.
The 97lb was a one on one battle between La. Tech's Erica Ellis and LSU's Maria Phister. Phister was victorious in her first national meet.
The 105lb class was all Tina Carder. Tech's 105 was lifting injured and unable to train to her liking, but she still went home with the gold. The 114's were a larger class with 6 lifters. The victor was Ashley Matherne, from Nicholls State (2004 and 2005 Women's Team Champs). This was Ashley's 4th collegiate title, a great ending to a collegiate career which included being Jr. World Champion in 2004.
In the 123's was won by VanBoxtel from U. Wisconsin at Lacrosse.
The 132's was a great battle between old timer Robyn Neiderkorn (taking graduate courses at La. Tech) and Jenna Farek from LSU. Farek came out on top, but it was down to the deadlift between these two.
Alyssa Hitchcock won the 148's she's shown great improvement in the past couple of years since sticking to the 148's. Kimmie Everett from Tech won the 165's, her fourth Collegiate title. Monica Millet from Southeast Louisiana University won the 181's handily; she was on the '05 Sub junior team and plans on making the trip to Sofi, Bulgaria this September as well. The 198's was a tough one to call going into the meet…and stayed that way until the deadlifts. Lifting unattached from her school, Sandra Sebastian of La. Tech won, but Leigh Arnold from LSU had the weight on the bar to make it close, but it just didn't happen this day.
The supers! Wow has this class grown in the past couple of years! Seven lifters and looking at the pre-meet seeds, the top three could have been any one of 4 different lifters. Another '05 Sub junior World team member won this class as well; Amber Heard from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi edged out Tamara Walters from La. Tech (also on the '05 Sub junior team!).
The men's competition started out with Jeremiah "Snoop" Welch lifting unopposed; gold for Tech. The 123's was another unopposed gold for the Tech team; David Summers. The 132's was definitely not unopposed! This class was led by Mike Haffenbrack from Tech, coming up from the 123's last year. He got red-lighted on a sweet 227.5 squat but it didn't faze him a bit; he took home the gold. Second was Travis Ballard from Baton Rouge Community College in his first Collegiates.
The 148's was hard to call going into the meet; there was the consummate bencher Villafranca from Tech, and the natural puller Manny Ruiz from LSU. After the first pull, Ruiz had it locked up, but a miss and another miss and Villafranca gets the gold! Drama.
The 165s looked like it was going to be a dogfight, to judge from the squatting…but 2 year Jr. World vet Josh Rohr from Ashland University pulled it away, using his new sumo deadlift as he took the gold medal.
In the 181's there was a squat-off not to be missed. Godawa from LSU missed his second, added weight and got it; Meche from Tech blew all 3 of his away; Beikmann from Colorado State…well he pushed up his third attempt TWICE. Beikman won the meet, and there's probably going to be a replay of this battle in Milwaukee in just a few weeks.
The 198's was won by another Ashland lifter: Jason Schwalm. When the 220's took to the stage, it was show time for Jeremy Hartman from Bowling Green State. He looked better than he ever has and went gold. The 242's was a going out party for Scott Miller of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He put up a huge squat and took home the gold. The 275's was set to be another clinic…but the leader bombed on the bench and the door opened for a couple more lifters…the gold went to Justin "Zetti" Lorenzetti from Ashland University, the silver to Brandon Bizette from Nicholls State. Brandon was the last lifter ever to lift at this meet from Nicholls State, and he did a great job! The supers were led from the beginning by Jesus Arevalo from La. Tech. With only knee wraps and a belt, he still squatted world class weights, and benched a ton too.
Louisiana Tech regained the women's team championship this year, with LSU coming in second. Louisiana Tech also won the men's team handily, LSU coming in second there as well. Ashland's three first places helped them to a third place finish in the team standings.
Next year's meet will be in Killeen, Texas; Johnny Graham will be the meet director…make plans to be there!
Thanks to Josh Rohr for the all photos except # 2 (Jon Magendie) and also the main page photo.