Next week, Team USA will compete at the Pan American Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Currently, members of Team USA are fine tuning their last minute preparations for this Gold level qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The team gathered at the Texas Strength Weightlifting Center in Houston, Texas on Wednesday to partake in double sessions leading up to the Pan Am Championships, which will run from April 20th until April 28th. Athletes will leave for Guatemala at different times, according to the date of their competition. The last day of training in Houston will be on April 25th.
This week, Alyssa Ritchey, a member of the USA Weightlifting team spoke with BarBend about her individual preparation.
“This training cycle had by far the most volume and intensity of my last past two-and-a-half years doing the sport,” Ritchey said. The Perrysburg, Ohio native competes in the 49 kg weight class and not only has appeared in the IWF World Championships the past two years, but also is a four-time CrossFit Regional Athlete.
“It’s been amazing to see my body perform so well and get so strong during this training cycle. I’m excited to see what my body is capable [of] at this competition because my positions in my fits have improved immensely and my leg strength feels unreal right now…I am so strong.”
And while the Gold level qualifying event does hold the highest importance for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — as qualifiers are ranked gold, silver and bronze — Ritchey said she’s also just excited to have fun.
“I’m excited to lift, have fun, lift heavy, and enjoy every single moment out there on the stage because of all of my hard work and I deserve it.”
BarBend also got the chance to catch up with Wes Kitts, a member of the USA men’s team.
“Training has been going great! I’ve been lifting as heavy as I ever have and attacking new personal records. I can’t wait to get back on the platform and see how much progress I’ve made,” Kitts, who held the now defunct American-105 kg Senior Snatch Record with 176kg, said. “I’m fired up to defend my title as well!”
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Felt good to get this one out of the way! 223kg (491#) Jerk from Blocks from tonight’s training and the 3rd day of the taper! Definitely feeling the effects of the taper… good and bad. Training has been going great and I’m so excited to compete. I’m going to capture the whole taper (to the best of my ability) for the YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe and you can follow along as I finish my preparation for Pan Ams. @cal_strength @virusintl #training #workout #meetprep #walkthrough #taper #grind #power #overhead #work #drive #driven #calstrength #elite #program #onlinecoaching #fitness #crossfit #competition #usa #motivation #weightlifting #america #besomebody
Jordan Cantrell, another member of the USA men’s team is also feeling strong and ready for competition.
“I have been feeling pretty good. During the training for Pan American Championships I have some new personal records in the squat which has made my lifts feel stronger than ever,” Cantrell said. “I am looking forward to a tough competition and hopefully to win some medals.”
Mike Gattone, USA Weightlifting’s Senior Director of Sports Performance and Coaching Education, has been training the athletes ahead of next week along with Pyrros Dimas, the Technical Director of USA Weightlifting.
Team USA’s Senior Pan American Championships team consist 12 women and 12 men athletes — check out the full roster below!
Team USA Women
|Alyssa Ritchey||49kg||Perrysburg, OH||Max Aita||Team Juggernaut|
|Morghan King||49kg||Atlanta, GA||Spencer Arnold||Power & Grace Performance|
|Jourdan Delacruz||55kg||Atlanta, GA||Spencer Arnold||Power & Grace Performance|
|Caitlin Hogan||55kg||Long Beach, CA||Russell McCarthy||Academy of Weightlifting|
|Jessica Lucero||59kg||Orange, CA||Juan Martinez Baro||Academy of Weightlifting|
|Taylor Turner*||59kg||St. Johns, FL||Vance Newgard||Vero Beach Weightlifting|
|Mattie Sasser||64kg||Chicago, IL||Dave Ester||Unattached|
|Hunter Elam*||64kg||Lewisville, NC||Travis Mash||Mash Mafia Weightlifting|
|Mattie Rogers||71kg||Orlando, FL||Danny Camargo||Team OC|
|Kate Nye||71kg||Oakland Township, MI||Josh Galloway||Team Hercules|
|Jenny Arthur||76kg||Colorado Springs, CO||Kevin Doherty||Unattached|
|Sarah Robles||+87kg||League City, TX||Tim Swords||Team Houston|
Team USA Men
|Jordan Wissinger||67kg||Denver, PA||Dane Miller||Garage Strength|
|Alex Lee||67kg||Chandler, AZ||Shahin Nasirnia||Alee Athletics|
|CJ Cummings||73kg||Beaufort, SC||Rayford Jones||Team Divergent|
|Harrison Maurus||81kg||Auburn, WA||Kevin Simons||Alpha Barbell|
|Christian Rodriguez Ocasio||81kg||San Ramon, CA||David Spitz||California Strength|
|Jordan Cantrell||89kg||Clovis, CA||Travis Mash||Mash Mafia Weightlifting|
|John Downey*||89kg||Irvine, CA||Russell McCarthy||Barbells for Boobs Weightlifting|
|Jason Bonnick||96kg||Laxahatchee, FL||Brian Secrest||Vero Beach Weightlifting|
|D’Angelo Osorio||102kg||Vallejo, CA||Rob Earwicker||Lift 6 for 6 Weightlifting|
|Wes Kitts||109kg||San Ramon, CA||David Spitz||California Strength|
|Caine Wilkes||+109kg||Matthews, NC||Chris Wilkes||Little League Weightlifting|
|Keiser Witte*||+109kg||Phoenix, AZ||Shahin Nasirnia||Alee Athletics|
Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. The two organizations maintain editorial independence unless otherwise noted on specific content projects.
Feature images courtesy of @alyssaritchey1 and @weskitts22 Instagram pages.