Youth lifters are gathering in Austin, Texas, this weekend for the most prestigious youth competition at the national level – the annual USA Weightlifting (USAW) National Youth Championships.
Competition will begin on Friday morning, June 24, at the Austin Convention Center, located in the heart of the city’s downtown district. Performance determines invites to USAW’s youth and junior summer elite camps, the 15U elite camp, and most importantly, several international competitions later this year – the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Youth World Championships in Malaysia and the Pan American Weightlifting Federation (PAWF) Pan American Championships in Guatemala.
Lifters to watch out for include a number of youth American record holders. On the women’s side, Shala McMillian (Palmetto, Fla.), Athena Schrijver (Santa Rosa, Calif.), Juliette Chang-Fane (Merrit Island, Fla.), Kate Wehr (Reading, Pa.), Chloe Tacata (Rohnert Park, Calif.), A’Leah Ross (St. Jospeh, Mo.), Camille Uhlenkamp (Carroll, Iowa), Alexandra Thornton (Dallas, Texas), Emma Nye (Kansas City, Mo.), Olivia Chardon (Stuart, Fla.), and Abigail Flickner (Shawnee, Kan.) hold records.
Men record holders include Terry Roberson Jr. (Savannah, Ga.), Logan Griffith (Virginia Beach, Va.), Dade Stanley (Beaufort, S.C.), Seth Tom (San Francisco, Calif.), Dean Goad (Newnan, Ga.), and Hutch Friend (Shawnee, Kan.).
Youth athletes CJ Cummings (Beaufort, S.C.), Harrison Maurus (Auburn, Wash.), and Hayley Reichardt (Leesport, Pa.) qualified for the 2016 Junior World Championships, which is currently underway in Tibilisi, Georgia. Cummings is competing in Georgia; however, Maurus and Reichardt are recovering from injuries and not participating in either competition this weekend.
Earlier this year, USAW announced its 2016 – 2020 Direct Athlete Support Program, which includes stipend allotments for senior, junior, and youth athletes. A competition session specifically for junior stipend support will take place on Thursday evening. Youth performances throughout the weekend will also be taken into account for stipend support.
The event will take place in conjunction with the Naturally Fit Games, an annual event featuring multiple live sporting competitions under one roof. Over 100 vendors, 2,000 athletes, and 15,000 spectators are expected throughout the weekend.
Pre-event ticket sales have ended; however, spectators may purchase tickets at the door. A live webcast will be available on the USA Weightlifting website.