USA Weightlifting Features Lifters Bring their ...

Lifters Bring their Best to Women's Olympic Trials

By Anna Resman | May 12, 2016, 8 a.m. (ET)

With two Olympic berths left on the table, the stakes were higher for the female lifters heading into the women’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Going into Sunday evening, rankings were tight for the top Olympic hopefuls. Lifters are ranked based on the percentage of their qualifying total to the historical third place total at the Olympics for their weight category. Qualifying totals include not only the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but also the 2015 World Championships, 2015 American Open, and 2016 Senior Trials. 

2008 Olympian Melanie Roach (Bonney Lake, Wash.) kicked off the snatch session with 75kg loaded on the bar. She missed her first attempt and then successfully moved the bar overhead in her second. Her third attempt at 77kg was not completed. Roach, competing at 53kg, was the oldest female athlete in the Trials at 41 years.   

Also at 53kg, Olympic Training Center resident athlete Cortney Batchelor (Mobile, Ala.) nailed 86kg on her second snatch attempt. She had her eyes set on breaking the American record on her third attempt; however, the lift was not completed.

Roach made her first clean and jerk attempt at 98kg and tried for 100kg on her second two attempts but did not finish the lift. Batchelor started at 105kg, and while very close, she did not had a successful attempt.

48kg Morghan King (Redmond, Wash.) missed her first attempt at 80kg but came back to successfully complete that weight on her second attempt. On the final attempt, she missed 83kg, which would have been a new American record in the category snatch.

After the break., King made her first clean and jerk at 95kg and then missed 100kg on the second attempt. Knowing that every kilo was critical in this close competition, she left no room for question by successfully completing 100kg on her last attempt. 

King totaled at 180kg and finished the competition with the highest percentage of qualifying total to historical Olympic average, which solidified her ticket to Rio.

In the 58kg category, Jessica Lucero (Tustin, Calif.) would not take no for an answer and remained focused to set three new American records. After two unsuccessful snatch attempts at 91kg and 93kg, she smoothly handled the pressure to nail 93kg on her final attempt. In a similar fashion for the clean and jerk, it was also her final attempt at 115kg that sealed the deal. She totaled at 208kg, which was 8kg above the previous record.  

Jenny Arthur (Gainesville, Ga.) competed at 75kg. The pressure was lower for Arthur as she already secured her berth earlier this year. There are several qualification routes to the U.S. Olympic Team – one of which is top U.S. placement at the two consecutive IWF World Championships leading up to the Games. Arthur finished fourteenth in 2014 and then eighth this past November in Houston, Texas. 

As she took the stage for the snatch session, Arthur appeared calm and collected. She successfully completed her first two attempts at 100kg and 104kg and then missed her final attempt at 107kg, which would have been a new American record.

Arthur went 2 for 3 in the clean and jerk, with successful second and third attempts at 129kg and 135kg. She totaled at 239kg.

Headed into Trials, Mattie Rogers (Apopka, Fla.) was ranked very high among the Olympic hopefuls. Rogers, at only 20 years of age, has quickly excelled over the past several years. She easily lifted 103kg overhead in her first snatch attempt and then broke her own American record with a successful second attempt at 106kg. On the third attempt, she aimed to break the record again at 109kg. She moved the bar overhead but was unable to stand up before the bar dropped behind her. 

In the clean and jerk, Rogers completed 132kg on her second attempt after missing that weight on the first. She needed to lift 141kg on her third attempt to place higher than Robles and earn an Olympic berth. Rogers stepped up to the platform focused and determined; however, she was unable to clean the bar, and the lift was not completed.

This is just the beginning for Rogers. She already has her eyes set on the Pan American Championships next month where she will get another opportunity to break records. Rogers received the Best Female Lifter award for the weekend, factoring in participants from both the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and National Championships.

2012 Olympic Sarah Robles (Desert Hot Springs, Calif.) was the last contender on the platform, competing at +75kg. The bar was set at 118kg for the snatch; she did not successfully complete this weight on her three attempts. Despite this, Robles bounced back for a 2 for 3 performance in the clean and jerk. Her final two attempts were successful at 146kg and 150kg.

While Robles did not total due to the snatch, her qualifying total from the 2015 World Championships secured her Olympic berth. Qualification criteria requires participation in the Olympic Trials; however, a total is not required – as long as the lifter has a total from one of the other three qualifying events. 

Robles will bring her Olympic expertise to the team and help to prepare Arthur and King for the exciting days that lie ahead; she was one of the two females to lift for Team USA in London and placed seventh overall.

Other Trials participants, also with notable performances, included Kathleen Winters (Bozeman, Mont.), Kelly Rexroad-Williams (Flowery Branch, Ga.), Ariel Stephens (Sunnyvale, Calif.), Jessie Bradley (Provo, Utah), Jessica Phillips (Kennesaw, Ga.), Mary Peck (Sacramento, Calif.), Holley Mangold (Dayton, Ohio), and Marissa Klingseis (St. Joseph, Ba.).

Next on the agenda for Team USA is the Pan American Championships. Competition will take place at the beginning of June in Cartagena, Colombia.

Full Results

2016 USA Weightlifting National Championships and U.S. Olympic Team Trials

New American Records

58kg women: Jessica Lucero, 93kg snatch

58kg women: Jessica Lucero, 115kg clean and jerk

58kg women: Jessica Lucero, 208kg total 

69kg women: Mattie Rogers, 106kg snatch