Team USA cleaning up at 2019 Pan American Championships

By Kelsey Kennedy | April 26, 2019, 12:25 a.m. (ET)

Guatemala City, Guatemala (April 25, 2019) – Six members of Team USA took the Pan American Championships platform Thursday, winning 11 medals on the day and bringing the team’s total medal count to 26.

In the 71kg category, Team USA’s Mattie Rogers and Kate Nye went head to head, battling back and forth for medals, records and ROBI points. Nye came out on top and was named the Pan American Champion after going six for six. Every lift she made broke a record and she came away with the Junior and Senior Pan American records and junior and senior American records in snatch, clean and jerk and total.

Nye opened the snatch portion of the competition at 104kg, then jumped to 107kg and 110kg, making all three.

“I did it a while ago but only once,” Nye said of her 110kg snatch during this training cycle. “We went in knowing I’d have the opportunity to make it and I felt pretty confident about it. I’ve been pulling well and haven’t missed anything under 108kg in months.”

She hit 128kg, 131kg then 135kg clean and jerks for a 245kg total and all new records.

Rogers put up a fierce competition hitting 103kg and 106kg in the snatch. She missed 108kg on her third attempt. She made her opening clean and jerk attempt of 132kg and gave 136kg and 140kg her all. Rogers had never previously attempted a 140kg clean and jerk. She made the clean but missed the jerk sweeping silver in the 71kg category.

Mattie Sasser started the day for Team USA earning a gold medal for her 129kg clean and jerk and a bronze medal for her 227kg total in the 64kg category. She went five for six overall, coming away with four new records. Sasser made 95kg and 98kg in the snatch before missing 101kg. She came in 5th place in the lift.

Her perfect clean and jerk session earned her the senior Pan American and American records and the gold medal in the lift.

“I was tired, so I had to remind myself to give it my best,” Sasser told USA Weightlifting after her session. “I had to go out there and crush it.”

Christian Rodriguez Ocasio put up personal bests in the 81kg body weight category, going five for six. He made 140kg and 145kg snatches look easy before hitting 151kg on his final attempt. He came in fifth in the snatch.

Rodriguez Ocasio hit 181kg then 185kg in the clean and jerk before the jury overturned his 191kg lift. “I’m glad I attempted it,” he said. “It was a really good attempt.” He came in 4th in the clean and jerk and 5th overall with a 336kg total, a 5kg personal record over his previous total.

John Downey and Jordan Cantrell took the stage in the 89kg category, the last session of the day in Guatemala City. In his first international competition, Downey went three for three in the snatch hitting lifts of 140kg, 145kg and 150kg. Cantrell hit 153kg on his opening attempt securing silver in the lift. He missed 158kg on his second and third attempts.

Cantrell swept silver with a 190kg clean and jerk, matching his best lift at the 2018 World Championships. He totaled 434kg. “I feel like I should’ve gone six for six but I’ll take the lifts I made,” Cantrell said after the session. “I felt great today. I’ll take the medals”

Downey hit a 178kg clean and jerk on his second attempt, after missing it on his first. He missed 186kg on his third attempt narrowly missing the podium. He earned the fourth spot overall with a 328kg total.

Four more athletes compete for Team USA Friday at the Pan American Championships:

96kg 10:00 am - Jason Bonnick

76kg 12:30 pm - Jenny Arthur

102kg 3:00 pm - D'Angelo Osorio

109kg 7:00 pm - Wes Kitts

Catch the action LIVE from Guatemala City HERE!