(Guatemala City, Guatemala) April 27, 2019 – Team USA finished the 2019 Pan American Championships with a historic number of medals and titles. The final medal count rose to 43 on Saturday as Caine Wilkes (+109) and Sarah Robles (+87) were named Pan American Champions and Keiser Witte won bronze medals in the snatch and total.
Sarah Robles went five for six in the competition hitting 118kg, 122kg then 124kg in the snatch.
“The competition went better than my training has been going,” Robles said. “I was pleasantly surprised with how well I performed today.”
She missed her opening clean and jerk of 151kg, but hit 152kg and 155kg for a 279kg total, three gold medals and the Pan American Champion title. “I did a couple weird things that I don’t usually do today,” she said. “My legs were tired when it came time to jerk, but I had to fight and try to win some medals.”
Caine Wilkes was named Pan American Champion in the +109kg category with a 401kg total. Wilkes put up 175kg in the snatch before missing 182kg on his second attempt. He came back to make 182kg on his third attempt, good for a silver medal in the lift. Wilkes missed 212kg on his opening clean and jerk but came back to hit 213kg and 219kg to earn gold in the lift and total.
“It wasn’t quite the lifts I wanted,” Wilkes told USA Weightlifting after the competition. “I felt like I could’ve hit some bigger numbers, but I ended up hitting what I needed to today. It’s been an awesome week for Team USA, and I’m happy to be able to contribute.”
Keiser Witte is bringing home two bronze medals for his 175kg snatch and 387kg total, his first international medals. The 2019 Pan American Championships was Witte’s 5th weightlifting meet ever after switching to the sport from swimming post college. He was originally named an alternate to the team but got the call from USA Weightlifting just last week that Team USA needed him to compete in Guatemala. Witte answered the call, but admits he’s still getting into the swing of things when it comes to weightlifting competition.
“I’m still trying to figure all that out,” Witte said of how he mentally prepared for the competition in one week. “My mind was in a better place this time, a lot more focused and a lot more prepared, so I just need to keep building on that.”
Witte’s 212kg clean and jerk combined with a 175kg snatch improved his international total by 10kg to 387kg.
Team USA is bringing home 43 medals and eight Pan American Championship titles.