PALMIRA, Colombia – While Sunday was a day of rest for some, it turned out to be a day of personal records and medals for U.S. weightlifters at the Junior Pan American Games Cali-Valle 2021. Four athletes took to the platform, earning two medals and matching or beating an impressive six personal records.
Olivia Reeves (76kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.) led the way for Team USA, winning the women’s 76kg gold medal by astounding margins.
The 2021 junior world champion went six for six, making all her lifts, just as she had when she won the rescheduled 2020 Junior Pan American Championship, which was held in July of this year. Reeves, 18, opened with a 95kg snatch, then moved up to 98 and ended at 105, which was a kilogram higher than her previous personal record and eight kilos higher than any of her competitors.
Her clean and jerk attempts were 120, 125 and 130kg, the latter tying her personal record set at the 2020 Junior Pan American Championship. Reeves’ total of 235kg also bested her previous best by one kilo and was 17 kilograms higher than the rest of the field. Ecuador’s Kelin Juliana Jimenez Quiñonez took silver with 218kg, followed by Sindy Santana Carrion (217kg) of the Dominican Republic.
Reeves’ win secured her a spot by name at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023.
Morgan McCullough (109kg; Granite Falls, N.C.), also 18, went five for six and earned the bronze medal in the men’s 109kg. McCullough, the silver medalist at the rescheduled 2020 Junior Pan American Championship, made his first two snatches of 140 and 145kg, tying his personal record before missing 148kg. He made all three clean and jerk lifts of 181, 183 and 190kg, topping his total PR by two kilograms with 333kg.
Colombia’s Luis Miguel Quiñones won with new junior Pan American records in the clean and jerk (201kg) and total (356kg). Mexico’s Antonio Jose Govea Sandoval was second with 339kg.
Chrisanto D’Agostino (96kg; Moorhead, Minn.), the oldest member of the U.S. weightlifting team in Colombia at 20, began the day with a sixth-place finish in the men’s 96kg. He made his first lift of 135kg before missing two snatch attempts at 140, and then went three for three in the clean and jerk, jumping from 170 to 178 and 185kg, the latter a new personal record by five kilograms, for a 320kg total. D’Agostino swept the 102kg silver medals at the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship last month. Colombia’s Yeison Adolfo Lopez Cuello won with a 353kg total, followed by Mexico’s Jonathan David Ramos Chaires (330kg) and Ecuador’s Neiser Javier Grefa Vargas (329kg).
Anna McElderry (87kg; Oley, Pa.), 19, closed out the night with a fifth-place total of 213kg in the women’s 87kg; this is her first competition in the weight category. She made snatches of 94 and 97kg, missing her final attempt of 100, a would-be PR. In the clean and jerk, McElderry lifted 116kg on her first attempt and was unable to complete 121 and 123kg. She had won the rescheduled 2020 Junior Pan American Championship title and was fourth at the 2021 IWF Junior World Championships, both at 81kg.
Ecuador’s Bella Nancy Paredes Arreaga won the event with new junior Pan American records across the board (101kg, 128kg, 229kg), while Colombia’s Sirley Daniela Montaño Granja (225kg) and Cuba’s Elizabeth Caridad Reyes Entenza (222kg) took silver and bronze.
With six medals, the U.S. weightlifting team trails only the host nation in the sport’s medal table.
Weightlifting competition at the Cali-Valle Games concludes Monday with Team USA’s Avery Owens (+87kg; Fort Meade, Md.) lifting at 9 a.m. ET and Ryland Shriver (+109kg; Sacramento, Calif.) at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Day 3 Team USA Weightlifting Results:
Chrisanto D’Agostino (96kg; Moorhead, Minn.); Snatch: 135kg, Clean and Jerk: 185kg, Total: 320kg (6th)
Olivia Reeves (76kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.); Snatch: 105kg, Clean and Jerk: 130kg, Total: 235kg (gold)
Morgan McCullough (109kg; Granite Falls, N.C.); Snatch: 145kg, Clean and Jerk: 190kg, Total: 335kg (bronze)
Anna McElderry (87kg; Oley, Pa.); Snatch: 97kg, Clean and Jerk: 116kg, Total: 213kg (5th)