COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Weightlifting announced today its team for the first-ever Junior Pan American Games.
Led by 2021 junior world champion Olivia Reeves, the impressive 10-member squad includes five athletes who have medaled at either the youth or junior world championships in the past two years.
The U.S. women’s team includes Katie Estep (55kg; Auburn, Wash.), Meaghan Strey (59kg; Auburn, Wash.), Reeves (76kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.), Anna McElderry (87kg; Oley, Pa.) and Avery Owens (+87kg; Fort Meade, Md.), while the men competing are Hampton Morris (61kg; Marietta, Ga.), Ryan Grimsland (67kg; Lewisville, N.C.), Chrisanto D’Agostino (96kg; Moorhead, Minn.), Morgan McCullough (109kg; Granite Falls, N.C.) and Ryland Shriver (+109kg; Sacramento, Calif.).
The United States qualified a full weightlifting team of five men and five women after both teams finished third at the rescheduled 2020 Junior Pan American Championships.
Established in 2019 by Panam Sports, the Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games will showcase the world’s best under-23 athletes competing in 39 sport disciplines from Nov. 25-Dec. 5 in Cali and Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Winners will qualify for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
Weightlifters are required to be between 15 and 20 years old for Cali 2021 and are expected to compete Nov. 26-29. The sport will be contested in all 14 Olympic weight classes.
The inaugural U.S. Junior Pan American Games Weightlifting Team ranges in age from 17 to 20 and hails from eight states. Estep is the youngest at 17 years old, while D’Agostino is the oldest at 20.
Morris, also 17, is the current junior world record holder for the 61kg clean and jerk (155kg). He is also one of two junior American record holders on the team; he set the 61kg clean and jerk and total (271kg) records earlier this year. He holds 12 youth American records as well.
Strey set the 59kg snatch junior American record of 91kg in June.
Like Morris, Estep (2), McCullough (5), Owens (2) and Reeves (4) also hold multiple youth American records.
Several athletes on this team first made a name for themselves when Las Vegas hosted the IWF Youth World Championships in 2019, when Reeves swept all three silver medals in the 71kg, while McCullough earned silver in the 96kg clean and jerk and Grimsland took bronze in the 67kg clean and jerk.
At this year’s IWF Junior World Championships, Reeves won 71kg gold in both the total and clean and jerk, and silver in the snatch, while McElderry was second in the 76kg snatch and Owens claimed all three 87kg silver medals.
All nominations are subject to approval by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.