BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Continuing an era of excellence, the U.S. weightlifting team capped a strong showing at the 2022 Pan American Championships with 27 medals. Across six days of competition, Team USA earned 12 gold medals, seven silvers and eight bronzes.
For the third Pan American Championships running, the U.S. finished second in the overall medal count, second in the gold-medal count and second for medals earned for totals – all to host nation Colombia.
Team USA also had the second-highest number of champions at the competition, five to Colombia’s seven, including Shayla Moore Hutchins (55kg; Jefferson, Ga.), Hampton Morris (61kg; Atlanta, Ga.), Hayley Reichardt (49kg; Leesport, Pa.), Sarah Robles (+87kg; Desert Hot Springs, Calif.) and Mattie Rogers (76kg; Geneva, Fla.).
“I’m very proud of how everyone competed, and the 27 medals Team USA brought home are a testament to that, despite having less than full teams on both the men’s and women’s sides,” said Mike Gattone, USA Weightlifting’s senior director of sport performance and coaching education. “We have amazing depth in USA Weightlifting and this will continue to provide lots of excitement as we move through this qualifying period for Paris 2024.”
Compared to the four nations that sent full teams of 20 athletes, plus Colombia’s 19, the U.S. team was 17 strong for this meet: nine women, eight men. Thirteen of those athletes earned hardware in Bogotá, the same number that did so at the 2021 Pan American Championships when Team USA consisted of 19 competitors.
The U.S. women’s team finished third, 38 points behind winner Colombia and just 22 off second-placed Ecuador. Combined with their win at the 2021 edition, the U.S. women are second in qualification for spots at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023. That means the U.S. will send the maximum number of women to Santiago next year.
Despite being short an athlete, the U.S. women still earned more gold medals than any other country’s women this year.
Olympians Robles and Rogers are the only Americans who swept the gold medals in their bodyweight categories. The former put up her highest total since last year’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, while the latter broke her own clean & jerk American record with a lift of 141kg and extended her medal streak to seven consecutive senior-level Pan American Championships.
CiCi Kyle (45kg; Pensacola, Fla.) and Reichardt also took home three medals apiece. Kyle collected all silvers. Reichardt, meanwhile, earned one of each color: gold in the total, silver for clean & jerk and bronze for snatch. The other U.S. women’s medalists are Olympian Jourdan Delacruz (49kg; Wylie, Texas) with silver in the total and clean & jerk gold, Moore Hutchins who won the clean & jerk and total, Taylor Wilkins (59kg; Saint Johns, Fla.) who was second in the clean & jerk and third in the total, and 2021 world champion Meredith Alwine (71kg; Norfolk, Va.) who took bronze in both the clean & jerk and total.
Alwine, Reichardt and Wilkins have now medaled at the past three Pan American Championships, starting streaks of their own.
The U.S. men placed seventh in Colombia, giving them sixth place when combined with their fourth from last year. The weightlifting qualification system for Santiago 2023 has yet to be published, so it is unclear how many quotas the U.S. has earned.
Morris easily stole the show among them, breaking the junior world record, junior Pan American record, open American record and junior American record with a 162kg clean & jerk, bettering the mark he last set on July 1 at the USA Weightlifting National Championships. The 18-year-old’s clean & jerk and total wins were among the U.S. men’s seven medals.
In his Team USA debut, Alejandro Medina (+109kg; Miami, Fla.) scored snatch silver and total bronze in the men’s super heavyweight class, where Olympian Caine Wilkes (+109kkg; Indian Trail, N.C.) claimed bronze in the clean & jerk. Jacob Horst (73kg; Leesport, Pa.) earned bronze in the snatch, marking the second Pan American Championships where both he and longtime girlfriend Reichardt medaled. Ryan Sester (102kg; Gresham, Ore.) was unable to total, but he still landed on the podium with third in the clean & jerk.
In addition to the world, Pan American and American records set, three more athletes had personal bests. Derek Beauchamp (89kg; Port Orange, Fla.) increased his snatch record by a massive four kilograms, hitting 160kg. Reichardt bettered her snatch from 83kg to 84kg and her total from 189kg to 192kg. Medina improved his snatch two kilograms to 172kg.
Beau Brown (89kg; Colby, Kan.) had swept the bronze medals at the 2021 Pan American Championships in November at his first international outing but had a tough go at it this time in a session that showed just how far the rest of the world has come in eight months. He was third in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with a 335kg total; the same placement in Bogotá required an additional 37 kilograms. Brown finished 10th with a 333kg total.
Brian Reisenauer (61kg; Fargo, N.D.) was able to save his performance on his final clean & jerk attempt, but it was something he did off the platform that became the highlight of his time in Colombia. The day after he lifted, Reisenauer successfully proposed to fellow lifter and now-fiancée Katie Marco.
Kyle, at age 37, left the competition as the oldest medalist of the meet. The next-oldest women’s medalist is Robles, who trails her by four years. At 35, Wilkes is the second-oldest men’s medalist, missing out on that status by a mere three months.
For the second year, Morris is the youngest medalist of the Pan American Championships.
The rankings of most decorated athlete on this team shifted by the close of competition. Rogers now leads with 20 career Pan American Championships medals, followed by Wilkes, who has also medaled at all seven of his appearances but with a total of 19. Robles’ 18 medals from the event trails; she is still the most experienced, though, with eight Pan American Championships appearances plus two Pan American Games to her name.
A two-time Olympic medalist, Robles was the only member of the team to have a perfect six-for-six performance, which aided her in making her ninth world championships team dating back to 2009. Beauchamp and Allee Tallman (76kg; Farmington, N.Y.), both in their first international competitions, went five for six.
Like Robles, Wilkins made the most of her final opportunity to improve her world team ranking. After being bumped off the team earlier in July during the national championships, she hit the exact total she needed to earn a spot on her first world team. Wilkins also attempted to break her own clean & jerk American record of 122kg with a 124kg lift but after bouncing up and down a few times on the clean, she was unable to complete the jerk. Reichardt was the only other athlete with movement in the world team rankings, improving her standing from fifth to third.
Eleven of the 17 athletes from the Pan American Championships team are expected to return to Bogotá in four months for the 2022 IWF World Championships, along with nine other talented U.S. lifters. The world team will be announced following the invitation and acceptance phase.
Team USA Results
Hampton Morris (61kg; Atlanta, Ga.) – Snatch: 117kg (5th), Clean & Jerk: 162kg (gold, JWR/JPAR/AR/JAR/PR), Total: 279kg (gold)
Brian Reisenauer (61kg; Fargo, N.D.) – Snatch: 116kg (6th), Clean & Jerk: 140kg (9th), Total: 256kg (8th)
Jacob Horst (73kg; Leesport, Pa.) – Snatch: 143kg (bronze), Clean & Jerk: 165kg (5th), Total: 308kg (4th)
Derek Beauchamp (89kg; Port Orange, Fla.) – Snatch: 160kg (5th, PR), Clean & Jerk: 177kg (11th), Total: 337kg (9th)
Beau Brown (89kg; Colby, Kan.) – Snatch: 148kg (10th), Clean & Jerk: 185kg (7th), Total: 333kg (10th)
Ryan Sester (102kg; Gresham, Ore.) – Snatch: DNP, Clean & Jerk: 196kg (bronze)
Alejandro Medina (+109kg; Miami, Fla.) – Snatch: 172kg (silver, PR), Clean & Jerk: 202kg (4th), Total: 374kg (bronze)
Caine Wilkes (+109kg; Indian Trail, N.C.) – Snatch: 168kg (5th), Clean & Jerk: 205kg (bronze), Total: 373kg (4th)
CiCi Kyle (45kg; Pensacola, Fla.) – Snatch: 71kg (silver), Clean & Jerk: 89kg (silver), Total: 160kg (silver)
Jourdan Delacruz (49kg; Wylie, Texas) – Snatch: 83kg (4th), Clean & Jerk: 108kg (gold), Total: 191kg (silver)
Hayley Reichardt (49kg; Leesport, Pa.) – Snatch: 84kg (bronze, PR), Clean & Jerk: 108kg (silver), Total: 192kg (gold, PR)
Shayla Moore Hutchins (55kg; Jefferson, Ga.) – Snatch: 83kg (4th), Clean & Jerk: 110kg (gold), Total: 193kg (gold)
Taylor Wilkins (59kg; Saint Johns, Fla.) – Snatch: 93kg (4th), Clean & Jerk: 122kg (silver), Total: 215kg (bronze)
Meredith Alwine (71kg; Norfolk, Va.) – Snatch: 102kg (4th), Clean & Jerk: 132kg (bronze), Total: 234kg (bronze)
Mattie Rogers (76kg; Geneva, Fla.) – Snatch: 111kg (gold), Clean & Jerk: 141kg (gold, AR/PR), Total: 252kg (gold)
Allee Tallman (76kg; Farmington, N.Y.) – Snatch: 96kg (9th), Clean & Jerk: 125kg (8th), Total: 221kg (9th)
Sarah Robles (+87kg; Desert Hot Springs, Calif.) – Snatch: 125kg (gold), Clean & Jerk: 154kg (gold), Total: 279kg (gold)