BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Eager to earn the maximum team size for next year’s Pan American Games, USA Weightlifting has fielded a deep team for the 2022 Pan American Championships. The 265-athlete competition runs from Sunday, July 24, through Friday, July 29, in the capital of Colombia.
Each nation’s results from this competition will be combined with their 2021 Pan American Championships results to determine the number of men and women each team sends to the Pan American Games Santiago 2023. The U.S. won the women’s team title last year, while the U.S. men placed fourth.
Bogotá is sometimes known as “La Ciudad de Todos,” or the City of Everyone, which is especially apropos for this occasion as Team USA has something for everyone.
The 17-athlete squad includes 11 athletes who have medaled at previous Pan American Championships and four lifters making their international debuts this week. There are a collective 33 prior Pan American Championships appearances among the group, which as amassed an amazing 85 medals from previous editions.
Eleven states are represented in California, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, with Florida having the greatest number of athletes on the team at five.
Eight athletes return from the 2021 Pan American Championships, held eight months ago, including champions Meredith Alwine (71kg; Norfolk, Va.), Hampton Morris (61kg; Atlanta, Ga.) and Hayley Reichardt (49kg; Leesport, Pa.), plus medalists Beau Brown (89kg; Colby, Kan.), Jacob Horst (73kg; Leesport, Pa.), Mattie Rogers (76kg; Geneva, Fla.) and Taylor Wilkins (59kg; Saint Johns, Fla.). Ryan Sester (102kg; Gresham, Ore.) is seeking his first Pan Am medal after finishing fourth last year.
The team spans a stunning age gap of nearly 20 years, with 37-year-old CiCi Kyle (45kg; Pensacola, Fla.) and 18-year-old Morris being 19 years, 4 months apart.
Kyle, a physician assistant, has been defying the norm since she took up weightlifting in 2013 at 28 years old. She made her international debut at age 35 and swept the gold medals at the rescheduled 2020 Pan American Championships, held April 2021. She is the oldest U.S. woman to compete at the Pan American Championships in six years.
Morris, meanwhile, is a weightlifting wunderkind. Less than three months ago, he added a junior world title and junior world record to his 2021 youth world title and two youth world records. Earlier this month, he broke the clean & jerk and total American records, plus set the snatch junior American record, while training through the USA Weightlifting National Championships for the Pan American Championships.
The 2022 Pan American Championships serves as the final qualifier before the U.S. team is solidified for the 2022 IWF World Championships, which means every athlete competing this week will be looking to earn a spot on that team or maintain and defend their place on the team. Wilkins, for example, was bumped from 10th in the world team rankings – of which 10 women will be named to the team – to 11th for the time being after the national championships. She broke her own snatch American record at that meet and is poised for a big performance at Pan Ams.
The 2022 World Championships, which will also be held in Bogotá, is the first competition that is part of the 2024 Olympic qualification system.
The U.S. team in Bogotá also includes half the 2020 U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team in Jourdan Delacruz (49kg; Wylie, Texas), Sarah Robles (+87kg; Desert Hot Springs, Calif.), Rogers and Caine Wilkes (+109kg; Indian Trials, N.C.). Pan Ams marks the first international meet for both Delacruz and Wilkes since the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 exactly one year ago. Delacruz swept the 49kg category at her last Pan Am appearance, while Wilkes has more Pan Am medals than any other athlete on the team with an astounding 18.
Robles is the most experienced U.S. athlete, however; this marks her eighth Pan American Championships, in addition to her two Pan American Games, over the last 14 years. Rogers, who broke all three 76kg American records only three weeks ago, is looking to extend a streak of medaling at six consecutive Pan American Championships – across four bodyweight categories.
The Americans are competing in 12 weight classes, ranging from the lightest, Kyle at 45kg, to the heaviest, Alejandro Medina (+109kg; Miami, Fla.) and Wilkes at +109kg.
Medina is one of the athletes competing abroad for the first time, along with fellow Floridian Derek Beauchamp (89kg; Port Orange, Fla.), plus talent transfer athletes Shayla Moore Hutchins (55kg; Jefferson, Ga.) and Allee Tallman (76kg; Farmington, N.Y.). Moore Hutchins and Tallman both started lifting in 2018 after being recruited through USA Weightlifting’s Transitional Athlete Program following successful collegiate acrobatics and tumbling careers at Baylor University and Quinnipiac University, respectively.
Brian Reisenauer (61kg; Fargo, N.D.), meanwhile, is making a long-awaited return to the international stage after making the U.S. team for the 2017 World Championships.
Team USA in Bogotá even features a longtime couple in Reichardt and Horst, who met in high school a year after they both began lifting and have been dating for eight years. Both medaled at the 2021 Pan American Championships and, for the first time, are in line to be on a world team together.
A full U.S. team schedule is below, and the livestream can be watched at usaw.live.
Team USA Competition Schedule (all times ET)
CiCi Kyle (Pensacola, Fla.); 45kg; Sunday, July 24, 2 p.m.
Hampton Morris (Atlanta, Ga.); 61kg; Sunday, July 24, 7 p.m.
Brian Reisenauer (Fargo, N.D.); 61kg; Sunday, July 24, 7 p.m.
Jourdan Delacruz (Wylie, Texas); 49kg; Monday, July 25, 1 p.m.
Hayley Reichardt (Leesport, Pa.); 49kg; Monday, July 25, 1 p.m.
Shayla Moore Hutchins (Jefferson, Ga.); 55kg; Monday, July 25, 6 p.m.
Jacob Horst (Leesport, Pa.); 73kg; Tuesday, July 26, 2 p.m.
Taylor Wilkins (Saint Johns, Fla.); 59kg; Tuesday, July 26, 4:30 p.m.
Derek Beauchamp (Port Orange, Fla.); 89kg; Wednesday, July 27, 2 p.m.
Beau Brown (Colby, Kan.); 89kg; Wednesday, July 27, 2 p.m.
Meredith Alwine (Norfolk, Va.); 71kg; Wednesday, July 27, 7 p.m.
Mattie Rogers (Geneva, Fla.); 76kg; Thursday, July 28, 2:30 p.m.
Allee Tallman (Farmington, N.Y.); 76kg; Thursday, July 28, 2:30 p.m.
Ryan Sester (Gresham, Ore.); 102kg; Thursday, July 28, 5 p.m.
Sarah Robles (Desert Hot Springs, Calif.); +87kg; Friday, July 29, 3:30 p.m.
Alejandro Medina (Miami, Fla.); +109kg; Friday, July 29, 6 p.m.
Caine Wilkes (Indian Trails, N.C.); +109kg; Friday, July 29, 6 p.m.