USA Weightlifting Features Promising U.S. Team ...

Promising U.S. Team Of 16 Ready To Make Mark At Youth Weightlifting Worlds

By USA Weightlifting | June 12, 2022, 5:19 p.m. (ET)

Aerial view of Leon in Guanajuato, MexicoAn aerial view of León, Guanajuato, Mexico in May 2019.


LEÓN, Mexico – A team of 16 promising young athletes is representing USA Weightlifting at the 2022 IWF Youth World Championships in León, Mexico. The 10 women and six men, most of whom are newcomers to the international stage, will compete from June 12-18 in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.

This marks the first youth worlds held in Mexico, which now completes the trifecta of having held the IWF World Championships at each level (youth, junior, senior).

Of the 39 countries entered, the U.S. matches Turkey as the second-largest team behind only host nation Mexico. Team USA joins Egypt, Turkey and Mexico in sending a full women’s squad, while only Mexico and Ecuador have more men with 10 and seven, respectively.

USA Weightlifting has had breakout success at the premier international competition for weightlifters aged 13-17 (or turning that age the year of the competition) since hosting the 2019 IWF Youth World Championships in Las Vegas. The first youth worlds was held in 2009 and a U.S. team had never earned more than eight medals, nor had more than four medalists, at a single edition in that first decade. In 2019, seven athletes contributed to the team’s 16 medals. The event was not contested in 2020 due to the pandemic but the following year eight Americans helped rack up 15 medals.

After many of the recent medalists have aged out, 11 of athletes on this year’s team are making their international debuts in León. Only five enter the competition with experience abroad, including four who return from the 2021 edition of this event that was held only eight months ago.

Mia Rhodes (71kg; Deland, Fla.) leads the pack with her bronze from the 71kg snatch and fifth-place total at the 2021 IWF Youth World Championships in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The 16-year-old, who turns 17 later this month, also swept the bronzes at the 2021 Youth Pan American Championships. Rhodes has held the 13 & under 59kg snatch American record of 64kg since 2018.

Bella Rivera (76kg; Leesburg, Va.) also placed fifth in Jeddah at what was her international debut.

Brianna Marquez (64kg; Mission, Texas) was eighth at last year’s youth worlds. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because her older brother, Mario, finished seventh when he competed at the IWF Junior World Championships just last month in Heraklion, Greece.

Kyle Martin Jr. (81kg; Fleetwood, Pa.) placed 11th at 81kg in Jeddah and fifth as an 89kg lifter at the youth Pan Ams when he entered the world stage last year in Monterrey, Mexico.

Jordan Nantz (49kg; Gilbert, Ariz.) was fourth at that Monterrey meet and returns to Mexico for her second international meet.

Team USA’s average age in León is 15.6, with athletes ranging from 13-year-old Harmony Reed (45kg; Forney, Texas) to Tristan Gatwood (89kg; Mobile, Ala.), the oldest of the four 17-year-olds. Ironically, Gatwood has the fewest weightlifting competitions under his belt with three local meets before entering the 2022 North American Open Series 1, where he punched his ticket to youth worlds.

Three coaches each have two athletes on this year’s U.S. team with Eric Bramwell of Power & Grace Performance coaching Kaylee Landa (81kg; Queen Creek, Ariz.) and Nantz, Garage Strength’s Dane Miller leading Martin Jr. and Ryan McDonald (61kg; Schuylkill Haven, Pa.), and Brittany Rucker of Bexar Barbell responsible for Marquez and Anna Sierra (64kg; San Antonio, Texas).

One fourth of the team hails from Texas: Michael Davidge (89kg; Southlake, Texas), Marquez, Reed, Sierra. Three states – Arizona (Landa, Nantz), Florida with Kale Bunce (81kg; Parrish, Fla.) and Rhodes, Pennsylvania (Martin Jr., McDonald) – have two apiece.


Team USA Competition Schedule (ET)

Harmony Reed (Forney, Texas);  45kg A;  Sunday, June 12, 4 p.m.

Ryan McDonald (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.);  61kg A;  Sunday, June 12, 7 p.m.

Jade Morales (Redwood City, Calif.); 49kg A;  Monday, June 13, 1 p.m.

Jordan Nantz (Gilbert, Ariz.);  49kg A;  Monday, June 13, 1 p.m.

Ava Giorgi (North, Providence, R.I.);  55kg A;  Monday, June 13, 7 p.m.

Kale Bunce (Parrish, Fla.);  81kg A;  Tuesday, June 14, 7 p.m.

Kyle Martin Jr. (Fleetwood, Pa.);  81kg A;  Tuesday, June 14, 7 p.m.

Brianna Marquez (Mission, Texas);  64kg B;  Wednesday, June 15, 11 a.m.

Anna Sierra (San Antonio, Texas);  64kg A;  Wednesday, June 15, 1 p.m.

Michael Davidge (Southlake, Texas);  89kg A;  Wednesday, June 15, 4 p.m.

Tristan Gatwood (Mobile, Ala.);  89kg A;  Wednesday, June 15, 4 p.m.

Mia Rhodes (Deland, Fla.);  71kg A;  Wednesday, June 15, 7 p.m.

Bella Rivera (Leesburg, Va.);  76kg A;  Thursday, June 16, 4 p.m.

Walker Hooper (Clarksville, Tenn.);  96kg A;  Thursday, June 16, 7 p.m.

Kaylee Landa (Queen Creek, Ariz.);  81kg A;  Friday, June 17, 4 p.m.

Malia Levy (Highland, Utah);  +81kg A;  Saturday, June 18, 1 p.m.