HERAKLION, Greece – Featuring only athletes with prior international experience, USA Weightlifting fields a veteran, medal-winning team for the 2022 IWF Junior World Championships that will compete over the next seven days in Heraklion, Greece.
The annual meet is being held May 2-10 on the Mediterranean island of Crete, though no U.S. athletes are entered in the bodyweight categories lifting on the first or final day.
Tied only with host nation Greece, the U.S. has the largest team of the 61 countries entered, qualifying the maximum 10 men and 10 women. Sixteen of the 20 Americans are competing in their category’s A session, which is determined by entry total.
Highlighted by Olivia Reeves (71kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.), Team USA features a astounding nine athletes who have previously medaled at either the youth or junior world championships. The now-19-year-old Reeves earned silver at the 2019 Youth World Championships before winning 2021 Junior World Championships gold and coming in fourth at her first senior worlds later that year, where she claimed silver in the snatch. She is the only member of this team with senior worlds experience.
Anna McElderry (81kg; Oley, Pa.) and Avery Owens (87kg; Alexandria, Va.) join Reeves as returning medalists from the Tashkent, Uzbekistan, junior worlds.
While Reeves has high expectations as a reigning junior world champion, many will also be watching reigning youth world champions Katie Estep (59kg; Auburn, Wash.) and Hampton Morris (61kg; Marietta, Ga.). Estep holds the snatch and total 55kg youth world records and Morris the 61kg clean & jerk and total youth world records.
Half the U.S. team has previously competed at junior worlds, with Abby Raymond (64kg; Roselle, Ill.) doing so in 2019 in Suva, Fiji, and the following athletes making their junior worlds debuts in 2021: Estep, Morgan McCullough (102kg; Hickory, N.C.), McElderry, Owens, Preston Powell (81kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.), Amanda Robles (87kg; Oakley, Calif.), Reeves, Ryland Shriver (109kg; Sacramento, Calif.), Lander Wells (89kg; Elko New Market, Minn.).
Five athletes competed at either the 2019 (Las Vegas, Nev.) and/or 2021 (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) Youth World Championships and will now make their junior worlds debuts in Crete: Alyssa Ballard (76kg; Amarillo, Texas), Timothy Davis (96kg; Owensboro, Ky.), Ryan Grimsland (73kg; Lewisville, N.C.), Morris, Dade Stanley (89kg; Beaufort, S.C.).
Seven total athletes have medaled at the youth worlds level: Ballard, Estep, Grimsland, McCullough, Morris, Reeves, Stanley.
The handful making their world championships debuts at any level – Caden Cahoy (73kg; Jacksonville, Fla.), Leila Cook (55kg; Chicago, Ill.), Reagan Henry (71kg; Warrensburg, Mo.), Mario Marquez (67kg; Mission, Texas), Meaghan Strey (59kg; Auburn, Wash.) – are still plenty experienced with a combined nine youth or junior Pan American events between them.
With the year an athlete turns 20 being their final year of junior eligibility, this marks the final junior world championships opportunity for nine of the 20 athletes: Cook, Grimsland, Henry, McElderry, Owens, Shriver, Stanley, Strey, Wells.
Of note, one fourth of Team USA is coached by a parent on a regular basis as well as at this meet: Cahoy (father Chad), Cook (father Chris), Davis (father Tim), McCullough (mother Crystal), Morris (father Tripp).
Live stream of the competition will be available at usaw.live.
Team USA Competition Schedule (ET)
Leila Cook; 55kg A; Tuesday, May 3, 8 a.m.
Hampton Morris; 61kg A; Tuesday, May 3, 11 a.m.
Mario Marquez; 67kg A; Wednesday, May 4, 8 a.m.
Katie Estep; 59kg A; Wednesday, May 4, 11 a.m.
Meaghan Strey; 59kg A; Wednesday, May 4, 11 a.m.
Caden Cahoy; 73kg B; Thursday, May 5, 5:30 a.m.
Abby Raymond; 64kg A; Thursday, May 5, 8 a.m.
Ryan Grimsland; 73kg A; Thursday, May 5, 11 a.m.
Preston Powell; 81kg B; Friday, May 6, 3 a.m.
Reagan Henry; 71kg A; Friday, May 6, 11 a.m.
Olivia Reeves; 71kg A; Friday, May 6, 11 a.m.
Dade Stanley; 89kg B; Saturday, May 7, 5:30 a.m.
Lander Wells; 89kg B; Saturday, May 7, 5:30 a.m.
Alyssa Ballard; 76kg A; Saturday, May 7, 8 a.m.
Timothy Davis; 96kg A; Sunday, 5/8, 8 a.m.
Anna McElderry; 81kg A; Sunday, 5/8, 11 a.m.
Morgan McCullough; 102kg A; Monday, 5/9, 5:30 a.m.
Avery Owens; 87kg A; Monday, 5/9, 8 a.m.
Amanda Robles; 87kg A; Monday, 5/9, 8 a.m.
Ryland Shriver; 109kg A; Monday, 5/9, 11 a.m.