HERAKLION, Greece – Ryan Grimsland (73kg; Lewisville, N.C.) and Olivia Reeves (71kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.) are the latest U.S. athletes to earn medals at the 2022 IWF Junior World Championships, and also the first two U.S. medalists on the Greek island of Crete to claim medals across the board in the snatch, clean & jerk and total.
With two days and six athletes to lift, Team USA sits second to Turkey in the total medal count and third in the gold-medal count, behind Indonesia and Turkey. The 11 medals won so far mark the United States’ third-highest junior worlds medal tally of the 21st century.
Grimsland, a student at Lenoir Rhyne University, competed in the 73kg A session on Thursday, May 5. The 20-year-old was making his junior worlds debut in his final year of eligibility.
A longtime 67kg competitor, Grimsland had placed fourth at the 2019 Youth World Championships in Las Vegas and won gold at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games in Colombia in that bodyweight category.
He made an impressive international debut at 73kg in Heraklion by sweeping the bronzes, setting two personal records and going five for six. After snatches of 136 and 140, he made a five-kilogram jump to 145 and set a new PR by an astounding seven kilos; he was one kilo shy of snatch silver medalist Alexey Churkin of Kazakhstan. In the clean & jerk, Grimsland made 176 and 182, tying his PR, before a majority ruling of no lift on his attempt of 187, which would have been good for clean & jerk gold.
Rizki Juniansyah of Indonesia won gold with a 341kg total, followed by Churkin taking silver at 329kg and Grimsland the bronze with a total PR of 327kg. Lifting in the B session, Caden Cahoy (73kg; Jacksonville, Fla.) bested all his PRs with a 121kg snatch (14th), 160kg clean & jerk (8th) and 281kg total (11th).
Exactly 24 hours later, Reeves followed Grimsland’s lead and medaled every chance she had.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham student entered the meet as the defending junior world champion at 71kg and she has only continued to turn heads since, winning the 2021 Junior Pan American Championships and Junior Pan American Games before placing fourth at her senior-level world championships debut, which included a silver medal in the snatch.
This time she won snatch gold, an improvement from her snatch silver last year, with a three-for-three performance that ended at 107kg, a three-kilo personal best. Reeves struggled in the clean & jerk, though, missing both her first (128kg) and second (129kg) lifts on the jerk. With the pressure of having one attempt left and with a medal on the line, Reeves delivered in impressive fashion with a speedy lift of 129kg – good for silver in both the clean & jerk and total (236kg, a two-kilo PR).
Reeves has one year of junior eligibility remaining and could aim to reclaim her title in 2022.
Egyptian Neama Said won the gold with one kilogram more than Reeves, a 237 total. Mariana Garcia Gomez took the bronze with 222kg. Also in the A session, Reagan Henry (71kg; Warrensburg, Mo.) set three PRs at her world championship debut of any level with an 88kg snatch (10th), 117kg clean & jerk (8th) and 205kg total (9th).
In other recent Team USA action, the women have led the way as 2019 junior world team member Abby Raymond (64kg; Roselle, Ill.) placed sixth in the 64kg with an 88kg snatch (6th, PR) and 108kg clean & jerk (5th) for a 196kg total (PR). After earning youth worlds silver last year, 17-year-old Alyssa Ballard (76kg; Amarillo, Texas) was eighth in the 76kg with an 84kg snatch (10th), 112kg clean & jerk (6th) and 196kg total.
Competing out of the B session in the men’s 81kg, Preston Powell (81kg; Chattanooga, Tenn.) finished a strong seventh in the snatch with a PR-tying 140kg lift. At his second junior worlds, Powell set PRs in both the clean & jerk (166kg, 11th) and total (306kg, 10th). Dade Stanley (89kg; Beaufort, S.C.) and Lander Wells (89kg; Elko New Market, Minn.) both lifted in the 89kg B session. Stanley, a 2019 youth worlds silver medalist, was 14th in the snatch (135kg), 17th in the clean & jerk (159kg) and 14th in total (294kg). Wells, who placed 14th at this event last year, was 20th in the snatch with 130kg; though his second clean & jerk attempt was initially called a good lift before being overturned, he did not place in the clean & jerk and therefore the total.