The Sport of Weightlifting & American Open Series 2 Recap

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Two weekends ago Equality WL traveled to Miami Florida to take part in the USA Weightlifting American Open Series 2. Unlike the local meets we have competed at before, this was a national level meet where you had to meet a certain qualification total (#) to be able to compete. I will get back to those #s shortly.

This year USA Weightlifting created the American Open Series. In years past there has only been 1 final American Open competition which has brought close to 1000 lifters. In an effort to lessen the # of lifters at the final event, they created the American Open Series. There are 3 events in the series, we were at the 2nd one for this year. The qualifying #s needed for the series are lower than the final in which it allows the same # of lifters to compete through the year and making the final event a much higher caliber competition.

Weightlifting is broken down into body weight categories so that competition is held to a fair playing field. Within each body weight category, you will have sub categories called “sessions”. The average session size is anywhere from 14-18 lifters. Depending on the # of athletes, you will see A, B, C, etc. session times. To make it easy to explain and have no discredit to any lifter, an A session will have the strongest lifters and so on down through the different sessions. They will assign a lifter to a session on what openers they declare they will be lifting.

I have attached a chart below so that you can view the different body weight classes. Like I mentioned above, each class has a certain total they have to meet prior to being able to compete/register for the higher level meets.

In addition to body weight, you can/will be classified by your age range. Within the masters class there are age group ranges (35, 40, 45, etc.). Below is a chart to show the ranges of age.

The next time Equality WL is live on the internet you will have a bit of knowledge going into viewing our athletes.


I have said it before: set your goals, make a plan and execute, and this past weekend was just that. Athletes Brooke & Stefanie had an amazing showing, and let’s not forget this was Stefanie’s 1st meet ever. Talk about setting the bar high!

All athletes and coaches arrived in Miami throughout the day on Thursday and attended new coaches/athlete meetings put on by Mattie Rogers coach, Danny Camargo. The following morning we headed to get a training session in and went to the venue to watch a few A sessions lift.

Brooke was up 1st in the lifting schedule in the 63kg C session. Brooke had declared to open with a 55kg snatch but was looking good enough in the back, so we moved her up to 57kg. She made it and got 3 white lights. For those of you who are new to WL, there is a panel of 3 judges, you must have majority vote in your favor of a good lift for it to count. After a successful 57kg we moved to 60kg for attempt #2, and she made it. I called for a 62kg snatch for the 3rd attempt, also made. Lift #3 was a bit of a fight but I told all athletes DO NOT DROP THE BAR UNTIL YOU ARE TOLD OR YOU ARE DEAD. All 3 snatches were made and time to prepare for the Clean & Jerk part of the session.

In the warmup room for a competition your coach plans and times out your lifts so that you are warming up as the weight of the bar on the platform is increasing. Ideally you want your athlete to hit a lift a couple kg under what they will take for their 1st lift on the platform. Timing of warmup lifts for all athletes was perfect throughout the weekend (tooting my own horn).

Opener set at 68kg CJ for Brooke: nailed it and increased to 72kg for attempt #2. Brooke’s 72kg CJ was made and moved to 75kg for her final lift of the competition. A strong fight was put out and attempt #3 was mad successful. A final score in WL is from your best Snatch + CJ = a final total. These 2 #s explained area 62kg/134# + 75kg/165# = 137kg/301# final total. 1 statistic I learned was that Brooke was 1 of only 2 lifters in the 63kg session to make all 6 of her lifts, the other girl was the overall winner for 63kg women.

Stefanie was the next EWL athlete up to lift on Sunday in the 90kg session as a Masters lifter which was also shared with the 90kg Sr. lifters. This was Stefanie’s 1st official meet, and she handled it like a veteran. Coach Brooke was her event coach for this meet and did an excellent job of coaching her throughout warmup attempts and for making the calls on her weight changes.

Stefanie declared a 55kg snatch to open with and as expected she nailed it with ease. After her opening attempted a 58kg 2nd attempt was called and she was given red lights indicating she did not successfully make this lift. Why did this not count even though she stood up with it? Judges in WL are looking for any kind of arm movement after the bar has made it overhead. Unfortunately, Stefanie had a bit of an elbow bend which resulted in a no lift. In the warmup room there is a screen that indicates all lifters made lifts and lifts they are hoping to make. After viewing these #s it was decided that Stephanie would repeat her 58kg snatch instead of increasing. She came back out and nailed her 3rd attempt at 58kg and headed to the back to rest up for the CJ session.

After a nice nap Stefanie was back up for the Clean & Jerk part of her session. As I just mentioned the board in the back with athletes #s for coaches to see was up and becoming more & more important with every lift made. Stefanie still had not been briefed on that she was in a battle with another Masters lifter for an overall win.

72kg clean & jerk was called for her opening attempt and again she made it with ease and her 2nd attempt was increased to 76kg. Lift #2 was made and Stefanie made her way to the “on deck” area. At this point Coach Brooke informed Stefanie that she was in the run for a medal, something that was planned not to tell her until the last lift so that she wouldn’t have the nerves thinking about it.

Stefanie was in a battle with 1 other masters lifter and EWL coaches were playing a “card game” in the back in hopes to make her competition take a heavy lift and not make it. With that plan in motion Stefanie took her 3rd attempt with an 80kg CJ. This was something heavier than she wanted to take but she put faith in the coaches’ decision. She did make the lift but was called a “no lift” due to a bit of elbow movement.

Stefanie earned 3 silver medals in her 1st competition. A silver for snatch, silver for clean & jerk and silver overall for her age/weight class. Talk about setting the bar high for meets to come!

It was a very successful weekend for all who competed and helped coach. My girlfriend Carley was a part of the teams’ great success in that she helped with the “counting of math” aka counting the board, as well as limiting my coffee intake. We built CFE to be community based, and EWL is no different. Carley lifts for another team but helped with Brooke and Stefanie as well as competed on Saturday. Carley was competing in her 1st A session as a 63kg lifter. Being the 1st lifter in a session is a very tough place to be in and at times a lifter will make a very silly miss. After repeating the 1st attempted she increased to 63kg for the final snatch, and smoked it. Not the # progression we were looking for but a solid 2 for 3. Moving into the clean & jerk a silly miss fueled her for a 3rd attempted for 84kg clean & jerk which was all white lights. A solid 4/6 in her 1st A session and in preparation for the American Open Finals in December.

Sarah Campos also had an amazing performance over the weekend making 5 of 6 lifts and finishing with a 145kg total. She went 63/65/67 in snatch and 75/78 in CJ. She also had a tough call by the same judges as Stefanie on her final lift.

I had a blast being able to coach at this meet and got the opportunity to bump elbows with other great weightlifting coaches I look up to. The sport of weightlifting is becoming more and more popular each year. With that being said, check out our upcoming WL class that starts on August 14!


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