For the 2015 Regional Championships, Iron Athlete sent three top lifters to the event: 69kg Alex Lee, 85kg Anthony Pomponio, and 105kg+ Caine Wilkes. Alex and Caine went to try to improve their spots on the Pan Am team. All had solid days of lifting during the weekend in St. Louis.
Since the Arnold Classic, a couple of things occurred to make it a very interesting weekend in St. Louis. First of all, the US team was given an extra slot for both the men’s team as well as the women’s team, making the teams 4 men and 3 women. Also, due to a change in the results from last year’s Worlds, the 77kg weight class got a lower NCS total, which bumped Travis Cooper into the 4th position. Iron Athletes Norik Vardanian, Alex, and Caine were in the 1, 2, and 3 positions leading into the last qualifier.
Alex Lee was up first on Friday and lifted well. After making 130 in the snatch, he missed his opening clean & jerk of 170. He came back and made it on his second attempt and finished out the day with a strong 173. He totaled 303, which was enough to win the 69kg class, and only a couple kilograms less than the American record he set at the American Open last year.
On Saturday, 85kg lifter Anthony Pomponio had a great session as well. After hitting his first two snatches at 148 and 152, Anthony narrowly missed 155 in front. In the clean & jerk, his 171 opener was turned down due to a press out, but Anthony made the necessary corrections and hit it on his second attempt, and then hit a strong 179 on his final attempt. He ended the day in first with a 331 total, a personal best by four kilograms!
By the time Sunday came around, the Pan Am rankings had begun to shake up. In the 77kg class, Travis Cooper totaled 327 to take the top spot on the men’s Pan Am team. And earlier Sunday, two-time Olympian Kendrick Farris totaled 366 as a 94 lifter, bumping Caine off the list. When it came time to lift, Caine needed at least 401 to reclaim a Pan Am spot. In the snatch, he finished with a strong 181 snatch. For the clean & jerk, Caine attempted 220 for a 401 total after opening with 212, but was unable to make the jerk after a tough fight on the clean. He missed it again on his last attempt and was credited with a 393 total. It was good enough to win the Regionals, but unfortunately was not enough to maintain his Pan Am position.
Overall, the Iron Athletes had an outstanding weekend at St. Louis, and they are looking forward to preparing for the Pan Am Games and the National Championships coming up this summer.
Congratulations to the final Men’s Pan Am team:
Travis Cooper, 77kg
Norik Vardanian, 94kg
Alex Lee, 69kg
Kendrick Farris, 94kg
And to the women’s team:
Geralee Vega, 63kg
Morghan King, 48kg
Holley Mangold, 75+