By Hal Pittman, Vice Chairman AAU Strength Sports
Jets Barbell, a team of weightlifting athletes from Shreveport, attended the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games in Des Moines, Iowa, in late July, and returned with a bevy of medals.
Although Olympic-style weightlifting is their primary sport, and nine Jets athletes participated in all four JO Games Strength Sports meets – powerlifting, weightlifting, Allsports combine and feats of strength. They were the only team that attempted to do this, and the nine Jets athletes were the only athletes to enter all four events.
Powerlifting was contested first on Friday, July 25, and consisted of competition in the squat, bench press and deadlift. Weightlifting followed on Saturday, with Jets lifters competing and supporting each other throughout a long day with nearly 100 lifters contesting the snatch and clean-and-jerk.
Sunday, July 27, marked the second AAU JO Games Allsports Combine, a series of five athletic events designed to identify the best athletes at the games, operating under the slogan “Run, Jump, Lift;” all Jets Barbell athletes competed in the combine, earning a number of first and second place finishes.
The final AAU Strength Sports competition was Feats of Strength, on Monday, July 28. While the turnout was low, the competition was exciting, and the Jets athletes found themselves on the turf in the middle of Drake University stadium flipping tires and pushing a weighted, wheeled bobsled while the JO Games 100M semi-finals and long jump were taking place just a few feet away on the track, and more than 9,000 spectators were cheering in the stands.
Among Jets athletes, 10-year-old Max Crofton took home gold in his age group at all four meets. Crofton is already a four-time AAU World Powerlifting champ, the reigning AAU National Powerlifting champion, current Louisiana state, Texas state, and Governor's Games weightlifting champion, and a multi-sport athlete who competes in taekwondo, football, and basketball, and maintains a 4.0 GPA.
Other Jets Barbell athletes are:
Eight-year-old Ian Beuscher (Participates in Cub Scouts, baseball, school running club at school and the Discoveries program).
Nine-year-old Bailey Monk (Competitive hula-hooper, Girl Scouts, sings in the church choir and loves writing and drawing)
Eleven-year-old Hailey Beuscher (AAU World Powerlifting Champion with 5 world records, plays cello at Caddo Middle Magnet School, and is in the Gateway program at school).
Ten-year-old Avery Miller (Competes with Shreveport United Soccer, participates in gymnastics and CrossFit, known by her teammates as “Miller Time.”)
Eleven-year-old Ben Delouche (two-time AAU World Powerlifting champion and current AAU National Powerlifting champ with multiple world records, plays football, Boy Scouts, 1st in State and 24th internationally in Destination Imagine challenges, writer)
Thirteen-year-old Allie Lazarus (Middle school cheerleader and cheer mentor/coach, Cheer captain, National Junior Honor Society, summer camp coach at G.R.E.A.T. (GREAT RESULTS EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY).
Fourteen-year-old Chris Delouche (Three-time AAU World Powerlifting champ, current AAU National Powerlifting Champ with 3 world records; plays football, (9th year), assistant patrol leader in Boy Scouts, Order of the Arrow (elite Scouts), in the magnet engineering program at Captain Shreve High School)
Fourteen-year-old Noah Crofton (Four-time AAU World Powerlifting champ and reigning AAU National champ, current Louisiana state and Governor’s Games weightlifting champion, five-time Junior Olympian with multiple world, national, and state records; Honor Roll and two-time SJS athlete of the year at St. Joseph Catholic School, also competes in taekwondo and cross-country).
The Jets team is coached by John Crofton, and Angelita Moreno; they train at CrossFit Y and LSU Shreveport. The Jets took second place as a team in powerlifting at the JO Games, and first as a team in Feats of Strength.
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