DETROIT, MI--Athletes from diverse backgrounds descended upon Detroit, MI, for the annual Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games July 24-August 03, 2013. Competition in AAU Strength Sports spanned five days: two days of Junior Olympic powerlifting, two days of Olympic Style Weightlifting, and the first-ever Feats of Strength Allsports National Combine competition.
The first two days featured powerlifters contesting their maximum lifts in the squat, bench press and deadlift. Lifters set more than two dozen world records in their respective age and weight divisions; standouts included 19-year-old Matt Sohmer from Farmingdale, New York, who set world records in the 275 lb. class with a monster 805 lb. raw squat, 727 lb. deadlift, and 1824 lb. total; Ian Thomas, also of New York, who set multiple world records in the 16-17 year-old, 275 lb. class with a raw 672 lb. squat, 562 lb. deadlift, and 380 lb. bench press; 13-year-old Karter Brachear, of Illinois, setting multiple world records in the 12-13-year-old, 132 lb. equipped division; 13-year-old Ally Dodds, of Lakeland, Florida, setting world records in her fifth Junior Olympic Games; and 14-year-old Evan Pittman, of Des Moines, IA, also competing and setting world records in his fifth consecutive Junior Olympics.
The Joel Ferrell award, given each year to the most inspirational athlete in each sport at the Junior Olympic Games, went to 18-year-old Allison Garcia, of Hebbronville, TX. Allison returned to compete at the 2013 Junior Olympics after undergoing knee surgery; she also captured first in her class at the Junior Olympics in 2012, and won the Texas State AA championships as well. She volunteers with the Special Olympics, Jim Hogg County Fair Clean up, and is a regular blood donor in south Texas, and will attend University of Texas at San Antonio in the fall.
After two full days of powerlifting, AAU Strength Sports contested the first-ever Feats of Strength Allsports National Combine to identify the strongest and fastest athletes at the Junior Olympic Games. Competitors came from a variety of sports backgrounds, including track and field, powerlifting, weightlifting and taekwondo, and participated in this first combine in strict pull-ups, repetition bench press, standing long jump, repetition power clean, and the 40-yard sprint. Pullups, bench press and power clean were timed events, and with the 90-second clock running and the audience cheering, athletes pushed themselves against time and weighted resistance for both national titles and records, and a number of national records were set in “Feats of Strength” categories. Several age groups were tied after four events, and came down to a final 40-yard sprint tie-breaker to determine the national champion.
The Junior Olympic Games Weightlifting competition had a lower turnout this year because of the USA Weightlifting junior national championship being held the same weekend in another city, however, the competitors and teams that registered had a great competition. Eight-year Miya Miyamoto came from Hawaii for the competition and displayed perfect form on all her lifts, winning the gold. Thirteen-year-old Tyler Maizels, from Maryland, lifting in the 62 kg class, captured gold with a 154 lb. snatch and a 205 lb. clean-and-jerk, while teammates Malanna Boyd and Rapulu Okolo, of Missouri, displayed powerful form while winning gold in the 12-13 and 14-15 age groups, respectively.
Two athletes achieved a “hat trick” by winning gold in all three AAU Strength Sports events; Nine-year-old Maximus Crofton, of Shreveport, LA, and 10-year-old Ben Delouche, also of Shreveport, won gold in their weight classes in powerlifting and weightlifting and gold in their age group in the combine. Crofton and Delouche were both coached by AAU weightlifting Coach of the Year for 2013 John Crofton.
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