Winterlift 2014 has come and gone. This past weekend saw JustLift’s best performance to date. As a team, we took home eight medals (4 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze) from a combined effort of nine lifters.

The day began with the lighter women’s session (the 48, 53, and 58kg classes). Athletes Heather Amundrud, Esther Dalle, and Val Hoang competed as 53kg lifters. As with their last performance, they completely dominated their division, with the only real competition being amongst themselves.¬†Esther took home gold with a total of 141, while¬†Heather and Val set personal records in their competition totals with 130kg and 126kg respectively. Heather’s victory was particularly meaningful as, after months of hard training, she achieved the marker required to qualify for the National Championships to be held in May this year.

In the second women’s session, athletes Sarah McGregor (63kg) and Melissa Tilley (75+kg) kept the team’s momentum going. Sarah would go 52/67, earning a bronze medal for herself. Despite not quite making what she would have liked in the Snatch, Sarah would press on with determination, making all of her Clean and Jerk attempts, while also obtaining a new personal record in the Clean and Jerk. Melissa would prove just how tough she truly is. Getting off to a shaky start by missing her first Snatch attempt, Melissa quickly recomposed herself, easily redoing her first attempt of 58kg, and finishing strong with 61kg . In the Clean and Jerk Melissa would really shine, coming back from a questionable call on her second attempt of 69kg, by performing an even stronger attempt with 72kg.

The men’s sessions began with JustLift coach and athlete Ian Haya. Ian took his weightclass (62kg) with ease, Snatching 96, and Clean and Jerking 121, while making all six of his attempts. In doing so, Ian set two new provincial records in the Clean and Jerk, and the Total, proving once more why he is the provincial champion.

In the next session, Brett Lewandowsky won a hard fought battle with two other competitors to take the Gold in the men’s 85kg weightclass. Brett would go three for three in the Snatch, finishing with 110kg, putting him in second place. However, Brett would go on to have the heaviest opening Clean and Jerk at 140kg, giving him a 4kg lead. In his second attempt, though, at 145kg, Brett missed his Clean, having caught the bar too far forward, causing him to drop it. Still, like Melissa before him, Brett would redeem himself by adding more weight to the bar anyway, and viciously securing his final attempt in the Clean and Jerk with 147kg.

The final session of the day had athletes Chris Cameron (94kg) and Chris Georgaras (105kg) moving some of the heaviest weights of the day. This was Chris Cameron’s first competition, successfully completing five out of six attempts. Chris impressively Snatched 114kg, and finished his Clean and Jerks with 125kg, qualifying him for the Ontario Provincial Championships at his first meet. Chris Georgaras, having arguably made the most improvements out of anyone else on the team in the past year, ended up with a 280kg total, 20kg more than his previous best competition total. In his opening Snatch attempt, Chris easily made 120kg. While he would miss his next two attempts at 125 and 130kg, Chris would press on in the Clean and Jerk, making strong attempts at 155kg and 160kg.

As proud as I am of all of our athletes, I also must give credit to my friend and fellow coach, Ian Haya, who not only competed, but tirelessly assisted in preparing our athletes throughout the day. Throughout the day, Ian helped ensure our athletes were warmed-up properly, ready for the platform, while also providing on-the-fly, tactical decisions when it came to calling the correct weights. The day wouldn’t have been the success it was without him.

While not the most important competition of the 2013-2014 season, Winterlift 2014 proved to be the team’s strongest performance yet. With so many athletes both medaling and qualifying for the Ontario Provincial Championships, our team is sure to continue improving at a rapid pace.