Over the weekend a competition took place in Daytona Beach, Florida. The “American Open” series consists of a competition open to all registered USAW (USA Weightlifting) athletes. There are three “classes” Open, Youth, and Master and awards for Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Totals.
Several months ago, this was all completely foreign to me. A snatch? You mean there’s competition that grades “snatches” and “clean and jerks” Originally I thought the names made no sense and this all stemmed from a new Karate Kid movie. Which team is Cobra Kai? In planning this column several months ago, I had this on the docket, as well as, Part 2 of The Southern Ohio Senior Olympics. (Look for that next week.) I learned from Hailee Barbarits that she participates in these events and how huge they are. Now I do pride myself on being able to grab every bag of groceries in one go, but this was a whole new ballgame for me. So off to research I went.
A little background on these events. In 2016, USA Weightlifting created the American Open Series to bridge local meets and national meets. The competition is fierce and the competitors all work tirelessly for these events. (I witnessed a ton of extremely talented athletes over the weekend.) The AO series consists of three meets and the Finals.
American Open Series I – Columbus, Ohio – February 28-March 3
American Open Series II – Albuquerque, New Mexico – July 24-28
American Open Series III – Daytona Beach, Florida – September 12-15
American Open Finals – Salt Lake City, Utah – December 5-8
Now onto what exactly these lifts are. First it should be noted that these two lifts are used in Olympic Weightlifting. This isn’t taking groceries to your fridge or wearing ankle weights while jogging and watching TV at your local gym. Medals are awarded for these bad boys. A Snatch, as the name sounds, consists of “snatching” (lifting) the barbell to overhead in one continuous motion. The Clean and Jerk, consists of the barbell being raised to shoulder height, held momentarily, and then quickly thrust overhead usually with a lunge or a spring from your legs. Hopefully you can picture this. My first thought was, I would 100% fall on my face in doing a jerk. This hasn’t been tested, but I’m telling you, it would be bad. Now that we have an understanding of the event to take place, we look at our local weightlifter representing Portsmouth with pride.
Barbarits (Local Entrepreneur) was set to compete in the 59kg weight class. That doesn’t mean she just picks a number and that’s what she competes at. This means she has to be dedicated with her workouts and with her nutrition. When others are partaking in libations around town (Myself included) she’s working on her snatches and clean and jerks. Measuring her meals and most importantly giving advice and healthy eating tips to others. Some people lift as more of a hobby. This is a lifestyle for her and one she excels in. Aside from when she is making sure thousands of ducks are scooped up during the 2019 River Days Ducky Derby.
Weigh-in was a few hours before the competition and before beginning we were introduced to 12 competitors during her 8:00 AM slot. I was ready with coffee in hand and pacing around the house like I would be next up to make my run to the Olympics. Spoiler alert. She was awesome. I am biased, obviously, of course I’m going to root for our hometown girl. I also didn’t expect for the tension to be so high. I may or may not have been rooting against the other competitors (Sorry ladies!) The Snatch portion of the lift was first and she nailed it. Then it was onto the Clean and Jerks. I have two complaints. First the announcer on the livestream butchered everyone’s name. He was rooted against as well. Secondly, for whatever reason Barbarits was the only competitor to do her sets back to back to back…. Oh, and the weight she lifted…I watched the other athletes push weight ranging from the upper 60s to the lower 70s. Barbarits rolls in pushing 77kg (169.756 lbs) I was impressed.
She did team lift proud and she did Southern Ohio proud. Hailee will be opening the Green Bean Café (coming soon) which will focus on a healthy lifestyle and an alternative way of eating. She also is a trainer at PSKC Portsmouth, I encourage you to learn more about these competitions and to head down to PSKC. I don’t give these columns a star rating, but this weekend would be at least four stars out of five. #ENJOYLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development.He can be reached at [email protected] or 740-981-9158