Ito clears a lift at practice.
MARQUETTE, Mich. – The entire United States Olympic Education Center weightlifting team is preparing for this weekend’s competition at the American Open in Birmingham, Ala.
Northern Michigan University sophomore Collin Ito (Vista, Calif.) will make his fourth appearance at the competition. Ito hopes to build on his sixth-place finish in 2005.
“I’m hoping to do better than last year. I have a slight wrist injury now, but I still want to increase the total amount of what I lifted last year.”
He and the other lifters are beginning to feel the pressure.
“We only get six lifts to decide how we’ll place. It is not as easy as it sounds. In some sports there is double-elimination competition, but in weightlifting you train for months for about one minute of lifting that actually counts,” said Ito.
Teammate and NMU junior Paul Roberts (Bartow, Fla.), who placed fourth last year, plans to improve his performance this year.
“I am hoping to lift 335 kilograms (670 pounds). If I can lift that, I should get a top ten ranking in the nation.”
Joining Ito and Roberts will be freshman Alexandria Argueta (Aurora, Ill.), sophomore Justin Brimhall (Miami, Fla.), and seniors Emmy Vargas (Panorama City, Fla.), Ashley Suggs (Whitesboro, Texas), Rachel Hearn (Savannah, Ga.) and Kyle Cook (Yorkville, Ill.). Brimhall and Suggs are new to the USOEC this year and will lift as USOEC team members for the first time at the competition.