During her first year weightlifting for the Klamath Barbell Club, Oregon Tech sophomore Jennifer Jennings has made great strides in her brief time with the Olympic sport.
Jennings started doing CrossFit two years ago while competing in track and field for Klamath Union, but took her training one step further after weightlifting got her attention.
After competing at three tournaments, Jennings saw the opportunity to take her progress to the USA Weightlifting Junior Nationals in Philadelphia two weeks ago.
Jennings competed in the 48 kilogram (kg) weight class where she had a 46 kg snatch and a 58 kg clean and jerk for her total of 104 kg, a personal best.
11th place finish
Her total gave her an 11th place finish and bested her Oregon junior record by 3 kg.
“I think after my first lift, I was feeling a lot better and felt more relaxed,” Jennings said. “It was just a big event and I even got to see someone break the national record there. To be in the back room with people breaking records was something that made me realize where I was and of the honor that I had.”
With the junior national tournament shown online, some of Jennings’ family woke up at 6 a.m. PDT to watch her compete.
She picked up weightlifting under her head coach Dean Limb at the Klamath Barbell Club, who also is the owner and head coach of Klamath Strength and Conditioning.
“She came with friends from when she was in high school and doing track and after training here, she told me once she was in college that she wanted to do weightlifting,” Limb said. “She is a good athlete and after the first couple meets, I asked her if she liked it and said yes. We started training a lot harder from there and it is remarkable to see her where she is now at such a short time.”
Jennings can now qualify for the 2016 USA Weightlifting National University Championships in the fall and was just two kilos shy of placing after the junior weightlifting tournament.
She also has two years left of competing in the junior weightlifting tournament.
Jennings is Limb’s only junior competitor at 18 years old and the barbell club is set to host the Southern Oregon Weightlifting Open March 26.
Limb has 22 members in the Klamath Barbell Club and has seven national lifters.
Jennings is the vice president of a newly started Oregon Tech Barbell Club, with fellow weightlifter Jessica Conrad serving as the president.
Jennings said the new club is set to help Oregon Tech students or athletes join the sport for the first time as a hobby or in competition.
Jennings, who is studying biology-health sciences, has been improving shortly after her national tournament and lifted her heaviest snatch of 50 kg at a training session last Friday.
“I think the biggest thing I got from the junior nationals tournament was that it is possible to lift more,” Jennings said. “ It helps to see how I can go and how there is so much more that I can do in how much I lift.”
Courtesy of: Herald and News
Photos by: Joaquin Aguilar