OLATHE, Kan. – For the first time in program history, Concordia Lifting Sports competed in an official collegiate event. All seven Bulldogs who entered the Kansas Open Championships hosted by MidAmerica Nazarene University emerged with medals on Saturday (Sept. 10). Four of those Concordia student-athletes placed first among college lifters at the open event: Mary Berris (49 kg), Emily Guter (87+ kg), Kayleigh Maloney (64 kg) and Mitch Meyers (81 kg).
As Head Coach Freddie Myles noted, six of his athletes made five of the six total lifts at the competition in Olathe, Kan., where the field included youth, collegiate and adult competitors. Lifters tested their strength in snatch and clean and jerk.
“It definitely met my expectations,” Myles said of the first time out. “I was hoping for a lot of made lifts, and we got that. To complete five of six lifts is really a solid performance. Normally the sixth lift is near or exceeding your own personal record. I was pleased with that. It was a very good way to start off the season.
“The kids were definitely nervous before the competition. They had some anxiety, but I think they handled it well and performed well. Now that they have one under their belt, I think it will be a lot easier going forward. The nerves will be less next time.”
The Kansas Open Championships included athletes from other institutions such as host MidAmerica Nazarene, Iowa State University and Missouri Valley University. Not only did four Bulldogs place first among college athletes, the other three Concordia athletes placed third or better in their respective weight classes: Rylee Kara (second at 71 kg), Joe Vega (third at 73 kg) and Sydney Wadsworth (third at 87+ kg).
Myles sees plenty of room for growth with all seven athletes. Each of whom are freshmen who had never competed in a college event prior to this past week. They were all accomplished lifters during their high school careers and have the ability to lay a solid foundation for the program.
“This one was pretty quick,” Myles said. “They came off their summer training, and three weeks in, we had a meet. The next one being in early November, we’ll have more time to prepare for the meet. I think we’ll see some bigger numbers out of everyone.”
This particular meet was not a qualifier for nationals. However, Myles added that Berris, Guter, Kara, Maloney and Meyers each exceeded national qualifying standards with their performances in Olathe.
Placements at Kansas Open Championships (among college athletes):
· Mary Berris – 1st place at 49 kg
· Emily Guter – 1st place at 87+ kg
· Kayleigh Maloney – 1st place at 64 kg
· Mitch Meyers – 1st place at 81 kg
· Rylee Kara – 2nd place at 71 kg
· Joe Vega - 3rd place at 73 kg
· Sydney Wadsworth – 3rd place at 87+ kg
For lifting athletes, the next competition will be the Midwest Regionals hosted by Iowa State on Nov. 5. Myles will take the powerlifters into action at the Midland University Warrior Open on Oct. 8. Both teams will also have events during the spring semester.