Big improvement made as four Bulldogs qualify for nationals at Midwest Regionals

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 7, 2022 in Powerlifting

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The second competition in the history of Concordia University Weightlifting occurred this past Saturday (Nov. 5) as six Bulldogs represented the program at the Midwest Regionals at the Fieldhouse in Iowa City, Iowa. Among the highlights, four Concordia lifters qualified for the national championships and the team was successful on 86 percent of its attempts. The Bulldogs went up against athletes from host University of Iowa, Lindenwood University (Mo.), MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) and Central College (Iowa).

Head Coach Freddie Myles has noticed rapid growth in the early days of his program. All six Bulldogs placed either first or second at the latest competition while each came away with medals. Concordia competed for the first time since the Kansas Open on Sept. 10.

“I thought our composure on the platform was much improved from our first meet,” Myles said. “They all went up there with confidence. I’m satisfied with the improvement on a couple levels in terms of how we handled ourselves on the platform and our ability to make more lifts from the previous meet. The performance was better and making more lifts is really crucial. You only have three shots, so you have to be a consistent lifter to be successful in this sport. I also see our team bonding well. We took steps forward and are moving in the direction we want going into nationals (in the spring).”

The Midwest Regionals featured a total of 71 competitors on what was a large-scale weekend of regional events around the country in the sport of collegiate weightlifting. The summary below hits on the highlights for Bulldog individuals at the event. Each athlete was tasked with attempting three snatches and three clean and jerks with the two best marks making up the individual’s total score. Mary Berris (Windsor, Colo.), Rylee Kara (Osseo, Minn.), Kaleigh Maloney (Nampa, Idaho) and Mitch Myers (Lakeville, Minn.) each emerged as national qualifiers while starring in their respective weight classes.

Berris, Joe Vega (Middleton, Idaho) and Sydney Wadsworth (Meridian, Idaho) took first place in small fields. Meanwhile, Berris, Kara and Wadsworth each were successful on all six of their lifts. In some of the most intense competition in Iowa City, Myers took second place out of 11 lifters in the 81kg class while Maloney placed second out of nine lifters in the 64kg class. As Myles noted, the largest improvements, as compared to this season’s first competition, were made by Vega (13 percent), Berris (10 percent) and Myers (seven percent).

Summary of Bulldog athletes at Midwest Regionals:

·        Mary Berris: won the 49kg class totaling 116kg; went 6-for-6 on lifts.

·        Rylee Kara: placed second (out of six) in the 71kg class; went 6-for-6 and totaled 153kg.

·        Kayleigh Maloney: placed second in the 64kg class (nine lifters total in the class) totaling 164kg.

·        Mitch Myers: placed second in the 81kg class (11 lifters in the class) totaling 242kg.

·        Joe Vega: placed first in the 73kg class totaling 172kg.

·        Sydney Wadsworth: placed first in the 87kg class, going 6-for-6 and totaling 126kg.

The next weightlifting competition for Concordia will take place next semester. The Bulldogs are slated to compete at the Heartland Open in Omaha, Neb., on Jan. 21, 2023. Meanwhile, Myles’ powerlifting athletes are gearing up for their own Midwest Regionals that will be hosted by William Jewell University in Liberty, Mo., Nov. 19-20.