Brady Wessel, 14, is set to put up 46 kg in the clean-and-jerk. photo by Lynn Woodward
By Jeff Spry
An inspiring chorus of grunts and grimaces inaugurated the Central Oregon Weightlifting Invitational held Saturday, February 1. Fitness enthusiasts of all aptitudes assembled inside the matted gymnasium of Level 5 Training in Sisters to test their skills against some of the best in the High Desert and beyond.
It was a tremendous exhibition of old-fashioned camaraderie and sportsmanship, delivered by a talented community of athletes from all over the state.
The day became a potent display of muscle over metal with this adrenalized Olympic-style weightlifting tournament unfolding, the first of its kind hosted in Central Oregon. Thirty-five total entries competed in two challenging events: the snatch and the clean-and-jerk.
Level 5's bottom-floor facility on East Cascade Avenue was crammed to capacity come Saturday morning, as athletes and spectators jostled for position, checked in with registration, soaked up the amped atmosphere and watched the first round of focused, well-muscled women hoist heavy bars above their heads.
Event organizer and Level 5 owner, Ryan Hudson, was thrilled with the huge turnout and professionalism brought by the impressive field of enthusiastic lifters here to "go hard or go home."
"This was a true Olympic-style event run according to international rules and regulations," he said. "I want to thank all the great athletes and people who helped support this invitational and my volunteers who made this happen and run so smoothly."
Former Collegiate Timbersports Champion David Green of Sisters was at hand to take on some heavy metal in the 94-kilogram class.
"This is very cool," he said, hustling inside for a quick weigh-in and warm-up, toting his gym bag and 45-pound steel bar. "It's the first official, fully sanctioned USAW Olympic Weightlifting meet ever held in this area. It's a double event competition and everybody gets three efforts in the clean-and-jerk and snatch styles of lifting. It's such a great event to have right here in Sisters. The sport is a great test of sheer strength, speed and athletic ability. Some of the best competitors from around the whole state of Oregon are here today."
Across the crammed floor clogged with chairs and pumped-up competitors, the rowdy cheers from more than 100 fevered fans encouraged spandexed lifters in multiple weight and gender categories. The clangs and clanks of white-chalked bars, weight plates and collars rang out while a team of volunteers packed more pounds on the bars after each successful lift.
In this sport, learning a safe, disciplined technique and proper form to maximize effort and minimize injury is paramount for success.
Hudson was busy announcing and recording final results all day and was pleasantly exhausted after the event was over. First- through fifth-place medals were awarded in 13 weight classes. Overall men's winner was Shane Sevcik with a combined weight score of 262 kilograms. Women's top winner was Jessica Gee with a combined weight score of 177 kilograms.
"Multiple junior, open and master state records were broken at the event. People were really stoked and it definitely brought a lot of outside traffic and business to Sisters on Saturday. Everyone loved the location and they're already excited for next year. We set a new standard and we set it high."
Level 5 Training is located at 801 E. Cascade Ave. For more info visit them on Facebook or call 541-639-5300.