There were only a handful of people at Enzo’s Athletic Performance on Monday. Some coaches and some family members were all there to support an athlete trying to make a national weightlifting team.
There was a computer stationed on a box facing a platform. Inside that platform was a barbell and surrounding that barbell was a plethora of weights (all in kilograms) that ranged in both heaviness and size.
One of their athletes, 16-year-old Carson Hoover, was attempting to make the USA Weightlifting Youth World Team. Everyone there was either supporting him or setting the bar with the next weights. The gym even closed early — around 4:30 p.m. — so the athlete wouldn’t be distracted.
If he was distracted, he certainly didn’t show it. Hoover finished the tryout with a 108 kilogram snatch (roughly 238 pounds) and a 135 kilogram clean and jerk (about 297 pounds). He won’t know if he qualified for the team until either Tuesday or later in the week.
“I’m happy how I lifted but a little bit disappointed at the same time,” Hoover said. “To go in and not quite hitting a PR in the clean and jerk is kind of disappointing. With the number we had in mind, being a little bit short of that is a little bit sad but I mean, I went out there and left it all on the platform.”
His coach, Jason Jensen said he liked what he saw out of Hoover during the tryout and was happy with how he came out of it with a new snatch personal record.
“He lifted really well,” Jensen said. “His snatch the last couple of weeks hasn’t looked very good, but he ended up coming out of that with a 1 kilo snatch PR, so that’s really good.”
Lifters usually get a little longer of a break in between heavy lifting sessions during training. For this event, however, Hoover had to almost jump right into the next event.
The tryout was separated into two 45-minute sessions, both through a Zoom call with the other contestants. Athletes had to work up to 90% of their one rep maximum weight. After that, once they failed an attempt for the second time, their most recent successful attempt would be the score that counts.
That’s the situation Hoover found himself in on the snatches nearing the end of the 45-minute time cap. He had caught the bar overhead on the squat for the snatch, but the bar was too far back and caused him to drop it. Jensen gave him some words of encouragement, and on his next attempt, he nailed the 108 kilogram weight.
“He knows what he has to do at this point,” Jensen said. “He’s an advanced enough athlete that he knows what he has to do to kind of make those adjustments. I can give him a little bit of insight on what I saw, but for the most part he can make those things on his own.”
The clean and jerks were another story. Hoover nailed every clean he attempted, but the jerks proved to be challenging at the end.
He hit the 135 kilogram weight, then got the clean on the next weight up. But as he attempted a split jerk (a movement where you raise the bar overhead while splitting your legs forward to help balance yourself), he couldn’t maintain control of the bar.
Hoover said he was a little bit over on weight and had to try and cut down throughout the week. It led to him not having enough energy, so when he went for the heavy jerk, he just didn’t have it.
“You just need all that energy for the clean and jerk,” Hoover said. “After the clean, I got up. I got really dizzy and I couldn’t finish the jerk.”