USA lifting makes its way to Meeker sports scene

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Connor Blunt

MEEKER I USA lifting, which finds competition at its highest level in the Olympics, has come to Meeker.

Dr. Justin and Rebekah Grant began a lifting and Crossfit program in their garage last summer. It blossomed into lifting for three Meeker teenagers: Jayden Overton, Connor Blunt, and Kelton Turner. 

Competition is based on two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. Each competitor has three ways to win: by having the most points in the individual events or a third way as a combined total. For each lift they have to catch the weight with arms fully locked and stand back up; the competitor gets three attempts at each weight and their final score is based on the highest weight in which they were successful. During the competition each participant chooses their start weight, and with one barbell on the floor, each person lifts until only one person remains. The divisions are based on age and weight; Turner was in the 16-17 year and 81 kg division, Blunt 14-15 and 73 kg, and Overton 14-15 and 55 kg. 

Last weekend these three Meeker youth traveled to Colorado Springs to compete in the Colorado State U.S.A. lifting competition.

“It all started with Kelton,” commented Dr. Justin Grant, “He was looking for a replacement for wrestling and he is very powerful and talented for his size, he picked up lifting easy and in his first attempts he was lifting weights that took me two years to achieve.”

Turner’s snatch was 82 kg. and clean and jerk was 100 kg. (220 lbs.); he took first in both individual events and the combined total as well as setting personal records (PR’s).

“I had set PR’s in both lifts and got to take home three medals,” commented Turner.

Kelton Turner

Turner himself was looking for an alternative sport, and when asked why he would recommend lifting he said it “is only a benefit, you not only gain strength to lift heavier, but you gain mobility as well. Mobility is huge because it also prevents injuries in all other sports and just everyday life. This sport has a different atmosphere; in most sports your competitors are exactly that, you are always in the mindset that you want them to not be successful because you are against them. In weightlifting everyone is supporting everyone in every way, it is a very positive atmosphere.”

When asked about Turner, Grant called him “coachable, dependable, respectful and doesn’t make excuses. If he loves it we will get him to Junior Nationals, the next level, and help him no matter what.”

Jayden Overton

Overton began her lifting journey six months ago. She had previously done Crossfit, but approached the Grants and asked for some coaching.

“I saw she had talent in the barbell and from there she began to train for the competitions,” said Grant.

Last weekend Overton achieved personal records in both events. When asked what the biggest challenge was, Overton commented, “fixing my diet and getting up at five in the morning to go workout.” This group worked out five to seven days and by day five, Overton commented how they were “extremely tired and sore.”

“Jayden’s weight is exceptional for her age and weight and I think she could pursue lifting further,” said Grant, “at her very first competition she beat a national qualifier, that is amazing for someone new to the sport.”

Overton discussed how this program has helped her grow, and she had several positives. “It has made me stronger both physically and mentally and I have become more self confident and mentally strong. At first it was easy for me to say a piece of candy won’t hurt or skipping today won’t do anything or I’m just gonna sleep in and I’ll get to it later but now I am able to overcome those thoughts because it does indeed matter.” 

“Of the three kids, Connor is for sure the one who I have had the least opportunities to work with one-on-one,” commented Grant, “and he still put up some impressive weights.”

“Justin has made an impact on all of us that lift with him,” began Blunt, “he not only matures us so that we can succeed in our future lives, but he looks at us like a brother and that will forever be a bond that cannot be broken. Overall, it indeed improves our physical physique, power, and stability, but also matures us mentally and that we will value forever.”

Grant identifies the many benefits that come with lifting, “an increased power output, strength, speed, increased coordination, decreased risk of injury, without the massive increase in weight.”

“The strength and most of all stability helps me with all of my other sports,” Blunt said, “but most importantly it prevents injuries, it has made me use muscles I have never thought were there, and it improves power and overall endurance in all that I do.” 

Overton sums up the program and the ethos, “The harder you work and the more you put in, the more you get out.”

Blunt also set personal records, lifting 57 kg. in the snatch and 73 kg. in the clean and jerk.

All three kids expressed their thankfulness for the Grants. “I personally am so thankful for Justin and Bekah, and I don’t know where I would be without them,” said Overton, “they have led me so far and I only want to continue the hard work.”

The next stop if they choose is Junior Nationals, this is a meet that requires a qualified weight at a U.S.A. Lifting completion in order to compete. All three — Turner, Overton, and Blunt —have qualified for Junior Nationals.