Local athletes lift way to national championships

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The Myles Ahead Weightlifting Team from Petaluma captured three individual USA National Weightlifting Championships and three team awards at the USA Weightlifting Youth National Championships recently in Austin, Texas.

Individual lifter William Prokop from Petaluma earned top honors as the under-13 national champion at USA Weightlifting’s premier event for athletes age 11 to 17 years. Prokop placed first in the Snatch, Clean & Jerk and total. He snatched 59 kgs (130 lbs), clean & jerked 71 kgs (157 lbs) and totaled 130 kgs (286 lbs).

Prokop finished as national champion in 2014, and placed third in 2015.

Prokop’s results also helped the Myles Ahead boys team secure the under-13 team championships.

Luke Kurtz (Novato) was third overall. Dominic Mancuso was fifth. David Zechowy (Santa Rosa) and Louis Alpert (Petaluma) both secured points to contribute to the boys overall team victory.

Chloe Tacata (Rohnert Park) won the Women’s 16-17-year-old 48kg division and Athena Schrijver (Santa Rosa) placed first in the Women’s 14-15-year-old 69kg division.

Myles Ahead girls team won the under-13 team, 14-15-year-old team and overall team championships.

Mia Zechowy (Santa Rosa) was second overall and Rachel Nykamp (Rohnert Park), McKenzie Barnes (Novato), Kelley Evert (Rohnert Park), Kyra Fetter (Santa Rosa), Sienna Bertacco (Santa Rosa), Natasha Collins (Petaluma) and Darah Alpert (Petaluma) all contributed points to the championships.

The yearly competition is an elite event for the top youth athletes competing in Olympic-style weightlifting. More than 750 athletes ages 11-17 qualified and competed in the event. Only a small fraction of youth weightlifters make the qualifying totals for the prestigious event.

USA weightlifting uses the national event to help establish an elite athlete pool for international weightlifting events and future Olympic competitions.

Each athlete competes in six lifts — three snatch lifts and three clean and jerk lifts using the same format used in the Olympics.

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