Theisen-Lappen & Wilkes’ Strong Performances Bookend European Championships for Team USA

SOFIA, Bulgaria - USA Weightlifting capped off the European Championships with big performances from Mary Theisen-Lappen (+87, Eau Claire, Wisc.) and Caine Wilkes (+109, Indian Trail, N.C.) to conclude a week of competition in Sofia, Bulgaria. Theisen-Lappen earned a 271 kg total via a 116 kg snatch and 155 kg clean & jerk, while Wilkes earned his 390 kg total via a 176 kg snatch and 214 kg C&J. Theisen-Lappen won her weight class by eight kilos, while Wilkes ended fifth in his session. While United States athletes were ineligible for medals in Sofia, the competition did count for Olympic qualifying, and Wilkes improved his Olympic qualifying ranking (OQR) total by three kilos with his performance to move to 20th at +102 kg. Theisen-Lappen did not make a move and remains ranked fifth at +81 kg (283 kg). Alejandro Medina also competed on the day and made a 167 kg snatch.

Team USA at the 2024 European Championships
Hampton Morris Shatters 8 American Records, Climbs Olympic Qualifying Rankings
Caden Cahoy Pushes the Envelope at European Championships
Wilkins snatches 99 kg at 59 kg to set a new personal record
Cummings Goes 4-for-6, Record 341 kg Total

Wilkes had a day to remember. His 176 kg snatch was his heaviest dating back eight competitions to the 2021 USAW National Championships, and his 390 kg total was his best since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where he finished ninth overall.

“I’m pretty happy with my performance,” Wilkes said. “I moved the needle a bit and improved my ranking on the OQR. You always wish for bigger numbers, but that’s the curse of any athlete. Overall I’m happy. My 176 felt really good, especially after my opening miss at 170 where I lost positions and wasn’t thinking. To bounce back and get 170 on the second attempt and finally 176 was a nice bit of redemption.”

Team USA’s next and final Olympic qualifier is the IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand, March 31-April 11. Looking ahead, Wilkes said he hopes to move the needle as much as he can in Thailand and is shooting for a 400 kg total. Theisen-Lappen’s 116/155/271 fluttered near her personal records (120/163/283) but she’s in the middle of a heavy training block and is more focused on a big finish in Thailand.

“I think Mary executed right where we thought she was going to,” said Wil Fleming, Theisen-Lappen’s coach. “This was in the middle of a heavy training cycle as we prepare for Thailand and we wanted to be here just in case she felt really good, but instead she felt pretty good and not incredible and that’s the way we get sometimes in weightlifting, but it was still a good day. We’ve only been training really heavy for a few weeks. It’s only around week four of a long training block and we’re just starting to get heavy, so I think as Mary gets more heavy lifts under her belt she’ll get more confident and we’ll have those patterns better memorized. Obviously we want to try and improve her OQR and defend her spot because the U.S. is full of incredible female lifters, and Mary’s in the spot that everyone would like to have, so she has to be ready to fend off some of the best lifters in the history of the United States.”

Team USA had a strong showing in Bulgaria. In addition to Wilkes and Theisen-Lappen’s performances, Hampton Morris broke eight American records and jumped up to seventh on the OQR at 61 kg; Taylor Wilkins snatched 99 kg at 59 kg to set a 1 kg personal record; Caden Cahoy set a nine kilogram total personal record in a 4-for-6 day that featured a 144 kg snatch and 185 kg C&J; Olivia Reeves tied her senior snatch American record (115 kg) and was the top lifter at 71 kg by 14 kg; Meredith Awline finished fourth at 71 kg and went 4-for-6, including 3-for-3 in the C&J; and CJ Cummings returned to the platform where he lifted 151/190/341 at 89 kg to record his highest total over his last three competitions.

2024 European Championships, Team USA Results:

U.S. Athletes were ineligible to officially place and win medals at the European Championships.

Weight Category, Name, Top Snatch, Top Clean & Jerk, Total

61A Hampton Morris: 126, 171, 297

59A Taylor Wilkins: 99, did not make a C&J , did not total

73A Caden Cahoy: 144, 185, 329

73A Ryan Grimsland: 142, 182, 324

71A Olivia Reeves: 115 - Tied American Record, 140, 255

71A Meredith Alwine: 98, 135, 233

89B CJ Cummings: 151, 190, 341

89A Nathan Damron: did not record a lift in SN or C&J

81A Mattie Rogers: Did not compete, injury

81A Kate Vibert: Did not record a lift in SN or C&J

102A Wes Kitts: Did not compete, injury

102A Ryan Sester: 160, 200, 360

+87A Mary Theisen-Lappen: 116, 155, 271

+109A Caine Wilkes: 176, 214, 390

+109A Alejandro Medina: 167, did not make a C&J, did not total

Scoreboard recordings | Session recordings