Rogers becomes Team USA’s 5th Pan American Champion

by USA Weightlifting

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (April 23, 2021) -- Team USA’s medal count continues to rise after five days of competition at the rescheduled 2020 Pan American Championships. Teammates Mattie Rogers, Jessie Stemo, Jason Bonnick and Wes Kitts all brought home medals during Friday’s competition. Rogers became the team’s fifth Pan American Champion so far this competition. Team USA’s medal count totals 30 with one day of competition remaining.

Mattie Rogers and Jessie Stemo started the day for Team USA in the 81kg category, going head to head for much of the competition. Rogers completed five of her six attempts, breaking Pan American and American records along the way to win the gold medal in total and become the Pan American Champion. Rogers made Snatch attempts of 105kg and 108kg before setting the Pan American and American records in the lift with a 111kg third attempt. She won a gold medal in the Snatch.

“I didn’t know the 111kg was a record while I was lifting it. Our plan was to go 105kg, 108kg, 110kg,” Rogers told USA Weightlifting after the competition. “But we decided if we needed something to win, we’d just put it on the bar.”

Rogers made her second and third attempts in the Clean and Jerk at 135kg and 140kg, good for a silver medal in the lift. Combined with her 111kg Snatch, Rogers' total of 251kg earned her the Pan American title and new Pan American and American records in total. 

Jessie Stemo took bronze overall in her first appearance at a senior Pan American Championships for Team USA. Her 108kg Snatch earned a silver medal in the lift. Stemo made her opening attempt of 134kg in the Clean and Jerk to secure a 242kg total and earn bronze overall.

“My total was only two kilos under my best ever, and I tied my best competition Snatch,” Stemo told USA Weightlifting. “It’s so good to be back out on the platform.” 

Jason Bonnick was next to take the platform, representing Team USA in the 102kg category and earning his first international medals. His 155kg Snatch was good for bronze in the lift. Bonnick made all of his Clean and Jerk attempts, hitting 180kg, 188kg and 192kg.

“I feel like I had a little more left in the tank, but the coaches put exactly what needed to be put on the bar for medals,” Bonnick told USA Weightlifting. “These are my first international medals and I’m grateful to my gym and teammates in Florida.”

His total of 347kg earned him a spot on the podium with a bronze medal overall. 

Wes Kitts rounded out the day for Team USA, competing in the 109kg category. Kitts trained through the meet to gain international experience in preparation for Tokyo later this summer. He made snatch attempts of 155kg and 160kg before missing 165kg on his third attempt. His 160kg attempt earned him a bronze medal in the lift. Kitts made a Clean and Jerk of 190kg to secure a total of 350kg. He passed on his remaining attempts in the lift.

“We just wanted to come out to get on stage in front of some judges and put together some decent weightlifting,” Wes told USA Weightlifting after the competition. “The small six man session made that a little tough, but we had fun and got some competition practice in.”

Team USA’s super heavyweight athletes will take the platform on Saturday morning. Contenders for the Olympic team, Caine Wilkes will compete in the +109kg category at 10am EST and Sarah Robles will follow in the +87kg category at 12:30pm EST.

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