USA Weightlifting Earns Team Awards, 19 Medals At 2021 Pan-American Junior Championships

by USA Weightlifting

(Photo by USA Weightlifting)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A U.S. weightlifting team returned home from the 2021 Pan-American Junior Championships with 19 individual medals and team awards for both the men and women.

USA Weightlifting sent a team of 17 athletes (nine women, eight men) to the late October competition that was held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Americans had one of the largest squads entered, behind only Colombia and host Mexico, both of which had the maximum team size of 20. Behind the U.S., the next-largest delegation was Venezuela with 12 athletes.

The U.S. was third in both the men’s and women’s team classifications at the close of competition, with Colombia and Mexico ahead in both. Mexico won the women’s trophy and Colombia the men’s.

Diana Irizarry became the first openly non-binary weightlifter to compete for Team USA at any level. At the first international meet of their career, the 18-year-old Irizarry placed sixth in the women’s 59kg.

In a year full of firsts, this competition marked the second Pan-American Junior Championships in 2021. The rescheduled 2020 edition was held just over three months ago, from July 9-15 in Manizales, Colombia.

Ten of the U.S. athletes from the Manizales event returned for this team. Four of them had medaled in July, and this time seven were on the podium – coincidentally accounting for all U.S. medalists in Guadalajara.

Conner Sparks, who took three bronze medals earlier in the year, won the 89kg snatch bronze (130kg), clean and jerk gold (179kg) and total gold (309kg) this time around. His were the country’s only gold medals won last week. Nine of the U.S. medals were silver and eight bronze.

Sparks and five others – Chrisanto D’Agostino (men’s 102kg), Will Easley (men’s 89kg), Mario Marquez (men’s 67kg), Avery Owens (women’s 87kg), Alexandra Thornton (women’s 71kg) – claimed medals for their snatches, clean and jerks and totals.

The first medalist for Team USA, Hannah Dunn (women’s 49kg), earned bronze in the clean and jerk but was unable to make a snatch lift.

Twelve of the U.S. medals came on the men’s side, with seven in women’s bodyweights.

While there were five days of competition, an astounding 12 of the 19 U.S. medals came on the final two days thanks to Sparks, Easley, Owens and D’Agostino.

Sixteen of the 17 Americans put up a total, and 11 of those were in the top five of their categories.

Six athletes went five for six in Guadalajara: Leila Cook (women’s 55kg), D’Agostino, Irizarry, Coby Rhodes (men’s 67kg), Thornton and Nia Walker (women’s +87kg).


Team USA Results


Mario Marquez (67kg; Mission, Fla.); Snatch: 121kg (silver), Clean and Jerk: 152kg (silver), Total: 273kg (silver)

Coby Rhodes (67kg; Deland, Fla.); Snatch: 110kg (8th), Clean and Jerk: 135kg (8th), Total: 245kg (8th)

Caden Cahoy (73kg; Jacksonville, Fla.); Snatch: 120kg (6th), Clean and Jerk: 152kg (5th), Total: 272kg (5th)

Blaine Brooks (81kg; Dallas, Texas); Snatch: 125kg (7th), Clean and Jerk: 161kg (7th), Total: 286kg (7th)

Thomas Hart (81kg; Niceville, Fla.); Snatch: 124kg (8th), Clean and Jerk: 160kg (8th), Total: 284kg (8th)

Conner Sparks (89kg; Rocklin, Calif.); Snatch: 130kg (bronze), Clean and Jerk: 179kg (gold), Total: 309kg (gold)

Will Easley (89kg; Aurora, Ill.); Snatch: 136kg (silver), Clean and Jerk: 172kg (silver), Total: 308kg (silver)

Chrisanto D’Agostino (102kg; Moorhead, Minn.); Snatch: 139kg (silver), Clean and Jerk: 180kg (silver), Total: 319kg (silver)


Hannah Dunn (49kg; East Bend, N.C.); Snatch: DNP, Clean and Jerk: 83kg (bronze), Total: DNP

Leila Cook (55kg; Chicago, Ill.); Snatch: 77kg (5th), Clean and Jerk: 100kg (5th), Total: 177kg (5th)

Emma Nye (55kg; Kansas City, Mo.); Snatch: 75kg (7th), Clean and Jerk: 93kg (7th), Total: 168kg (6th)

Diana Irizarry (59kg; Brooklyn, N.Y.); Snatch: 72kg (7th), Clean and Jerk: 101kg (5th), Total: 173kg (6th)

Reagan Henry (64kg; Warrensburg, Mo.); Snatch: 84kg (5th), Clean and Jerk: 110kg (5th), Total: 194kg (5th)

Alexandra Thornton (71kg; Dallas, Texas); Snatch: 89kg (bronze), Clean and Jerk: 117kg (bronze), Total: 206kg (bronze)

Natalie Andrews (71kg; Broad Run, Va.); Snatch: 87kg (4th), Clean and Jerk: 104kg (5th), Total: 191kg (5th)

Avery Owens (87kg; Fort Meade, Va.); Snatch: 95kg (bronze), Clean and Jerk: 120kg (bronze), Total 215kg (bronze)

Nia Walker (+87kg; Savannah, Ga.); Snatch: 93kg (5th), Clean and Jerk: 117kg (4th), Total: 210kg (4th)

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