Who to watch at the AO3 – 2017 Final World Team Qualifier

The Final World Team Qualifier…really, we mean it this time.

With the 2017 IWF World Championships set for California and visions of the 2016 Salt Lake City Olympic Trials in my head, I figured the 2017 final World Team Qualifier at the American Open III would be loaded. As it turns out most of the top ranked lifters don’t need to lift in Michigan.

Also, this year there are no overarching stories or changing criteria like in 2015. The natural drama of Olympic trials won’t happen here either. Not what I’d predicted/hoped for but there are plenty of reasons and lifters to watch key sessions at the AO3.

We decided to break down the rankings and scenarios on OLIFT. The post below is basically our speaking notes from the episode on the rankings, key lifters and what they’ll need to do.

Qualifier Not a Trials

A quick note before diving into the rankings. As part of the American Open series, the final qualification opportunity for the World Championships is not a trials event. It is a qualifier that’s part of the AO3. This means lifters vying for Worlds compete in their weight categories and not together.

Men’s Rankings:

Source USA Weightlifting

Current team summarized from the table: 

The projections are based on the place and score table which averages the top 25 totals at the Worlds/Olympics by weight category over the past five years.

  • CJ Cummings, 69kg 322kg projects to 7th
  • Colin Burns, 94kg 369kg projects to 11th
  • Angelo Bianco, 77kg, 333kg projects to 13th
  • D’Angelo Osorio, 105kg, 376kg projects to 15th
  • Harrison Maurus, 77kg, 332kg projects to 16th
  • Wes Kitts, 105kg, 375kg projects to 17th
  • Caine Wilkes, +105kg, 394kg projects to 18th
  • Jason Bonnick, 94kg 351kg projects to 18th
  • Alternate: James Tatum, 85kg 335kg, projects to 21
  • Alternate: Brian Reisanauer, 56kg, 239kg projects to 24

Who’s not on the AO3 Startlist

The Locks: Colin Burns, Angelo Bianco, D’Angelo Osorio. It’s hard to foresee any scenario where these guys get bumped below the cut line for the World Team. Under the new rules, they aren’t guaranteed to lift but they will be named to the team.

The Probables: Harrison Maurus, Wes Kitts, Caine Wilkes. By not lifting Harrison Maurus is betting Travis Cooper won’t hit 333kg. If Cooper can’t take him out his spot looks pretty secure. That the case even if Nathan Damron, Ian Wilson and Ethan Harak all have huge days.

Wes Kitts will be watching Ian Wilson. If Wilson does less than 376kg, Kitts makes the World team.

Usually, a 7th or 8th ranking heading into a final qualifier is a “bubble spot,” but not for Caine Wilkes. The threats to the current rankings come from lifters outside of Wilkes’s category in classes where 2 lifters are already ranked higher in the top 8.  If Cooper and/or Wilson make what they need they will slot in above but not bump Wilkes down. If Damron does well and makes the team he’ll either take Bonnick’s 8th spot or move Wilkes down a spot to 8th. Either way, Caine probably makes it.

The Alternates: James Tatum, Brian Reisanauer. A bum shoulder forced Tatum out of the Pan Am’s. Currently sitting 9th with a 335kg total his status for the team is uncertain even if he gets healthy. He’s got the top alternate spot for now which could hold up.

Brian Reisanauer, who almost lifted at Pan Am’s, put together a 239kg day at the AO2 in Miami. That placed him 10th in the rankings and by not entering the AO3 he’s letting that ride.

The Bubble: Jason Bonnick. Bonnick’s direct threat is Nathan Damron. If Damron moves ahead he’s out because Colin Burns is ranked second and basically locked onto the team at 94kg.

The Outsider: Donavan Ford. Ford took his swing in Miami at the AO2 and came up just short. He needed a 210kg 3rd attempt C&J to move ahead of Wes Kitts but missed. Now he’s stuck behind Osorio and Kitts. Ford’s hope is that Wilson doesn’t out do him and either Kitts or Osorio pull out. It doesn’t look great but it is possible he’s not out. Either way, he’s not lifting in MI so he’s not in control of his destiny for Anaheim.

Who is on the AO3 Startlist: The men’s lifters to watch at AO3.

CJ Cummings, 69kg. He’s ranked number 1 on the World Team and is in no danger of being bounced out of the top 8. His presence always makes the 69kg men worth watching.  It has no bearing on World Team qualification.

Travis Cooper, 77kg. After making every major event in the 2013-2016 quad Cooper hasn’t competed in a major event in 2017. Thanks to breakout performances from both Angelo Bianco and Harrison Maurus, Cooper will need to do his best ever total at 77kg if he wants a spot on the World Team. Key totals: 323kg to move ahead of Reisanhaur for the 2nd alternate spot, 333kg to move ahead of Harrison Maurus.

Nathan Damron, 94kg. His internet following puts him under more scrutiny than most so he needs a good meet for a few reasons. There are a few numbers to watch for Damron.  352kg to bounce Jason Bonnick out of 8th. 354kg will (I think) move him ahead of Caine Wilkes. 356kg moves him ahead of Wes Kitts and 359kg puts him ahead of Harrison Maurus. He’s capable of playing 360kg range so all of these are relevant numbers to watch. He’s probably the most interesting story and, other than Jenny Arthur, the most likely to make the World Team from this meet.

Ian Wilson, 105kg.  After a lengthy layoff from injury Ian Wilson returned to finish third at Nationals with a 360kg total. With two 105kg’s already in the top 8 he’ll need to move ahead of one them. That means the key total is 376kg to bump Kitts.

Ethan Harak,+105kg. Harak, who quietly made the Pan Am team on the back of his 370kg performance at the 2016 American Open is going to need to be close to Caine Wilkes’s 394kg to have a shot. It may be an alternate play Harak. He’ll need something north of 380kg for that.

Women’s Rankings

Source: USA Weightlifting

Current team summarized from the table:

  • Mattie Rogers, 69kg 239kg projects to 6th
  • Sarah Robles, +90kg 275kg projects to 6th
  • Caitlin Hogan, 53kg 193kg projects to 10th
  • Jessica Lucero, 58kg, 208kg projects to 10th
  • Alyssa Ritchey, 48kg 174kg projects to 13th
  • Taylar Stallings, 75kg 223projects to 13th
  • Maddy Myers, 63kg 213kg projects to 14th
  • Kathleen Winters, 48kg projects 15th
  • Alternate Ali Ludwig,90kg 226kg projects to 16th
  • Alternate Morghan King, 53kg projects to 16th

Everyone 6 or lower will prob move down a spot once Arthur totals.

Who’s not on the AO3 Startlist:

The Locks: Mattie Rogers, Sarah Robles, Caitlin Hogan, Jessica Lucero.  They are locked. Strong performances from the AO3 field won’t drop any of these lifters to 8 or lower in the rankings.

The Probable: Alyssa Ritchey. Sitting 5th she could be moved a bit but it’s unlikely she’ll fall out of the top 8. That said her spot is not guaranteed.

The Bubble: Kathleen Winters.  Winters will likely fall to an alternate spot once Jenny Arthur makes a total. If could be worse news if both Morghan King and Marisa Klingseis have good days.

The Alternate: Ali Ludwig is on the startlist but I’m assuming she won’t lift.  Just a guess. Either way, she likely falls out of the 8th spot into one of the alternate spots. If she does lift she must beat Klingseis outright and do 229kg to move ahead of Maddy Myers or 236kg to move ahead of both Alyssa Ritchey and Taylar Stallings.

The Outsider: Cortney Batchelor Morghan King’s 184kg at the AO2 starred Batchelor out.  She’s not entered so means she’s basically in the same spot as Donavan Ford. It could still happen but it’s out of her hands.

Who is on the AO3 Startlist: The women’s lifters to watch at AO3.

Megan Seegert,48kg. Seegert is basically in the same position as Batchelor. Starred out by two lifters above her. She’ll first need to catch Winters with a 173kg. To get Ritchey she’ll need 175kg. Then if she can do that, which will be a Junior American Record total, she’ll have to wait all weekend to see what the others do.

Morghan King, 53kg. King, who took a year out of competition after the Olympics, will compete for the second time in two months. She lifted in August at the AO2 and did 184kg as a 53kg. That was good enough to move ahead of Cortney Batchelor on the ranking list but doesn’t guarantee a spot on the World Team. She will need 187kg to move ahead of Kathleen Winters for the 8th spot. That spot won’t hold up because of Jenny Arthur who’ll lift on Sunday. So she’ll probably need to move ahead of Maddy Myers to feel secure. 188kg is the total for that. Oh, and she’ll also need to beat Jourdan Delacruz outright in the 53kg category.

Jourdan Delacruz, 53kg. Same situation as King. Win outright and do at least 188kg. She did 183kg at Junior Worlds which tied her with Bachelor (so she is behind her in the rankings). Could be a stretch but she’s clearly one of the best junior lifters in the country and this is a no lose situation for her.

Maddy Myers, 63kg. Currently 7th, Myers could drop a spot when Jenny Arthur takes the platform. Her situation is a tough one in that she’ll need to move her 213kg total up to 219kg to get any benefit in the rankings. Hitting 219kg would move her ahead of Taylar Stallings. If one of the 53kg’s or Klingseis steps up, she could land in an alternate position.

Jenny Arthur, 75kg. This is Arthur’s first major competition since the 2016 Olympics. She doesn’t have a ranking total yet so look for her to first do what will put her 8th, then go after Taylar Stallings. Key totals, 221kg will move her ahead of Ludwig. 224kg will get her above Stallings. If you are wondering how she compares to Mattie Rogers or Sarah Robles. She’ll need 246kg to move her into 2nd overall. She’ll need 253kg to take the lead spot away from Mattie Rogers.

Shacasia Johnson, 75kg. Johnson doesn’t have to beat Jenny Arthur but she does have to beat Taylar Stallings. Both head to head in the 75kg category and she needs to do more than Stallings’s 223kg ranked total. Her entry total is 216kg and though she hasn’t played in that range yet it’s possible.

Marisa Klingseis, 90kg. The first try at 90kg didn’t go well for her. A bombout at Nationals cost her an opportunity to make the Pan Am team. We’ll see how she handles 90kg this time around. 227kg will move her ahead of Ludwig. 229kg and 236kg are the other key totals depending on how the lighter lifters fare.

That’s it. In just under 2,000 words. If you’ve read this far you’re basically crazier than I am. Prelim schedule is posted and all sessions will be live streamed. Here’s the link to the event.

Speaking of events, I added a new events link to the site. This will show local competitions in Metro NYC area as well as USAW courses and other events I’ll be part of. Check it out and if you are in the area it would be great to have you attend.

Note: "Starred out" is a made up term to describe a lifter ranked behind two other lifters in the same weight category. When this happens an asterik appears next to their name on ranking lists.