An insane level of lifting has already gone down in the last three days of 2017’s USAPL Raw Nationals. Here in part 3 of our preview, we’re looking at the men’s 105kg and women’s 84kg and 84kg+ weight classes, who lift tomorrow (Saturday, October 14th).
Daniella Melo continues to astonish us. Competing for less than two years in the sport, she’s already won the junior 84kg world title from this year, as well as setting a new open world record squat of 206.5kg, which beat Powerlifting legend Ielja Strik’s record. Having recently squatted 207.5kg in the gym for a comfortable single, and deadlifting 220kg (5kg below the open world record), it’s likely that we’ll get to see her unofficially break a bunch of open world records, including the total, at the Raw Nationals. Still new to the sport, Daniella’s potential is unprecedented, and could take the 84kg class to new heights. Make sure you watch her lift on Saturday 14th’s prime time session.
Alicia was the dominant 84kg lifter in the USA before Daniella came along, having won the USAPL Raw Nationals in 2015, and placing fifth at the World Classic Championships in 2016. After just winning the M1 division at the 2017 World’s, Alicia finally cracked into the 500kg total territory, and most recently totaled 502.5kg at the 5 Bar Showdown, despite only going 6 for 9. If she can pull together a perfect 9 for 9 day, Daniella will need to avoid any slip ups if she wants to maintain her number one spot.
Nominated third behind Daniella and Alicia is relative newcomer Sammi Johnson, who has only competed on three occasions. After placing eighth at her first Raw Nationals last year, she added just over 25kg to her to total in May, including an unofficial junior world record deadlift of 215.5kg. Though Daniella’s surpassed that since, we’ll undoubtedly see a battle for deadlift gold and some new American and unofficial world records from this weight class.
Last year there was a big showdown between Bryce Lewis and Garrett Blevins for the 105kg title at the 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals. With his bigger deadlift, Bryce managed to chip Garrett’s total on his final pull to win his first national competition and secure himself a spot on the world team for the first time. At the World’s, Bryce put on an immense performance, squeezing everything out of his squat and bench, and pushing his deadlift to new heights. In an attempt to chip Krzysztof Wierzbicki’s gold position after his second pull, Bryce tried his luck at a massive 360kg deadlift on his third, failing at the knees. Despite this, Bryce still managed to win the silver medal, and will be looking to win the Nationals for the second time, and the second year in a row.
Despite being beaten by Bryce at last year’s Raw Nationals, Garrett competed in the 105’s at the 2017 World’s alongside him, where despite feeling sickly on the day, he still managed to win the bronze medal. Prior to the World’s, Garrett put together an epic performance at the Arnold Classic in March, squatting a new world record of 331.5kg, benching a new world record of 224kg, and deadlifting 330kg, all for a world record total of 885.5kg. Though the world record total was snatched by Krzysztof Wierzbicki soon after, Garrett still holds the squat and the bench, making him a hot contender for the 105kg top spot if he manages to win the inevitable epic showdown with Bryce once again.
Before Bryce and Garrett came along, Eli Burks was not only the dominant 105kg lifter in the USA, but also had a world championship title to his name from 2016. Following his success at the World’s in 2016, Eli dropped out of the 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals due to injury, leaving Bryce and Garrett to duke it out. After recovering, Eli returned to the platform at the Arnold Classic in March and put together an 860kg total. Given his training numbers recently, including a 625lbs/ 283.5kg x5 squat, Eli is another big 105kg contender.
The number one ranked super heavyweight female in the world, Bonica Lough is coming into Raw Nationals off another great year, not only winning her fourth World Classic Championship in a row, but also winning the super heavyweight division at the 2017 World Games. We haven’t seen much training footage from Bonica recently, apart from a 510lbs x5 squat, which shows promise for her to beat her insane squat world record squat of 272.5kg/ 600lbs from the Arnold in 2016, not to mention her 646kg world record total.
We haven’t seen much from the 84kg+ deadlift open world record holder, LeeAnn Hewitt, who has been posting Olympic weightlifting footage on her Instagram. Apart from bench press World’s this year, hasn’t competed in a three-lift competition since 2016 Raw Nationals. We’ll finally get to see what this young 1999-born lifter has been building up to, and whether or not she can unofficially break her world record deadlift of 238kg.
Sarah Brenner joined the Powerlifting scene in early 2016, and quickly made a name for herself at the Raw Nationals, placing fifth in the open 84kg+ class. She then added 32.5kg to her total at the Arnold Classic five months later. At this point, Sarah still didn’t even use a belt on her squats or deadlifts, and has since made the transition. If her progress between meets is anything to go by, as well as her now utilizing equipment available to her, we could see her climb up the ranks in the 84kg+ class and challenge LeeAnn Hewitt for silver this year.
I got 5️⃣ on it 😈 8 days out from nattttttys I ❤️ my @thewarhousegym pals @girlswhopowerlift “skwaats10” for 10% off your total . . . #powerlifting #powerlifter #girlswhopowerlift #girlswholift #meetprep #squat #skwaats #squats #strength #deadlift #deadlifts #bench #benchpress #usapl #usapowerlifting #gwpl #gwplgear #teamgwpl #upliftandliftheavy #warhousegym #thewarhousegym #rawnationals #rawnationals2017 #rawnatsprep #sbdusa
About the author: Ramsay Kirkhy
Ramsay holds a BSc in Psychology and is currently studying for his MSc. He is also a certified Personal Trainer with three years’ experience. Along with his studies, he has a huge passion for Powerlifting, competing in the 74kg division in Great Britain, also writing for the 9for9 Media blog.