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Locals compete in American Open Weightlifting Championship

On March 5, the American Open 1 Weightlifting Championship was held at the annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic and two Andalusia locals traveled to Ohio to compete.

The Greater Columbus (Ohio) Convention Center hosted the event.

“Victoria Hall from Red Level confirmed to us that her future is very bright in this sport,” Coach Jason Kelley said. “She overcame event schedule changes and made the most extraordinary lift I’ve ever witnessed. Impressive for a 19-year-old on a stage that big. She makes heavy weight look light.”

Karen Pugh from Andalusia swept gold in all 3 categories making this her 5th major gold medal finish since 2018, six when you include her state championship.

“This is important data to those that have dreams of climbing to the top of their sport because prior to 2018 she was always the one chasing the big lifters,” Kelley said. “She changed that.”

Their megacycle training involves sets, reps, and weight that must be performed optimally. It involves CrossFit, powerlifting, fatbells as supersets, to name a few, and a most recently added component- vision training. Then there’s the world of nutrition and recovery that must blend perfectly in order to hit peak-strength on game day.

“Two months prior to the Arnold, we received a message from a developer in California asking if we would incorporate some of their newly developed equipment into our training and give feedback. That it had not been released for public purchase yet and was also patent-pending,” Kelley said. “We would be the very first to use it. Within days it was all delivered to CrossFit Andalusia where it quickly went into the rotation of the lifters’ training. The results were staggering. Karen and Tori’s success is an accumulation of many different training pieces but as a coach, you know that the biggest and most important aspect is always the athlete.”