After competing at the 2022 USA Weightlifting Championships on Monday, June 27, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hailey McDaniel felt pleased with her results, but definitely not satisfied.
Although failing to finish in her age group’s top 10, the Wewahitchka rising senior did achieve a personal best 51 kilograms (112.436 lbs) in the snatch event, and her 115 kg combined total for snatch and clean and jerk was only two kilograms shy of the personal best she accomplished at the state meet in Orlando on May 20.
The USAW uses kilograms at their events. To convert to pounds, multiply the kg by 2.205.
“It was really cool,” said McDaniel, “having a big place to compete, but also doing some fun things” around Las Vegas.
Besides sightseeing with her family, McDaniel and the other athletes had the opportunity to rub shoulders with former and present Olympic weightlifters, including Holley Mangold, who competed in the super heavyweight division at the 2012 London Olympics. Since this was “my first national competition, it was a little bit nerve wracking,” said McDaniel.
Partly due to those nerves, she needed three tries to snatch her personal best 51 kg. “I was shaken up about missing it the first two times, so I was hoping I would get it the third time.”
In the clean and jerk, McDaniel lifted 64 kg on her first try, but narrowly missed completing 68.
In addition to her family attending the event, McDaniel’s coach, David Peavy and his wife also made the trip.
“The overall experience at Nationals for me was incredible,” said Peavy, who was impressed with “the number of athletes and coaches from Florida.”
“We saw numerous lifters Hailey has competed against from throughout the state, (and) the Panhandle was especially well represented with Ronny Lashley (Arnold High School) competing in the same division as Hailey,” said Peavy, who is planning on getting his Level 1 USAW coaching certification within the next year.
“Former Arnold athletes Emily Bennett and Amerie Daniels both brought home hardware, with Bennett being national champion in her weight class and Daniels third in her class,” said Peavy.
“I’m so proud of how Hailey performed,” said Peavy. “She went to (Las Vegas) with a goal of getting a personal record (PR), and she achieved that in the snatch and went for it in the clean and jerk.”
“She is as determined as ever to get back in the weight room and start preparing for her senior year of high school competition,” said Peavy, who will resume his football duties for the Gators on July 11.
Echoing her coach, McDaniel said that she would be practicing nearly every day for the remainder of thesummer in anticipation of the start of the weightlifting season in October.