2 Petaluma weightlifting girls win youth national champs


The girls, Julia McKairnes, 12, of Santa Rosa, and Chloe Tacata, 13, of Rohnert Park are members of the Myles Ahead Weightlifting Team of Petaluma.

Seven other team members, four girls and three boys, placed second through fifth place. The weights ranged from 77 to 123 pounds.

The team traveled to St. Joseph, Mo. Thursday to compete in the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships at Western Missouri State University's Griffin Sports Complex, the summer home of National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs.

The competition is an elite event for the top youth athletes competing in Olympic-style weightlifting, said Petaluma fire Capt. Jude Prokop, whose son is on the team. More than 350 youth between 11 and 17 years old qualified and competed in the prestigious event, Prokop said.

Most of the Myles Ahead Weightlifting Team members train 2-4 days a week year round, Prokop said.

All nine team members won podium finishes between first and sixth place, said coach Freddie Myers.

The Myles Ahead Weightlifting Team placed first in the age 13 and under team competition, Myers said.

"This is the first time we won both the team title and two individual titles. I'm ecstatic," Myers said. The coach started the Olympic-style weightlifting training club for youth and adults in 2005.

Myles Ahead Weightlifting now has three individual national champions. Maya Umera won the under age 13 title last year.

All the Myles Ahead team members play other sports, including soccer, football, fencing, gymnastics and dance, Myles said.

"They start off lifting weights to get faster and stronger in their sports and end up liking it and competing," he said.

Five Myles Ahead adult lifters will compete later this month in the USA Senior National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The other Myles Ahead Weightlifting winners age 13 and under are Mia Zecowy, 11, of Santa Rosa, second place; Mackenzie Barnes, 12, of Novato, second place; Athena Schrijver, 12, of Santa Rosa, second place; Rachel Nykamp, 12, of Rohnert Park, third place; Rico Medina, 11, of Rohnert Park, fifth place; Nathan Prokop, 13, of Petaluma, fifth place and Azriel Medina, 13, of Rohnert Park, fourth place.

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