Ranking WL Teams By How Many National Qualifiers They Produced In 2016

There is no question that weightlifting, in recent years, has become increasingly popular in the United States. As the sport grows, the qualification totals for the Senior National Championships have also changed; while some weight classes have lowered qualification standards, the general trend for most is higher totals and heavier weights, making qualification for Nationals increasingly more difficult. This year, a total of 323 athletes have qualified and will compete on the national platform. 145 different teams and clubs across the country have produced nationally qualified athletes, with some of the largest teams sending almost 20 athletes!

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The top 11 teams with the most athletes qualifying for nationals range from 18 athletes (East Coast Gold) to 5 Athletes (Waxman’s Gym).

Of the 145 teams to have qualified athletes, most have 1-3 athletes who will represent their respective club. Despite the large number of participating athletes, only 20% of the teams have more than two athletes competing, and 63% of the teams are only sending one athlete.


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With over 300 athletes competing this year, it’s no surprise that close to 200 different head coaches appear on the start list. Among the list, some of the top coaches sending athletes to Nationals include Travis Mash (Mash Mafia Weightlifting), David Spitz (California Strength) and Spencer Arnold (Power and Grace Performance). Only two coaches are sending over 10 athletes (Travis Mash and Dave Spitz), with 67% of the coaches having 1 athlete qualified for nationals and there are another 14 coaches with 3 qualified athletes.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the number of qualified athletes fluctuates as qualification standards change, and as up-and-coming gyms start to develop more of their athletes. At a glance this data does offer some insight to which clubs and which coaches are the “heavy hitters” in the USAW, however, it does not necessarily reflect the expertise of each coach. Especially at a time when remote coaching is becoming increasingly popular, it wouldn’t be impossible for a coach to help an athlete hit a qualifying total in a competition, without ever having eyes on said athlete.

The evaluation of a coach’s prowess is not as ut and dry as a fancy bar graph; furthermore, a coach is not evaluated based on one meet, or one year, but rather several years and decades of progress and dedication. How a coach’s athletes progress over time while working with the coach is a better estimate of his/her quality. The way an athlete lifts, in training and in competition, is a direct reflection of the coach. While that may be a fairly subjective measurement, the key is consistency and growth. If a coach qualified 10 athletes for Nationals one year, good for him. If the same coach consistently gets 7-10 lifters to nationals, and each of them go 5, maybe 6 for 6, multiple years in a row, then that’s a savvy coach. Coaching can be thought of as an “endurance” sport. The daily grind of evaluating one’s athletes and figuring out how to maximize each athlete’s factor that separates fleeting coaches from masters of the sport.

Here's the full ranking:
Coach# QualifiedClub# Qualified
Travis Mash13Unattached36
David Spitz11East Coast Gold18
Spencer Arnold8Mash Mafia17
Ursula Papandrea8Cal Strength11
Greg Everett8Catalyst Athletics10
Dane Miller6Texas Barbell Club9
Sean Waxman6Garage Strength8
John Broz5Power and Grace Perf.7
Vance Newgard5Coffee's Gym6
Joe Micela4Waxmans Gym6
Victor Gallego4Hassle Free BBC5
Leo Totten4Iron Athlete WL5
Luke Siefert3Metropolitan Elite4
Bradford Kim3Performance One WL4
Debbie Millet3Team Florida Orlando4
Juan Martinez3Ave Broz3
Joe Gazio3Team LAB3
Andrew Mattox3Team PRAXIS3
Danny Camargo3Vero Beach WL3
Scott Glasgow3Max's Gym3
Steve Galvan3Hi Performance Ath.3
Drew Dillon3Amp Training3
Jeremy Galo3Team O.C.3
Christian Thompson3Utah Barbell3
Chelsea Herzog3Team 210 WL3
Ben Hwa2Project Lift3
Don Mcauley2Solafide BBC3
Mark Levell2Gayle Hatch WLT3
Justin Thacker2Roach Strength3
Artie Drechsler2Team Savannah3
Jim Rutter2Philidelphia Barbell2
Hannah Crowe2Kim Barbell2
Phil Sabatini2Lift 6 for 62
Rob Earwicker2PEAK Fitness2
George Briones2Wesley Weightlifters2
Dennis Snethen2Team Georgia WL2
Ed Baker2Delta Weightlifting2
Dan Rose2Calpians WLC2
Brian Secrest2North Shore Weightlifters2
Don Ricci2Team Montana2
Rhett Warren2Optimus BBC2
Dave Lussier2Kilofornia BB2
Steve Gough2Team Minnesota2
Luis Lopez2Team Pendragon2
Aaron Adams2Lift Lab2
Max Aita2OCCAM Athletics2
John Coffee2Sense Gym WL2
Zach Caswell2Team Titan2
Charles Shipmen2Outlaw BB2
Zygmunt Smalcerz2Apesquad WL2
Roger Sadecki2Columbus Weightlifting2
Sean LeFloch2Team New Jersey2
Lou DeMarco2Absolute Strength1
Mike Gray2Sayre Park WLC1
Jason Poeth2SAS WLC1
Dan Brown2Oregon Strenth1
Nghiep Dinh2626 Barbell1
Michael Cohen2Lindenwood Lions1
Tyrone Harvey2Tech Valley WL1
Mark Cannela2Deep Barbell Club1
Chris Wilkes2Epidemic Weightlifting1
Gayle Hatch2ETSU Stonage WL1
Nick Curry2Beantown Barbell1
Rob Esposito1Mckennas Gym1
Christophret Gartrell1Lab Athletics1
Adam Eggersten1CFK Barbell1
John Chai1Sports Perf. Tr. Center1
Carl Penney1High Desert Ath.1
Samuel Axten1Takano Athletics1
Eric Rosenstock1High Road Barbell1
Miles Ashworth1East Alabama WL1
Satoshi Mizuguchi1Friendship BB1
Fred Callori1PEAKS WLC1
Tony Euculano1Team Western New York1
Rachel Churchward1Harrisburg WLC1
Robin Goad1Iron Beaver WL1
Johnny Davis1Green Bay BB1
Greg Curoso1Lily Weightlifting1
Ryan Marciniszyn1RVA WL1
Bob Morris1Trunkx BBC1
Bob Takano1South Metro BB1
Joshua Baumgarten1That Team1
Jeremy Shepard1Fenrir Barbell1
Debbie Hudson1Cain Athletics1
Rudy Elizondo1Black Box WL1
Mark House1Redzone WL1
Steve Titus1Fearless Barbell1
Jeff Vinzen1GodSpeed BBC1
Bridget Raach1Stone Age Fuel1
Jeffery Pillars1FV Barbell1
Jake Humphrey1Lift More1
Cogen Nelson1Twin Cities Barbell1
David Rief1Barbarian BBC1
Jocob Rowell1Robinson WLC1
Robert Gerdes1Klamath BB1
Adee Zukier1Strength Guild WL1
Vermen Patao1Warrior Z Barbell1
Anitra Goddard1East Carolina WL1
Jace Cain1Outlier Barbell1
Kurt Kling1El Jefe BB1
Logan Hahn1Precision Barbell1
Lance Rhodes1Tucson Barbell1
Chandler Walker1Butcher Barbell1
Jason Davidson1Ronin Barbell1
Mike McKenna1Rumbler1
Greg Simmons1MDUSA1
Emmy Vargas1Xcel Barbell1
Jeff Crawford1Team Hawaii1
Ellyn Robinson1Crossfit MuscleFarm1
Eric Nofsinger1Force Praxeum1
Dean Limb1LBH of NYC Dept. of Parks1
Jerell Barber1REP Scheme WL1
Jeremy Hopkin1Peak Performance of GA1
Charlie Zamora1Fortius WL1
Joe Johnson1Fairfax BBC1
Jamie Gold1CF Hoboken BB1
Josh Dempsey1Mash Mafia Minnesota1
Bruce Roberts1Performance Ratio1
Michael tromello1Front Range WLC1
James Ellis1Spoon BB1
Stephen butcher1Las Vegas Barbell1
Vincent Som1GNU Weightworks1
Courtney Bachelor1Humble Beast BB1
Michael Carrol1Pittsburg BBC1
Tony Pica1CF NYC1
Glenn Pendlay1Rebel BBC1
Benjamin Claridad1813 Barbell1
Josh Cook1Team Houston1
Joaquin Chavez1Team Soul Miami1
Benton Kobashigawa1Paramount BBC1
Pablo Roman1Milwaukee BB1
Sam Ernst1Scottsdale Barbell1
Mike Daley1Hyperion Strong BBC1
Erika Talbott1Team FL - Volusia1
Joe Triolo1Force WL1
Michael Mendoza1Chikara WLC1
David Miller1Code 3 Athletics1
Jasha Faye1Fulcrum BBC1
Ryan Erasmus1Squatmore WLC1
Dave Fleming1MSP Fitness WLC1
Jason Prudhom1Industrious Barbell1
Zach Greewald1Crossfit Doral1
Valentine Patao1Team Southern California1
Paul Fleschler1MaH's Barbell1
Frank Tam1  
Mel Knourek1  
Jack Gaines1  
Vanessa simpson1  
Mike Hom1  
Colin O'Neil1  
Ramon Toledo1  
Dan Smith1  
Michael Castaldy1  
Marc Sobremansana1  
Natty Bandasak1  
Patrick Costello1  
Tim Swords1  
Dan Williams1  
Bob Giordano1  
Murph DeVane1  
Rayford Jones1  
Angela Sorenson1  
Bruce Roberts1  
Tom Bennet1  
Rudy Nielsen1  
Geoff Eliason1  
Chris Crowder1  
Adam Brasel1  
Kris Kimura1  
John Douglas1  
John Pak1  
Jeff Wittmer1  
Ashley Perkovich1  
Emelie Parker1  
August Schmidt1  
Michael Street1  
Scott cereghino1  
Greg Scalf1  
Kevin Doherty1  
Eric Wilson1  
Aaron Axmear1  
Joon Shin1  
Arturo Ruiz1  
Ben Fanene1  
Michael Pilhofer1  
Jenny Miller Koniencki1  
Laura Dinger1  
Benjamin Hillamn1  
Harvey Newton1  
Leo Hernandez1  
Greg Schouten1  
Nikita Durnev1  
Joseph Dobbs1  
David Chiu1  
Chris Lofland1 

Reporting contributed by Jake Baker

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