Wes Kitts Lifts Rhinos to Victory

New York Rhinos celebrate after victory over Boston Iron
August 17, 2016: New York Rhinos take on the Boston Iron at the Utah Valley Convention Center. Copyright Melissa Majchrzak

The first match of the 2016 NPGL season came down to the final 335-pound clean and jerk. The New York Rhinos came into the final race, Race 11, one point behind the Boston Iron. But with three points awarded to the winner and only one to the loser of Race 11, it was winner-take-all.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 TOTAL
Rhinos 2
(2)
1
(3)
1
(4)
1
(5)
2
(7)
2
(9)
2
(11)
0
(11)
1
(12)
3
(15)
3
(18)
18
Iron 1
(1)
2
(3)
2
(5)
2
(7)
1
(8)
1
(9)
1
(10)
3
(13)
2
(15)
1
(16)
1
(17)
17

 

Race 11 for Pike’s Peak comes down to the final movement, two clean and jerks at 335-pounds. The teams were neck-and-neck as they chipped away at the first seven elements. Elijah Muhammad gained precious seconds as he scaled the four rope climbs quickly setting up Wes Kitts to complete the final two reps.

Kitts and Boston’s Kurt Garceau raced to the heavy barbell. Kitts, an international-level weightlifter, moved the 335-pound barbell with ease power jerking the second rep overhead before racing back and forth to the finish line just two seconds ahead of Garceau. The Race 11 win gave the Rhinos just enough points to eclipse the Iron. After the race, Kitts said between breaths, “So excited. It’s a lot different than weightlifting, but I felt like I was able hang in there.”

The match was close through the first seven races with the Iron holding an 11-10 advantage over the Rhinos until Race 8, Jack and Jill. The Iron threw the bonus flag prior to the event, thereby making a race win worth three points. Boston’s Alec Smith and Jessa Lemoine created separation by alternating bar muscle-ups setting up Tola Morakinyo on the rings. Morakinyo completed 20 unbroken ring muscle-ups and crossed the finish line in 2:47. The Rhinos were unable to complete the race within the 30-second time cap and scored zero points for that race.

The Rhinos bounced back in Race 10, Men’s Triad. Down three points, Coach Frederik Aegidius threw the bonus flag. Aegidius said of the men on his team, “I think we have the strongest male lineup in the league, the strongest weight-movers.” The Rhino men proved their coach right and moved quickly through the elements and finished it off with 15 heavy cleans at 185 pounds. The win gave the Rhinos three points and moved them into striking distance heading into the final race.

The Rhinos (1-0) face the Baltimore Anthem (0-1) on Monday, August 22 at 6:00pm ET. The Iron (0-1) face the DC Brawlers (1-0) on Monday, August 22 at 9:00pm ET.

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