[UPDATE: Alyssa Ritchey just announced via Instagram that she will be competing as a 48kg lifter. She is currently listed in the 53kg start list, but now we will be seeing her lifting at a lighter weight.]

I never ever thought this is where I would be today. I cannot stop lifting up my shirt and starring at those six little bumps. But it’s more than just six little bumps. It was two months of pure dedication, mental struggles to keep going, and not a single cheat meal. It was fighting to stay away from eating more carbs and wanting to have just more food in general. This is the first cut I have ever done. Dang it, it’s been such an incredible journey that has been so successful but very tough at times. I am a week out and this week is the hardest yet. I still have a few pounds to go before weigh-ins. Don’t ever tell me you cannot do anything because I am here to tell you everything is possible! I started off at 121lbs and I am down 11lbs since I started this journey. Yes I am competing in the 48kg class at the American Open, surprise! I have put my heart and mind through so much these past ✌🏼️months but they have held on like champs. I proved this girl wrong because she didn’t know this was possible. Everyday I focused harder & encouraged myself until the day ended and that’s all it took. Am I proud of what I did. I couldn’t be more proud. I am excited to lead Team Juggernaut in a team victory! Let’s crush this! #bittystrong @rpstrength @juggernauttraining Head over to alyssaritchey.com to check out what companies I used to make this all possible! It’s still under construction so hang tight!

A photo posted by Alyssa Ritchey (@alyssaritchey1) on

If you missed it, check out the “What You Need to Know” article about the upcoming USAW American Open.

The Women’s 48kg field will take the platform on Thursday, December 8, during the first two sessions of the 2016 event. Last year’s winner, Kelly Rexroad Williams is not competing which opens up the field.

Last year’s medalists were:

Place  Snatch Clean & Jerk Total
1  Kelly Rexroad Williams (72) Kelly Rexroad Williams (88)  Kelly Rexroad Williams (160)
2 Megan Seegert (70) Rebecca Liu (82) Megan Seegert (152)
3 Sarah Carter (67) Megan Seegert (82) Sarah Carter (147)


Here’s who to look out for this year…

Kathleen Winters

Kathleen Winters at US Olympic Trials
Photo Credit: Lifting Life (Andy Blaida)

Winters is ranked 7th among all USA Women following the Olympic Team Trials and she comes into the American Open with the highest announced entry total at 168kg.

Hayley Reichardt

Hayley Reichardt at 2016 National Championship
Photo Credit: Lifting Life (Andy Blaida)

Reichardt is one of the up and coming junior lifters. Reichardt won the Junior Women’s 48kg weight class at the 2016 National Junior Championships, edging out Megan Seegert by two kilograms with her final clean and jerk. She also won her first international medal by placing 3rd at the 2016 IWF Youth World Championships in October with a 152kg total.

Reichardt, at only 17 years old, is already ranked 16th in the nation.

Megan Seegert

Megan Seegert at 2016 National Championship
Photo Credit: Lifting Life (Andy Blaida)

Seegert took 2nd place at last year’s American Open and followed it up with a 2nd place finish at the 2016 National Junior Championships. Seegert will be battling for a podium spot with Reichardt as both have very similar totals.

Zhanyl Okoeva

Zhanyl Okoeva at 2015 IWF World Championships
Photo Credit: Lifting Life (Josh Wilkinson)

Okoeva hails from Kyrgyzstan and is likely to be competing for the gold medal. She took 10th at the 2016 Rio Olympics with a 169kg total, but failed both of her third attempts. Okoeva also competed at the 2015 IWF World Championships in Houston, Texas, where she finished with a 170kg total.

Alyssa Ritchey

Alyssa Ritchey at the 2015 USAW National Championships
Photo Credit: Lifting Life (Josh Wilkinson)

Alyssa Ritchey might be better known in the CrossFit and NPGL communities, but don’t expect that to last very long. Ritchey has competed at the CrossFit Regionals and was on the NPGL champion DC Brawlers as a gymnastics specialist. However, Ritchey packs a lot of punch when it comes to Olympic weightlifting. Ritchey placed 8th in the 53kg weight class at the 2015 USAW National Championships, but her entry total for the American Open is 175kg.

Ritchey will now be competing as a 48kg lifter (as noted above). If she can maintain her numbers from he 53kg entry total, she will be one of the favorites at this year’s American Open.