The Women’s 48kg weight category had one of the more interesting story lines coming into the American Open. The initial start list showed Kathleen Winters as the favorite in the lightest women’s weight category, but a little over a week before the start of the Open, Alyssa Ritchey officially made the switch from 53kg to the 48’s.

Winters finished the snatch 3kg ahead of Ritchey after Ritchey failed to match Winters’ 78kg snatch. Ritchey battled back with a good 92kg opening clean & jerk to narrow the margin to 1kg following Winters’ opening 90kg lift. Winters would miss her second attempt at 92kg, but came back with a good 93kg lift.

After Megan Seegert missed her 94kg attempt, only Ritchey’s last two clean & jerks were left. Winters’ total was 171kg while Ritchey was only at 167kg. On her second attempt, Ritchey successfully lifted 195kg to bring her within 1kg of Winters. Following a weight change made by Ritchey’s coach, Max Aita of Team Juggernaut, Ritchey saw the weight – 99kg.

Talking with Ritchey today, she said, “I saw the number go up and I thought ‘you got this, you’re strong, now let’s go crush this.’ But instead it crushed me.” Ritchey continued, “99kg was the number.”

The 99kg final attempt would have given Ritchey a 174kg total and the gold medal. Instead, Ritchey finished with 170kg, a silver for the total and a gold in the clean & jerk. Winters finished 1st overall and with a gold in the snatch and silver in the clean & jerk.

Hayley Reichardt took the overall bronze after the weigh-in tiebreak with Megan Seegert. Reichardt also set three Junior American Records.

Ritchey began focusing only on weightlifting for the past two and a half months. Just three months ago, Ritchey was competing in the National Pro Grid League (NPGL). Since the conclusion of the NPGL season, Ritchey has been working to cut over 15 pounds to drop into the 48kg weight category.

Her plan is to continue focusing solely on weightlifting in 2017. She said she might do the CrossFit Open for fun but that she’s not 100% just yet. Either way, Ritchey will have a busy year full of training, travel and competition.