July 20, 2019

By Jordan Russo-Hicks
Intern for the Tribune

Kiel Hutto, and a few other youth from Lee’s Summit made enormous strides for young ones looking to get into weightlifting, making a national team. At eleven years old, she is making marks not many can say that have. Recently even participating in her school’s (Richardson Elementary) talent show to display her awesome abilities. Performing a demonstration of both lifts she will be doing at her competitions, classmates and peers got a sneak peek of her magnificent might.

Starting at age eight, there is no surprise as to why she has had the honor of making a national team. She currently practices at Champion Weightlifting and has learned to proficiently perform the Olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk) and strength lifts (squat, press, deadlift) from her coach, Zach Schluender, who is the owner of Champion Weightlifting. She began in my normal youth weightlifting classes and progressed to competing in local competition and has qualified and medaled at the USAW Youth National Championships. Normal practices include a dynamic warmup, mobility work, barbell technique work, speed work, power production work, and strength training. The amounts of weight and intensity are dependent on skill level, years trained, fitness level, etc. The main thing her coach keys in on is progression, which is going to be different for all people, but important for building and demonstrating improvement.

Hutto was one of four lifters as a part of the 2019 Championship Youth National Team that competed June 27-30, in Anaheim, California. Kiel competed in the thirteen and under age group in the 64+ Kilogram category. She was one of the younger ones in the group, as she will only be twelve later this year, and she placed sixth out of thirteen competitors. Her youth was not her battle as she pushed past her limits and received a complimentary standing. This was a spectacular feat and impressive at that. Look for Kiel to make her mark in even more weightlifting competitions.

Any given weightlifting competition consists of the snatch, the clean, and jerk exercises. Once all lifters complete the snatch there is a ten minute break and then the clean and jerks begin. Each lifter gets three attempts total in the clean and jerk. The heaviest made snatch and the heaviest made clean and jerk attempt are added together to get the lifters total. Lifters are categorized into classes based on gender, age, and weight class. Each age classification has its own National Championship, and you must make a certain qualification total depending on the weight class. For Kiel to qualify with all these ramifications is indicative of her work ethic and drive to become better. That work ethic is rooted in a great support system that surrounds her. Her coach is quite an experienced one.

Champion Weightlifting is one of the very few places to specifically perform and develop a technique in the Olympic lifts in Lee’s Summit. Coach Scluender offers thorough training and is more than qualified with experience under his belt. Coach Schluender commented, “I have competed and coached on the local, National, and International level and have been in the sport for eighteen years. Over this time period, I became passionate about helping the youth develop and improve, and it has been amazing to see the progress over time and how it affects them.” Needless to say, his influence has had a significant impact on Kiel and her weightlifting endeavors. He has coached a multi-year National Champion and had an athlete trained that reached the World Championship Team earning himself USAW International Coach certification. He also was a multi-year medalist at the National Weightlifting Championships from 2005-2012, gold medalist at multiple National Collegiate Championships, a multiple year American Open gold medalist, two time World Championship Team member for team USA, Pan American Championship team member, and Olympic Trials participant for the 2008 Olympic Tryouts. In 2009, he earned his Master’s Degree in Kinesiology and Wellness from Louisiana State University.

Champion Weightlifting is located at 653 SW 2nd Street, Lee’s Summit. Youth Weightlifting Large group classes are Monday-Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m., and small group individualized training is by appointment all week long including any age group as young as seven and up to eighty years of age.

Don’t be surprised if Kiel Hutto is making more national headlines anytime soon. This wonder woman is more than bound for it!