Team Beaufort’s Dade Stanley stands atop the podium after winning the Overall gold medal for the 89-kilogram weight class at the USA Weightlifting Junior Nationals on Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Detroit. Photo by Ray Jones.

Beaufort’s Stanley wins Jr. National Championship after long layoff

19 year old sweeps golds in 89-kg weight class at USA Weightlifting Junior Nationals

By Mike McCombs

When Dade Stanley left Beaufort to start his freshman year at Clemson University last fall, weightlifting was put on the back burner.

But don’t think for a second that he’s not still cooking.

Stanley, 19, swept the Snatch and Clean & Jerk and set a personal record with an Overall total of 306 kilograms to win gold in the 89-kilogram weight class by 10 kg Thursday at the USA Weightlifting Junior National Championships in Detroit.

To say the Beaufort High School graduate’s performance was a surprise would be an understatement.

“It shocked me definitely to be able to hit a PR of any sort after coming back,” Stanley said Friday. “I thought I’d have been about where I was before. … I figured that would have given me a good chance. But when I saw the guys who would have been my main competition weren’t on, I figured if I have a good day, I’d have a good chance.”

Stanley was 5-for-6 on his lifts. He lifted 127, 132 and 138 kg to win the Snatch and lifted 158 and a personal-record 168 kg in the Clean & Jerk before missing on 175 kg. Team Beaufort Coach Ray Jones said the effort at 175 was an attempt to qualify Stanley for the World Championships team.

“Dade can be a good as Dade wants to be,” Jones said. “We sent him, but we really didn’t know what to expect.”

Competitively, Stanley was returning after a layoff of more than a year. His last competitive meet was the American Open in March 2020, where his Overall total was 303 kg.

Stanley returned home from school at the end of April and didn’t start training again until May 10. The first two weeks were strictly conditioning.

It’s safe to say Jones didn’t dream of a championship after such a long layoff from competitive lifting and just seven weeks or so of training.

“Not only is it not likely, it’s not even heard of,” he said.

Jones didn’t set up a program for Stanley to follow at Clemson.

“He was smart enough to do it on his own,” Jones said. “I didn’t have a clue what to expect. We were flying blind.”

Stanley didn’t want to pay for CrossFit, and COVID-19 restrictions at Clemson limited him to just a basic gym, where Olympic weightlifting workouts weren’t possible.

“So basically, I was just just doing strength training – dead lifts, squats, working on my core,” he said. “For the most part, it was all second nature (when I got back to lifting). It was just about timing.”

“There’s not many like Dade,” Jones said. “He might not have the strength that C.J. (Cummings) has, but technically, he’s the very best for what his strength is.”

As for his immediate future, Stanley said he will continue to work out and might compete in a local meet.

“If they have one in Savannah I might do that,” he said.

After that, Stanley is looking forward to returning to Clemson and going to football games

“I was enjoying the experience of being there,” Stanley said. “… It will be fun.”

Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

Cutline: Team Beaufort’s Dade Stanley stands atop the podium after winning the Overall gold medal for the 89-kilogram weight class at the USA Weightlifting Junior Nationals on Thursday in Detroit. Photo by Ray Jones.

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