Stanley back with a bang

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Beaufort weightlifter claims bronze at American Open

By MIKE McCOMBS

If someone medals at a weightlifting competition and there is no one there to see it, did it happen?

Thank goodness for Dade Stanley’s sake, the answer is yes.

Stanley turned in second-place finishes in the snatch and clean and jerk to win the bronze medal in the 89 kg weight class at the American Open on March 7 in Columbus, Ohio.

There were no spectators in attendance for the meet, Stanley’s first official meet as a junior, because of precautions taken in response to the COVID-19 navel coronavirus pandemic.

“Truthfully, there is no difference between age groups for me,” Stanley said Monday night. “I approach every meet with the same goals and expectations of myself – to lift as much as I can. That’s as much as what anyone should expect out of the sport.”

Stanley lifted 140 kg on his third attempt in the snatch, after successful lifts of 130 and 136, good for second. In the clean and jerk, he failed to lift 170 kg in his third attempt, which would have meant gold. His first two lifts were good for 155 and 163, also good for second. 

His total of 303 brought home the bronze medal. Stanley was the only teenager among the top 20 lifters.

“Eventually a point will come where your (personal records) become enough to medal, but at that point you’re already doing it for yourself and that’s the most satisfaction one can get,” Stanley said.

Stanley sprained his wrist in September, and it has taken a while to get back to the top of his game.

“I went through physical therapy for about three months to get it back to a level where I could put weight overhead,” he said. “Once everything was fully healed, the weights kept climbing because Coach Ray(Jones)  had me strengthen my lower body the entire time I was recovering. I knew that some of my records had the potential to be broken at the next meet … but I never set a goal as to what I wanted to achieve at the meet specifically. I was glad to be back on the platform and had a pretty open mindset as to what weights I would attempt.” 

Stanley and Jones never go into a meet with a particular number in mind.

“My coach always calls the weights based on what my warm-ups look like, not a preset number,” Stanley said. “I let him worry about my goals and logistics, while I just do the lifts.”

Stanley said he is trying to make as many teams as possible, and that is my main focus, competition-wise. 

“I’m in the top-10 rankings to be selected for the 2020 Junior Pan American Championships,” he said. “If I make the team, that will be my next competition.” 

While Stanley seems to have things under control in the weightlifting department, that doesn’t mean his hands aren’t full. The Beaufort High School student is in the process of deciding where he wants to go to college. 

“I am focused on school and my future. College admissions has definitely been more stressful than lifting because I enjoy what I do very much.”

He has applied to and been accepted by Clemson University, the University of South Carolina and College of Charleston, so far. 

“I’ve been accepted into all three, but the issue is deciding where to go,” he said. “My family and I have always been Gamecock fans, but I’m favoring Clemson at this point.

“Only thing left now is to find out which one I like more.”

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