Butte girls qualify for Olympic lifting Youth Nationals

Beth Sampson and Mia Spencer didn’t know their own strength.

The two Butte girls competed in the Grough-Karchut Weightlifting Classic at CrossFit Belgrade last Saturday just for the heck of it. They went home shocked at how good they really are.

Sampson, 12, and Spencer, 14, qualified to compete in the Youth Nationals, which will take place in June in Austin, Texas.

“I didn’t even know you could qualify for anything,” said Spencer, a freshman at Butte High school.

“When we first did it,” adds Sampson, a seventh grader at East Middle School, “we were like ‘What did we just do?’”

Sampson and Spencer have been working out at Copper City CrossFit for a couple of years. They got into it because each has a parent who works out at the CrossFit center.

Somewhere along the line, the girls took to Olympic lifting. So Anthony Fields, the owner of Copper City CrossFit, set up a weightlifting camp for the girls to improve their craft.

That led to Saturday’s tournament, which included a clear-and-jerk left and a snatch lift. Both include lifting a lot of weight directly over the head.

Each individual got three attempts at each lift, and the best score from each were added together. Though they didn’t know it as they did it, the girls beat the qualifying standard of 70 kilograms. (Note: 1 kilogram is about 2.2 pounds)

“They went in and did their thing. They really just did it to do it,” Fields said. “It was kind of a big surprise to us. We didn’t go in with that goal in mind.”

The girls have about eight months to get ready for their national competition. They won’t alter their current schedule that has them working out about five days each week between lifting and CrossFit.

“I’m going to try to get to 100 kilos.” Spencer said.

Sampson, who also plays volleyball and competes in softball, said she doesn’t have a goal in mind. She has, though, started thinking about raising money for the upcoming trip to Texas.

“My mom said we’ll have to sell a lot of cupcakes,” Sampson said.

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