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Canadian Senior Championships set the stage for Stevens-Paquette and Boileau

Every lifter had a takeaway from the 2023 Canadian Senior Championships in Toronto last month.

For Sudbury Weightlifting Club newcomer Ambroise Stevens-Paquette, a 7th place finish at the open competition provided a key initiation to the elite level of the sport as she competes this weekend at the Canadian Juniors, ranked in the top five in her weight class in the country.

For Patrick Boileau, a graduate of Collège Boréal who lives in Sudbury but still competes for a facility in Ottawa, his silver medal performance this year on the heels of winning gold twelve months ago would allow him to run a different gamut of emotions, yet still a gamut that was quite fulfilling.

"Last year, I was more into it and everything was more precise and calculated," said Boileau, who competed in the 109 kg weight class, hitting 135 on the snatch and 176 in the clean and jerk, well back of Jonathan Sarrazin of Québec (324 total).

"This year, I brought more people into this journey with me. I was much more inclusive - it was so surreal."

"I was very secluded and reserved last year," Boileau continued. "I was very open this year with the (lifting) community, allowing everyone in to my circle."

Still considering that he had hit a high mark of 320 earlier this season, there is a need to reset - though he feels much more equipped to do so now.

"Three-eleven (311) feels disappointing, but I was able to take a step back and have a better perspective," noted Boileau. "The next step is a refresh. I want to target something north of 321. It's back to the drawing board, change a few things and get back on the platform by the end of the summer."

By contrast, Stevens-Paquette had little if any reason to feel disappointed, the event marking her first national of any kind in the sport. "It was a great experience for both of us," suggested SWC head coach Alex Fera.

From her side, it was a chance to see athletes who have been to the Olympics. It's quite exciting from that standpoint."

"For me, this was kind of the apex because of all of the courses and studying I had done to reach this point," added Fera, who was being assessed for his Level 2 qualifications, the requirement needed to be able to guide national teams into international competition.

"I was being judged on how prepared she was, what her warmups were, how I talked to her, how she performed."

The fact that Stevens-Paquette showed well, recording a snatch of 78 kilos and a clean and jerk of 101 (222 lbs), a new personal best, certainly bodes well. "She beat the top junior girl (in Canada) in the clean and jerk and went five for six on her lifts."

And still, there were takeaways.

"When you get to this level, things happen very quick," opined Fera, alluding to the back stage shuffling that can go on as athletes look to garner a psychological advantage by passing at certain weights, forcing adversaries to the platform more quickly than anticipated.

"This is still an 18 year old girl," emphasized Fera. "We have to keep things light. She is learning every day she is in the gym with me."

Their 18th birthday comfortably behind them, Masters competitors Sylvie Guenette and Tim McCauliffe also had reason to celebrate following a recent show in Florida.

Establishing a new personal best of 51 kg (112 lbs) in the snatch and a 64 kg (141 lbs) lift in the clean and jerk, Guenette secured a second place finish, with nationals for this crew set for mid-July in Midland.

McCauliffe finished third in his bracket, combining lifts of 64 kg (snatch) and 90 kg (198 lbs - clean and jerk) in order to mount the podium.

Sudbury Wolves