MOUNT VERNON — The Brewton-Parker College (BPC) Olympic Weightlifting team recently brought home the gold at the USA Weightlifting 2021 University Nationals and Open (March 4-8 in West Valley, Utah) for both males and females. Tayon Vereen, a Junior Accounting major from Savannah, Georgia, placed first for the male. The female winner went to Summer Daraio-Rivera, a Senior Biology major from Port Orange, Florida. Olympic weightlifting includes two events The Snatch and The Clean and Jerk. The combined total of the two determines the winner.
Olympic Weightlifting Coach Vance Newgard shared his pride for the team, “In only our third year as an Olympic weightlifting program we already have more than half the team reaching the podium at national events and students making international teams to compete for Team USA.” Both Tayon Vereen and Summer Daraio-Rivera won first place for their divisions. Ni’Eryka Goodwin took second place. Antionette Farmer and Donald Palmer both took 3rd place.
Vereen recently shared the roller coaster of emotions of the competition, “Going into the competition I was worried because I had COVID-19 during winter break. It took almost three weeks for me to recover, which meant I was not able to work out. Since I started lifting, I have never been away from the gym that long; especially leading up to such a big competition. However, I kept calm and trusted in the training I had accomplished before I got sick. Given everything that I had gone through, winning the Gold medal was a big confidence booster for the remainder of the year.”
Daraio-Rivera also shared her thoughts on the victory, “Leading up to this performance I was dealing with lots of hardships in my life and was struggling to get through the semester. When I’m feeling anxious, I find comfort in Colossians 3:15. I poured all of my attention into this performance and told myself, if I can’t directly believe in myself, then I will strengthen my faith in God. I felt protected & strong. I did not allow my anxious thoughts to distract me and I lifted like I have been every day. I became the 2021 University National Female Champion and won my first ever Gold medal in a national event!”
Over the summer Coach Newgard plans to recruit future talent to expand the program and secure a top collegiate program and use the program as a feeder system for athletes to compete internationally and ultimately at the Olympic Games. If you are more interested in learning about the BPC Olympic Weightlifting team or other athletic programs, check out GoBaronsGo.com