MARQUETTE - Of the 21 members of the 2012 United States Olympic Education Center men's and women's weightlifting team, 10 hail from Michigan, including four from the Upper Peninsula.
Marquette is represented by Holly O'Dovero, Ann Bengry and Kyle LaJoye while the other Yooper on the USOEC team, Andrew Wener, hails from Munising.
"I look everywhere for strong athletes," USOEC head weightlifting coach Vance Newgard said. "I was happy to find so many from Michigan."
O'Dovero only began weightlifting as a sport a year ago and is making significant strides in her lifting, according to Newgard. He totals have gone up 25 kilograms in the snatch and 20 kg in the clean and jerk, he said.
"I found I really enjoyed the sport. I am happy with my progression and I'm looking forward to continuing improvement," said O'Dovero, who has her sights set on the American Open in November in Palm Springs, Calif. "If I can lift high enough numbers in the next competition, that will allow me to enter more events, such as the Senior National Championships."
Bengry, who was a swimmer at Northern Michigan University last season, began lifting with Newgard when she was 16 as a part of her strength training with the Marquette Senior High School swimming team.
"I realized that weightlifting was what I really wanted to do," Bengry said. "It is great that I could stay in Marquette to lift and not have to leave the area."
Like Bengry, LaJoye didn't start out as a weightlifter. He was a runner and the sport became a way for him to stay in shape for track.
"Having the opportunity to lift at a place like this in my hometown and at my university is really special," LaJoye said. "I love the progression I see in this sport and it's great I don't have to leave the area to pursue competitive Olympic-style lifting."
Wener became interested in weightlifting as a sport during his days playing high school football for the Mustangs. While visiting the Superior Dome, he had a chance to watch a USOEC weightlifting team practice.
He went on to lift at Eastern Michigan University at the club level, but decided to return to the U.P., enroll at NMU and train for a spot with the USOEC over the summer, which he earned.
"I remembered the USOEC had a team," Wener said. "I really wanted a more structured program and a full-time coach, so I contacted NMU."
The USOEC weightlifting team will be demobstrating its skills during an intersquad competition from 4-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the Superior Dome in order to gain qualifying totals for upcoming competitions. The event is free and open to the public.