CHARLESTON – Many young people will be up late partying on New Year's Day and Eve, but not Camille Caskey, Bret Pfeiffer and Troy Pfeiffer from the Charleston/Mattoon Weightlifting Club.
These weightlifters are scheduled be training at the Olympic Training Center. They are to train on Christmas Day in Mattoon and then leave the day after Christmas for an all expenses paid, week-long training camp at the USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
The camp is for the top dozen or so male and female lifters ages 20- and-under in the USA.
Caskey, daughter of Kevin and Winnie Caskey, and Bret Pfeiffer, son of Troy and Amy Pfeiffer, were selected since they are considered contenders for the Youth World Championships (17-and-under) to be held in Lima, Peru, next Spring. Troy Pfeiffer was selected based on being the listed coach for the two lifters. They are the only people from Illinois invited.
"This is a great honor for our club, myself, and for Bret and Camille," Troy Pfeiffer said. "Bret and Camille are well known in the lifting community. Both have represented the USA at international meets before and both have attended training camps at the OTC. USA Weightlifting contacted us since we had two lifters going to the camp and said if both were under one coach, that coach would get to go to the camp. Bret was originally under me, and Camille under Marty (Schnorf). We talked about it, and Marty asked if I could go. I said I could, so we made the switch," Pfeiffer said. "We actually both coach each of them and share decisions and responsibility."
Schnorf said," I have had my day in the sun. Troy is there every day. He probably relates better to the young kids who will be at the camp than I do. He is very knowledgeable and this is a nice honor for him. He can also watch over our kids out there and see how they train and pick up thoughts about other coaches' observations.".
For Caskey, 16, it will be her fourth trip to the OTC this year, and the third for all expenses paid training camps.
"I appreciate all of the time and money USA Weightlifting has invested in me,” she said. “I will do my best and train as hard as possible. I enjoy the camps and get to see lifters from all over the country. Some I will see for the fourth or fifth time since summer. It is always an honor to go to the OTC and be among some of the top young athletes in the country, as well as the older lifters and athletes who reside at the OTC."
For Bret Pfeiffer, 15, it is another honor in an eventful year for him.
He was selected to represent the USA In Mexico this summer, and then as part of a USA 15-and-under team at the OTC in October. Both Pfeiffer and Caskey just returned from Washington, D.C., recently, where they competed in the American Open Championships.
"It has been a busy year for me, for sure," Bret Pfeiffer said. "To represent the USA twice in international competition in six months and then be featured in an IOC (International Olympic Committee) video is a great honor. It is nice my dad can go with us, too. I hope to learn and then take the advice and ideas home to help me improve even more. We will train with (USA coach at the OTC) Zygmunt Smalcerz, a former Olympic gold medalist. We brought him to Mattoon last year to speak at a clinic. Camille and I and dad all know him well."
Schnorf and Troy Pfeiffer both said that the lifters earn their rewards: "They will train on Christmas Day. They will train either on New Year's Eve.... New Year's Day.... or both. So, when one sees they travel to the OTC... to Washington, D.C... to Mexico... to the Mall of America.... Dallas....Denver.....Chicago... Columbus.... St. Louis.... Salt Lake City.... all in one year, and several of them multiple times....... you can rest assured they have paid for it with sweat in the gym."
Caskey and Bret Pfeiffer said that they were not sure what the plans would be for others at the OTC camp, but were sure on what their plans would be. "We know Troy will have us in the gym every day. If they would let him, he would have us training when the New Year rang in at midnight. We're sure that if Marty were asked, he would say train them every day and twice on holidays."
Both Caskey and Bret Pfeiffer said that they appreciate all of the support of sponsors and the time and money that Troy Pfeiffer, his parents Charlotte and Larry Pfeiffer, and Schnorf spend. "This is a labor of love for both dad and Marty," Caskey and Bret Pfeiffer said. "They do all of this without pay. We know they are both proud of us. Mike Houser and his wife, Mindy, of Sullivan, allow us to train in their building for free. These things don't just happen without help. We would like to thank them all.
Schnorf and Troy Pfeiffer invited others in the community to come join them and compete and travel the country. There is no cost to join the club that trains just a few blocks from the Mattoon High School at 2610 Marshall Avenue thanks to Mike Houser. Those interested can see the Facebook page Charleston Weightlifting Club or email firstname.lastname@example.org.