Ray Jones knows expectations are high for C.J. and Omar Cummings.
The brothers own American weightlifting records, setting new marks seemingly each time they compete. Jones, who coaches the boys at Beaufort Middle School under the umbrella of Team Savannah weightlifting, tells C.J. and Omar only to try to improve their personal bests. The rest -- the records and medals -- will come.
Lately, the Cummings' best has been better than everybody else their age and weight.
Their next test will be the Pan American 15-and-under Championships in Shreveport, La.
C.J. Cummings, 13, will lift Saturday, and 15-year-year-old Omar lifts Sunday, both hoping to extend American records set at the Youth National Championships in June. C.J. enters the PanAm championships as the top-ranked lifter on Team USA. Omar is ranked No. 3.
"Not only are you lifting and representing yourself and Beaufort and everything else, you're representing your country," Jones said. "That's pretty neat."
C.J. and Omar earned spots in the Pan American Championships based on their performance at Youth Nationals. At that meet in St. Joseph, Mo., C.J. lifted a 100-kilogram snatch and 125-kilogram clean and jerk for a record-setting 225 total in the 13-and-under division. Omar set an American record with a 131-kilogram clean and jerk in the 14-15 age group.
This is the first time Omar will compete for a national team. C.J. competed at Youth Worlds earlier this year.
Omar said Jones emphasizes stretching as much as possible before a lift.
"Be all loose," Omar said Jones tells him. "The more you make it a big deal, it's not going to go well."
The brothers are hoping for personal bests. C.J. wants to snatch better than 105 kilograms and clean and jerk better than 130 kilograms.
Omar's target numbers are more than 103 on the snatch and his record 131 kilograms on the clean and jerk.
"Some days are better than others," Jones said. "You're going to see how you're feeling that day... They're coming here trying to improve on their own personal records. Whatever happens after that, happens."
PAN AMERICAN 15-U CHAMPIONSHIPS
What: Beaufort residents and brothers C.J. and Omar Cummings will compete for Team USA in the international youth weightlifting competition
When: Friday-Monday (C.J. lifts Saturday and Omar on Sunday)
Where: Shreveport, La.
Notes: C.J. is ranked No. 1 on the team and Omar ranks No. 3. Both own American records after the Youth National Championships in June.