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A New Level of Strength: Weightlifting Team Debut

By Joseph Alonso

Photo Credit: CCHS Weightlifting Instagram

Strength. Determination. Camaraderie.

Three words that describe the new Olympic Weightlifting team that just arrived at Christopher Columbus High School.

Officially classified as 'Weightlifting' by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), this sport involves athletes lifting barbells loaded with weights that test for strength, power and technique.

In this sport, there are two different classifications of movements. In an article from the Olympics written by Rahul Venkat:

"There are two stages in modern Olympic weightlifting – the snatch and the clean and jerk. The snatch is where the weightlifter picks up the barbell and lifts it above his head in one singular motion. In the clean and jerk, the weightlifter is first required to pick up the barbell and bring it up to his chest (clean). The lifter must then pause and extend his arms and legs to lift it above the head (jerk) with a straight elbow and have to hold it there until a buzzer is sounded," he wrote.

However, before the creation of the official Columbus Weightlifting team, the sport had already existed at CCHS.

In 2021, Mr. Fernando Machado founded the Olympic Weightlifting Club with students Sebastian Marin and Sebastian Gomez which saw immediate practices, programs and conditioning occurring for the then members of the club.

With the perseverance of Mr. Machado, as well as support from CCHS' administration, the Olympic Weightlifting Club was able to finally become the Weightlifting Team and officially represent CCHS at meets and competitions.

With the birth of a new sports team, there is a lot of work to be done. Between tryouts, conditioning and gaining experience, the team has many obstacles to overcome in the coming season.

"The first obstacle that any new team has which is the initial growing phase. We're a rookie team and a lot of our athletes are new to Olympic Lifting.. so I think our first real challenge is building a Marist Columbus culture... which [could] take years," Machado says.

Overcoming these obstacles is no easy feat, but in regular Columbus fashion, the team will get through their growing pains. In specific, this first season is crucial to understanding the sport and how it plays out at our school and other schools as well.

Through competition, the team will be able to build said culture and inch closer to a recognized program in which the school and students alike can benefit greatly.

Weightlifting is a relatively newer and upcoming sport. By offering it here at Columbus, the school expands its horizons to more possible state and national titles as well as students who specialize in the sport.

To CCHS, this sport has massive impacts on schooling and life, according to Samuel Villavicencio junior and prospective member of the team.

"This team is good for me because I like weightlifting... [and now] the team [creates] a new enviorment of friends and teamates with shared interest, [an almost] commonplace amongst weightlifters," he said.

Since the beginning, CCHS has always been open to expanding its opportunities for students. From more than a dozen sports to an incredible number of clubs, the opportunities for students to succeed are massive. Mr. Machado continues,

"I think its good to have a new sport because we have a big student population and a lot of students are looking for a sport to play so adding a new sport gives them an oppertunity to play and participate."

Now more than ever, the introduction of the weightlifting club has brought even more prospects to Christopher Columbus High School.

(Photo credit: Mr. Machado)

Apart from the school's success, the team will see the same opportunity. With already existing members of the team being nationally recognized, the team is on a path to greatness.

Now with the introduction of more personalized plans for athletes and the quality of the coaching staff, the Columbus Weightlifting team is in good hands. From this starting point, there is only up.

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