Outweighing The Obstacles

Weightlifting team overcomes adversity in the postseason

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Chi Rho

Junior Boaz Kim benches 235 pounds, winning his weight class during the Citris League Championship on March 9.

David Hull, Sports Writer

   Following a successful regular season with a record of 6-2, the boys weightlifting team faced several challenges heading into districts, including the flu and other illnesses. Despite these obstacles, the team still performed well, finishing with four district champions.

   Junior Boaz Kim competed in the bench and clean and jerk, placing first in the district for the 154 weight class, putting up a 230-pound bench press and 185-pound clean and jerk. Kim stated that he was confident from the start, expecting to perform well.

   “I had already looked at a lot of the numbers from the other teams that we matched up against, and my numbers were a lot higher than theirs,” Kim said. “I was confident in myself enough to place first.”

   The team also found success in the snatch, a new event added this year, with three district champions including junior Anthony Miceli. Miceli won his weight class, but like many other lifters, he originally wasn’t sure about participating in the new lift and only started a couple of months ago.

   Even though the event was optional, head coach Isiah Cabal had all lifters participate in the snatch throughout the season, unlike the majority of other schools. Miceli said the coaches did a great job teaching the lift and led him to compete in the event in districts.

   “The coaches really affected me,” Miceli said. “They did a great job specifying the workouts for the snatch, and they did a really good job helping teach us what to do to warm up.”

   Despite finding success in the snatch, the team also faced many challenges including illness. During the month of April, a strand of the flu spread around campus. Multiple lifters, including junior Jackson Salinas, were out sick during the district meet and therefore did not have the opportunity to qualify for regionals or states. Kim often practiced alongside Salinas, saying that they often pushed each other to do better. 

   “His numbers were state level,” Kim said. “I think he would have had a lot of success against the lifters in his weight class and easily gone to states, so it really sucks to see that his season had to be cut short.”

   Salinas’ numbers were outstanding for the 169 weight class and would have guaranteed him the district title. His total of the two lifts was 500 pounds, the first place lifter in districts total was 465. Salinas was well aware of his numbers and frustrated with his inability to compete.

   “I was super disappointed and so upset,” Salinas said. “It was a perfect situation going into districts but then everything happened and it all fell apart.”

   Before being notified of all the sick lifters, Cabal believed the team had a good shot at winning districts.

   “We had a lot of really strong guys that all progressed really well,” Cabal said. “ I thought we were going to have at least four, maybe five, district champs at least, and then we started getting the emails that our students got the flu.”

   Besides facing the flu, the team also went through another traumatic experience when junior lifter Safwan Zaman was temporarily paralyzed. Salinas said that the team rallied around him and dedicated the season to him.

   After seeing multiple contributors out with the flu and Zaman’s injury, Cabal said that it showed nothing should be taken for granted. 

   “You can only control the things you can control,” Cabal said. “We’re really fortunate to have multiple lifters at every weight class. I hope the takeaway for anyone who is seeing that is, nothing’s guaranteed. You can’t rely on what will happen next year, because you never know.”