The recently established girls weightlifting team is preparing for the upcoming meet against Gulf Coast High School on Jan. 17. The weightlifting team’s ability to succeed throughout the season can be attributed to consistent practices and the coach’s dedication to the sport.

“I have a huge passion for weightlifting and getting the chance to share that passion with this team means everything to me,” Coach Zack Mason said. “They are an amazing group of girls, and I look forward to each of our practices and meets.”

The girls weightlifting team was introduced to Naples High School during the 2022 winter season. The sport gave female students the opportunity to learn how to properly exercise their muscles and compete competitively in a positive setting. These benefits led to the participation of many hard-working athletes. 

“This sport doesn’t put as much pressure on you as other sports I’ve done, so the whole process is enjoyable,” senior McKnight Welzbacher said. “I love the competitions and practices and just everything about the sport.

According to Mason, girls weightlifting consists of olympic and traditional categories. The olympic category contains the clean and jerk, as well as the snatch. The traditional event contains the clean and jerk and bench press. Athletes are put in weight groups where they are scored on the amount of weight lifted for each category. 

“I personally do best in the clean and jerk,” sophomore Savannah Toro said. “I believe I’ll do well in the competition because the extra adrenaline and excitement always pumps me and, more often than not, helps me get a personal best.” 

The female weightlifters have learned many lessons throughout the season that they can apply to the Jan. 17 competition. Every meet allows the athletes to take note of what can be improved upon, as well as what may contribute to their achievement. 

“I’ve also learned to take a big breath before my clean and jerk,” Welzbacher said. “It totally helps with how much I can lift.”

Reaching a personal record is not the only aspect of the competitive event that the NHS weightlifters look forward to. The positivity exuding from the crowd furthers the anticipation of the day of the meet. The encouragement that each member of the girls weightlifting team receives motivates them to continue their training. 

“I love being surrounded by a community of people who are supporting you no matter how much you’re lifting,” Toro said. “It can be literally just the bar or 130 pounds and the crowd goes wild.”