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Weightlifting club advances to Nationals

Weightlifting club advances to Nationals
LVISD Members of the La Vernia Weightlifting Club gather for a team workout. Team members include (l-r) Coach Jason Fiacco, Koby Bullard, Connor Towns, Garrett McBride, Travis Puhlmann, and Shelby Rodriguez.

The La Vernia Weightlifting Club will be making another trip to the USA Weightlifting Youth Nationals with six lifters qualifying for the event.

Four of the lifters, Shelby Rodriguez, Parker Beck, Travis Puhlmann, and Matthew Montgomery qualified at the IronCat Open at Texas State University in April, while Koby Bullard and Connor Towns qualified at the BlackBox Open in College Station.

La Vernia looks to build on its success from last year, when Rodriguez and Montgomery received bronze and silver medals, respectively. Puhlmann will also be making a return trip to Nationals, hoping to improve upon his fifth-place finish from 2014.

“The club has had a tremendous amount of success within the past year,” said Coach Jason Fiacco. “The success of our lifters is due to their unparalleled desire to work hard, and their de-sire to get better, and that is evident by their gains.

“Travis Puhlmann can clean and jerk 230 pounds, up 45 pounds from last year an incredible gain for someone who only weighs 145 pounds,” Fiacco said. “And he isn’t the only one that has shown such improvement. It’s across the board with all our kids. They’ve gotten better because they have that drive and desire.”

La Vernia Weightlifting is a club through La Vernia Independent School District, but is not a UIL-sanctioned sport. Because of that, no costs are school funded. La Vernia Weightlifting would like to thank the community for its overwhelming support to raise funds to finance the trip to Nationals. The club managed to raise more than $2,000 at the La Vernia Stock Show. The club’s efforts were greatly aided by the generous food donations from Texas Dozer Service, Buffalo Joes, Busy Bear, Pruski’s Meat Market, Mesquite Bean, Witte’s, and Red Apple Resources.

This year’s Youth Nationals competition will take place June 24-28 at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. Last year’s competition was the largest domestic weightlifting meet in American history with more than 530 participants ranging in ages from 10-17. Fans can even watch La Vernia’s lifters take on America’s strongest via live podcast available online at the USA Weightlifting website.

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