Hopewell Middle School students Josh and Isabella Rivera were recently named 2017 USA Weightlifting (USAW) Texas State Weightlifting Champions.
Josh, a seventh-grade student, competed in the 50 kilogram weight class in the 14 to 15 year-old age bracket. Isabella, who is in sixth grade, competed in the 48 kilogram weight class for youth 13 years of age and under.
Isabella is currently ranked #1 nationally in the USAW 48 kilogram, 13 years of age and under division. Her total score at State qualified her to compete in the USAW Junior Nationals Competition in Kansas City in February. Junior Nationals includes competitors ages 20 and under. Isabella is the youngest competitor in the entire competition by three years. She has her eyes set on breaking the Texas State record for both Snatch and Clean and Jerk. Currently, her personal records are 45 kilograms (100 pounds) for Snatch and 56 kilograms (123 pounds) for the Clean and Jerk.
Olympic-style weightlifting consists of two competitive movements, the Snatch and a combination movement, the Clean and Jerk. The kilogram total of the two lifts combined also provides the athlete with a competitive total score. The two primary sanctioning organizations for Olympic-style weightlifting are the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and the predominant USA Weightlifting (USAW).
Josh and Isabella have been Olympic Weightlifting for a year and a half. The siblings became interested in weightlifting when a member of their parents’ gym offered them the opportunity to train in the sport. The pair enjoys friendly competition with each other and have noticed the benefits of training in other areas of their life.
“Weightlifting has made me stronger and helped me improve in baseball,” Josh said. “My arm speed is faster, and I can run for longer distances. It’s also pretty cool that you get to experience new things and travel.”
Both students said the focus they have in weightlifting carries over into their academic lives because it helps them be more disciplined.
The two have started to help their coach train new students in the sport. Josh said training new lifters comes naturally because he learned how to be a leader when he was a student at Teravista Elementary School, a Leader in Me campus.
Both Isabella and Josh have an impressive list of accomplishments at an early age. With the support of their parents, both students said they would like to continue in competition into adulthood.
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