Photo Courtesy of Allegra Hudson
In 2007, UTSA graduate student Wes Zunker helped establish the UTSA weightlifting club. Now, in 2015, Zunker maintains his position as head coach and sponsor for the club, which has amassed 40 members this season.
The weightlifting club prides itself on diversity; both males and females who study a variety of different majors make up the highly decorated team.
“Our president is sophomore Jaelynn Clark. We have a few world champions, too: me, Jaelynn, and Molly Zunker, who is married to Wes, and graduated this spring,” senior Allegra Hudson said.
The club splits its training sessions between The Recreation Center at UTSA and the gym at Southside High School because Zunker trains high school athletes at that school as well.
“We have team practices three times a week, usually Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. They start at five o’clock and end around nine, depending if we’re in our suits or not,” Hudson said.
The team competes against schools from across the country and has experienced major success. This success gives UTSA significantly more publicity and attracts a stronger recruiting class for the future, as the team has exponentially grown every year since it originated.
“The women’s team won its second national championship and the men’s team placed third for the second consecutive year,” said Hudson. “This year was one of the biggest at the collegiate nationals with over 300 lifters competing, too,” Hudson added. She credited team manager Enrique Lugo and former member Rob Garza as key components to their success.
The team’s camaraderie is undeniable; the squad regularly helps each other stay in shape with year-round training and dieting.
“We are pretty close and hang out all the time — not just on weekends. We’re especially close when it comes to eating; we have to get those gains in!” Hudson explained with a laugh.
The UTSA Weightlifting Club begins its training in the fall to prepare for a “raw meet” they host every September at Southside High School. These raw competitions consist of lifting with only wrist wraps, knee sleeves, a belt and a singlet.
The team will amp up its training for the Texas Regional Championships in December, followed by a meet in March.
The squad concludes their competitions with the annual Collegiate Nationals in April where the women’s team will look to win consecutive titles for the first time in club history, and the men’s team will look to secure the elusive national title.