Although the CFP3 Barbell Club with the Crossfit Pace Patriot Pride is still relatively new in their first year, it has not kept six club members from earning a trip to the Florida Weightlifting Federation’s State Championships on November 7 in Port Orange.

 Competing in such an event is familiar territory for Coach Joey Paladino. However, the Pace Crossfit co-owner is focused on furthering his team’s success.

“I think there is going to be a lot of people who will be asking ‘who are these kids?’ when we go to state and what is in the water at Pace,” Paladino said.  “We are going to put Pace on the map for weightlifting. The goal is to get bigger.”

Many of the students, who are of middle school age or younger, have only been weightlifting for a short period of time. However, after earning medals at  regional and state qualifying events, these kids seem to be sticking to the competitive sport. Click here for photo gallery.

“I just started it for fun,” said 14-year-old Mario Ortiz. “It got fun and I kept working hard at it and I got to this point.”

Ortiz is looking to set a record for the total amount of weight in the 41 kilograms category.

Twin brothers Luke and Lee Miller, 13, will also be taking the trip to Port Orange and said they got into the club through Crossfit and their parents.  Luke said competing against each other is nothing new.

“We usually always compete against each other, now we get medals if we compete against each other,” Luke said.

 The weightlifting competition is not just for boys. 10-year-old Kaila Corbridge’s interest in weightlifting has even taken precedence over dancing.

“I enjoy that I get to compete and go to state (championships),” she said. “My team has my back and that really pushes me a lot.”

 Some of the parents have also noticed the how their kids have taken to the sport. Heather Mallett and her husband have noticed how their 12-year-old daughter Maegan has committed to weightlifting. 

“She has a strong commitment,” Heather said. “I can be a lot for a 12 year old, but we leave it up to her.”

Heather expects her daughter to keep up her grades in order to keep participating.

  “Mentally and physically she does everything required in order to be here,” Heather said.

With continued success, Paladino said this sport can lead to bigger things for club members.

“Once they get that spark, they could possibly to go the Olympics,” he said.