The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Perfect pick-me-up

Lift-a-thon is booster club's biggest fundraiser


Kevin Wilson

Clovis junior Stephen Acosta goes for a 305-pound lift as D'Angelo Green spots at Wednesday's Wildcat football lift-a-thon fundraiser. Acosta, who will be an offensive and defensive lineman next season, topped out at 315 pounds.

CLOVIS — Next to the gridiron, the Clovis Wildcats spent Wednesday night pumping iron.

Amid shouts of encouragement for successful lifts and spotters prepared for the weight winning the battle, Wildcat football players engaged in the annual lift-a-thon, the program's biggest fundraiser and an unofficial kickoff to the 2018 football season.

Just over 100 football players lifted on a group of weight benches adjacent to the north end zone of Leon Williams Stadium, each trying for personal bests.

Stephen Acosta, prepping for his senior season as an offensive and defensive lineman, was more busy Wednesday prepping himself to try for 310 pounds after benching 305.

"I think it's great to be able to show the strength of the team ... this will help us during the summer," Acosta said. "I think we've improved more this year that we did last year. It's going to be an exciting year for the Wildcat football program."

Players like Acosta, who eventually topped out at 315 pounds, sought sponsors before the event. Defensive coordinator Drew Hatley said players can either get flat-rate pledges or per-pound donations that usually range between 10 cents and $1.

"This is the strongest the kids have been since Christmas," Hatley said. "We'll still lift during the summer, but they're pretty strong right now."

Players wore various T-shirts, with most rocking either a "The Rise" tee from 2017 or the lift-a-thon tee with the 2018 theme to "Unleash Chaos."

Clovis went 6-6 in its first season under Cal Fullerton, who said the program is advancing through community and administrative support.

One key, he noted, is letting the football coaching staff work with freshmen for the first time. The result may be around a half-dozen sophomores competing for starting spots in a few months.

"You can't see the difference in the football season until they can get on the field," Fullerton said, "but in the weight room it's miraculous."

The Wildcats begin the 2018 season with two road games, at Hobbs Aug. 24 and Aztec Aug. 31. Their first home game is Sept. 7 against Rio Rancho.

Donations can still be made to the lift-a-thon at Clovis High School.


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