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Tampa teen earns weightlifting national title

TAMPA - Weston McGrath never imagined his world would revolve around racking plates and lifting weights.

"I kind of went down a rabbit hole," the 14-year-old admits.

It is a rabbit hole known as weight lifting and Weston's obsession with the Olympic sport started when his parents signed him up for a class five years ago.

"I was a little iffy about it because my mom told me I was coming to a class and doing this," Weston recalls.

From that first weightlifting class at Train Harder in Pasco County, Weston's skills caught the attention of the coach running the class, Jordon Garrison.

"He just separated himself from the crowd," Garrison recalls. "Other things that kids couldn't normally do, he totally jumped that learning curve and he was ready for the next level."

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Five years later, Weston and Jordon are still working together as coach and athlete, working on turning iron plates into gold medals.

"I really enjoy it and I fell in love with it," Weston said. "I'm so deep into it and that is why it has become a part of me."

Part of Weston's weightlifting resume now includes a national title in his weight and age class.

"It was overwhelming to say the least. It was pretty cool," said Weston.

Currently ranked in the top three for his weight class nationally, Weston hopes to defend his title this year as he intends to turn his national titles into something even bigger one day.

"The Olympics is the ultimate goal for any weightlifter," said Weston. "Pretty much, it's the Olympics."

It might be a goal that seems out of reach to most, but Weston is used to carrying a heavy weight on his shoulders.

"It doesn't really surprise me at all," said Garrison. "You could just tell he was gifted right when he started the sport."

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