Lifting up Weights and Teammates


Toby Somerville

Senior Gabriella Paul helps to register the lifters at the meet against Wesley Chapel and Pasco high school. But when it’s her day to compete, her favorite event is the clean and jerk. She says, “it’s both flashy and fun–all eyes are on you the entire time. It’s genuinely so thrilling.”

Toby Somerville, Staffer

The weightlifting season has started, but senior Gabriella Paul has been lifting since freshman year. Gabby says, “I’ve always been interested in getting stronger, and being in a typically more ‘masculine’ sport didn’t deter me.” She was roped in by her sister, Isabella Paul, who graduated in 2022 and is now an assistant coach on the team. Gabby says Coach Hodros and Bella “both do everything they can to keep us on track and focused on championships. They’re my biggest source of motivation and inspiration.” To settle the nerves that come with meets, Gabby says “I focus on the music I’m listening to and my teammates. My team keeps me focused and they give me their unconditional support that is what drives me to do my best.” Gabby says, “I’ve made so many friends and connections with many different people since joining… It’s a welcoming community for sure.” She says, “my favorite memory so far is probably watching my co-captains, Elena Kulubya and Nicole Bouserhal [who are both seniors this year], hit PRs at the first meet of the year.” Watching them succeed is a good feeling for the whole team. Whenever Gabby hits a Personal Record (PR), she says, “To know that the hard work you’ve put in is showing is one of the greatest feelings. I tend to cry after I hit PRs, but in a good way.”