by brian shepard
Sports Writer

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June 26, 2013
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NU holds annual lift-a-thon

The Nevada Union football Miners broke a tremendous sweat to kickoff their new season as the team spent some quality time together during its annual lift-a-thon Tuesday evening, inside Albert Ali Gymnasium.

According to head coach Dennis Houlihan, the fundraiser is the biggest of the year for the program and accounts for approximately 80 percent of teams’ funds.

“We won’t know how much was raised tonight, but it’s capable of bringing in $50,000-$90,000,” said Houlihan. “The kids are sponsored per pound they lift, so we have to go count it out and collect it. Usually it provides enough for our transportation and new uniforms.”

Top lifters were junior defensive end, tackle and offensive guard Colton Barker and senior linebacker and fullback Brandon Lopez. Colton claimed bragging rights with a lift of 330 pounds and Lopez finished close behind as he emptied his tank to thrust up 315 pounds.

“I lift almost everyday,” said Barker as his parents stood by proudly. “I also do a light workout on the weekends. I’m excited. I didn’t know what to expect. I’m hoping to get some playing time as a junior, hopefully starting.”

Originally the lifting was scheduled to be done outdoors inside Hooper Stadium, but drizzly skies brought the players, coaches and spectators inside the gym.”

“(The lift-a-thon) has changed a lot,” Lopez said. “More people from the community came out to support us to try and help us get back on track. This season I’m going to try my hardest not to give up and go hard.”

Although it may seem early, the program is already well underway into its summer workout agenda.

“We’re in our third week of practice now,” said assistant coach John Kieth. “There was a little bit of a recess. We had a camp at Aptos last week and on July 12 we host the Nevada Union Defense Camp. I was absolutely impressed (with the lift-a-thon). This team is very young with a lot of juniors. It’s no nonsense with hard workers and good guys.”

After flexing their muscles for many, many reps, the players proceeded to the snack bar where they replenished themselves with good ole fashioned protein.

“We used to power clean,” explained NU defensive coordinator Brad Dal Bon. “Now we use the bench. Good food, tri-tip sandwiches, a disc jockey; it’s a different flavor and it works both ways. The community comes out to support the youth, and the kids get stronger and build off that. I’m really enjoying their hard work. They’re very focused, respectful and coachable kids.”

As the new head coach of the varsity program, Houlihan also understands the significance of instilling a sense of urgency for his squad to have a positive mindset.

“Overall the kids understand our new vision with where we want to be and how to represent the community,” added Houlihan. “We have community service events scheduled through summer. It gives us a positive outlook. The kids buy into it and become a better team.”

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The Union Updated Jun 26, 2013 01:06AM Published Jun 26, 2013 01:06AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.