Westborough gym sends seven athletes to US Weightlifting Nationals in Las Vegas – MetroWest Daily News

WESTBOROUGH — When Nora Paoloni was young, she would go to fitness classes with her mom, Annie Powell at CrossFit Prototype in Westborough. 
When the gym introduced its Barbell Club in 2018, Powell took notice.
“I had always liked weightlifting the most,” Powell said. “When the barbell club started, I sort of transitioned to doing something more like this.” 
Powell is the mother of Nora and Emily Paoloni, two members of the Prototype Barbell Club that sent seven girls to US Weightlifting Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada last month. 
“I had never pushed my girls to get into weightlifting,” Powell said. “They just saw me do it and were really interested in it and now it’s a really special thing to be able to share with them.”
And when they began doing it themselves, they developed a talent for it. 
Nora became a silver medalist in three events (snatch, clean and jerk and the total which is a combination of both) at the US Weightlifting National Championship. 
“I was really happy about it because I had worked really hard to get those,” Nora said.
The Nationals was just the second weightlifting competition in which Nora had competed. The other competition was held in Westerly, Rhode Island. 
“I was so happy for her,” Powell said. “I didn’t care if she came in second or 322nd. I know that they work really hard and I’m super happy for her and I think it gives them all a taste for high level competition and I think they all loved it.” 
Nora and Emily play softball and have found that weightlifting has helped them in that sport as well. 
“They are stronger hitters, they are stronger throwers,” said Powell, who specializes in adolescent health and eating disorders. “There is no question (that it has helped them get better at softball).”
For others on the team who don’t play other sports, weightlifting has providedan outlet to show competitiveness. 
“This is a place where I can de-load,” said Adrienne Li, 15, of Northborough. “It’s a stress relief and I love the people here. 
“It teaches me that not everything is going to be perfect,” she added. “I think that I really needed that and it helped me overcome that (need to be perfect).”
Li has been weightlifting for a little over a year and joined after meeting someone she recognized from school, Ella Gamache.
“We had been family friends with someone who did weightlifting for awhile,” said Li, a rising sophomore at Algonquin Regional in the fall. “Ella was here, who I go to school with and I wanted to become friends with her, but the only way I could do that is if I came here.” 
In addition to the barbell club, team captain, Caroline Kent – a rising senior at Algonquin – said CrossFit Prototype also does weightlifting programs with some local high school teams. 
“I know that the Algonquin girls soccer team would sometimes come in here during the season to lift,” Kent said. 
Powell credits head coach Joe Black with the positive environment that weightlifting has brought not only to her daughters, but everyone involved on the team. 
“This program that Joe has created is absolutely amazing and incredibly needed for young women,” Powell said. “There is so much in our culture with women trying to tear each other down and these girls are just so supportive. They build each other up and they are focused entirely on being strong instead of trying to make their bodies smaller which is amazing.
“I can’t say enough good things about Joe Black,” Powell added. “He is incredibly talented. He is so dedicated and he is very invested in helping them become stronger people and not just stronger athletes.” 
Ethan Winter is a senior multimedia sports journalist at the Daily News. He can be reached at ewinter@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @EWints.


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