By: Giovanni Hicks/GCU Staff
The future is female at the Grand Canyon University Powerlifting Club.
The Lopes’ new head coach, Santiago “Jimmy” Vasquez, has set a goal to break the gender stereotype in the powerlifting community by adding more women athletes to his roster.
“I would love to expand this program to more of the women on campus,” said Vasquez. “There are people out there who think powerlifting is a man’s sport, but women have an equal opportunity and importance in the field.”
Vasquez has already begun the process with the addition of Grace Sitton to the 2020-21 roster. He’s also promoted Taylor Oda to assistant coach.
“The team is so welcoming of any person that is interested – whether you are male or female, experienced or inexperienced, big or small,” said Oda. “It really is such a fun and inclusive sport.”
Oda, who joined the team in October of 2019, has thrived in the warmth of the team environment with an extremely successful start to her powerlifting career. Oda has competed twice in the 60kg 19-20-year-old division meet, placing first in both.
Oda’s immediate success serves as an inspiration not only to the female lifters, but to the entire Lopes’ squad.
“I’m so proud of how far Taylor has come in the sport, and she’s only improving,” said Vasquez. “Her success and attitude are inspiring others to fight – even when they’re down.”
Learn more about how to join the GCU Powerlifting team here.