UTPA students bring home first place in weight lifting competition
Posted: 11/21/2002
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Cody Colchado and company have done it again.

The University of Texas-Pan American student, his coach and a workout companion have all taken top honors at two different heavy weight lifting competitions in Reno, Nevada, November 16 and Czechoslovakia in mid September

Two UTPA students recently took top honors at two different heavy weight lifting competitions. UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevarez met with the students and their coach to congratulate them for representing the University and bringing home the first place trophy. Pictured above from left to right are Jose Valtierra, UTPA student; Cody Colchado, UTPA student; Nevarez; and Coach Roberto Contreras.

UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez has high praise for Colchado, his Teammate Jose Valtierra and their Coach Roberto Contreras.

"These are dedicated individuals and they are truly inspiring. We at the University are proud," Nevárez said.

Colchado was born with a hearing impairment and later lost most of his vision as a result of a head injury suffered while playing high school football.

Under the direction of Contreras, Colchado has gone on to win National and International titles in a host of competitions. Both men share a special camaraderie, and are able to push each other to reach new heights.

"Having coach there, well he motivates me. When I don't feel like working out and I look over at him and there he is, this older guy and he's there working hard, lifting. That makes me get to work," Colchado explained.

Colchado recently won a first place trophy in the disabled division for bench-pressing 473 pounds at a Nevada competition. He also won second place for "dead-lifting" 601 pounds. As if that weren't impressive enough, two months ago, Colchado won a Gold Medal in the 'Blind World Championships' held in Budapest.

Contreras brought home two trophies from Nevada - first place for dead-lifting 545 pounds and second place for bench-pressing 325 pounds in the Master's Division in the over 55 age group.

Valtierra, an amputee and cancer survivor, also competed in Nevada. The physical education/kinesiology student won first place for bench-pressing 370 pounds in his weight division.

Valtierra has only been lifting for the past eight months and is one of Colchado's most recent recruits.

"I had a weightlifting class and Cody walked in one day and I had my crutches. He talked to me and basically he challenged me to compete," Valtierra said. "I'm really glad, it's been good to get back into sports."

All three are now back at training, preparing for the National Championships to be held in July in Houston.

"It's been a wonderful experience representing the University and disabled athletes everywhere," Colchado said.