Weightmen continue to dominate

Team carries on past legacies of track, field throwers


Liam cashin ’22, Isaias Lopez ’22, and Kyle Barron ’22 hold a shot during practice on March 10 (Wirtz/LION).

Aidan Wirtz, Sports Editor

The shotput and discus throwers often go overlooked by the community, other than those who participate in track and field. But for the “big boys” of the LT Weightmen program, led by coach Jerry Rigo, strength is their key focus.

The Weightmen program focuses on helping young athletes get stronger in the weightroom for all sports, but focuses on football and track and field. Rigo has been running the program for multiple years now, and did his fair share of heavy lifting as a student at LT as well. 

He still holds a couple records for LT lifting, and was named his team’s most valuable lineman as a senior at LT in 2007. Rigo went on to play football at Northern Illinois University (NIU) as an offensive lineman, and now influences high schoolers like Isaias Lopez ‘22 to continue growing stronger for LT’s shotput group. 

“Given that [Rigo] is somewhat of a younger coach, he has the ability to connect with us more on a personal level,” Lopez said. “He fires us up with motivational speeches and makes sure he connects with us all individually and as a team.”

Lopez has been involved in the Weightmen program for all four years of his high school career, and it has helped him develop as both a football player and track and field athlete, he said. He has been constantly getting better at his designated event of shotput and discus, and has a good shot at making a run at state.

“It’s borderline therapeutic,” Lopez said. “Being able to lift with a group of guys who all want to see you succeed. The atmosphere is unmatched.”

Along with Lopez, there are other multi-sport athletes in Weightmen such as Dominic Sylvester ‘22, Will Letterman ‘22, Kyle Barron ‘22, and Liam Cashin ‘22 that all played football this past fall together. 

Letterman and Cashin are new to the team, and have both greatly improved due to their constant hard work, Cashin said.

“Weightmen creates a great environment to be the best you can be,” Cashin said. “It helps us all become better athletes, and since becoming an upperclassman, I’ve loved being a good influence for the younger guys.”

Cashin recently committed to Butler University for football, and credits a lot of his success to Rigo and the program, he said. As for Letterman, he’s been a part of the program since his sophomore year. Weightmen has been one of the best things he’s experienced in high school, he said.

“There’s no group of people I would rather lift with,” Letterman said. “Everyone is rooting for everyone, and it’s just a great group of guys to be around every year.”

This specific group of guys have developed fun events and themes to bring even more energy and enthusiasm to the team. A blackout theme was one of their favorites, where the guys wore all black before a meet.

“It’s something we have been doing as a tradition for several years,” Lopez said. “It was passed down to us by former Weightmen, and we switched it up a little.” 

Lopez set both his personal bests for shotput and discus in the outdoor season last year. In shot put, he threw 39 feet at the West Suburban Conference Invite on May 8, and has since surpassed that length in practices this year. As for discus, he threw 111 feet on May 22 at a quad meet. 

“I’ve been working extremely hard,” Lopez said. “The goal is to qualify for state and throw 52 feet in the shot put event by the time sectionals rolls around.”

Lopez, Letterman, and Cashin have all set big goals for the end of the season, especially as the sectional meet on May 20 approaches. Given the dynamic they have as a team, and with Rigo at the helm, it will be exciting to see where that leads the team, Cashin said.

“Work as hard as you can and get outside your comfort zone,” Cashin said. “You won’t get anywhere unless you break your own mental barriers. That is Weightmen.”