Team lifts weights for cash

La Cañada High's weight room took the field Monday night.

It's not quite football season at LCHS, but players and fans got ready with the Spartans' second annual "Lift-a-thon." Athletes collected flat or per-pound pledges to raise funds for their football program.

"It's a very expensive program," Coach Dan Yoder said. "It is very equipment intensive, and none of it is cheap."

The upperclassmen performed bench press, squats and cleans. The underclassmen showcased their power at punting and passing. The farther they could kick and throw a football, the more dollar signs they added up.

"An event like this improves our confidence, teamwork and work ethic," senior center and linebacker Nate Eisenberg said. "It's an all-around good-for-football environment. Players come out here and show off how much they can lift. It's friendly competition, and I would say it leads to teambuilding."

Last year, the team raised around $2,000 that went toward uniforms. Money generated this year will be for equipment improvements, including helmets and practice gear.

Luke Sanborn, a senior defensive end and offensive lineman, said he expects more money to be raised this time around.

"It was a little bit easier getting pledges this year," Sanborn said. "Last year was a little weird starting this whole new fundraiser. Now that it has grown in popularity and with last year's exciting season, it seems a lot more people are interested in the football program."

The team preferred this brand of fundraising across the board.

"It gives the kids a chance to show off what they've been working on," Yoder said. "They work hard all season, and this is a chance to showcase that."

Throughout the night, the team was grilling burgers and selling apparel to family and friends of the team who came out to support.

Even though it was a relaxed event, the players were all business.

"This team really focuses in the weight room," senior tight end and linebacker Jay Kolina said. "When we come out here, there's no playing around; as soon as we get around these weights it's game time."

Cheers resounded from the field as Spartans put up personal bests, setting a precedent for the upcoming season.

"The team got really close during our last retreat," Sanborn said. "We all talked to a few people we wouldn't normally. It's good to let everyone know we're here for you — here for you when you're lifting, during practice or in a game."

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