The CNMI’s Leowell Cristobal made his home islands proud again after the recent U.S. Air Force Academy graduate won two silver medals in the U.S. Weightlifting U25 Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 23-year-old finished second in the clean & jerk of the 67 kg weight class to earn a silver medal in the event. Cristobal lifted 126 kg in the clean & jerk to finish second behind Riley Breske who was able to lift 135 kg to win the competition with plenty to spare. Julian Menendez came in third with a lift of 122 kg.
Cristobal also finished second behind Breske in the total weight category after lifting 222 kg in both the snatch and the clean & jerk. The former’s heaviest lift in the snatch was 95 kg. Breske was a man among boys by winning the snatch with a lift of 104 kg, which coupled with his dominance in the clean & jerk, gave him the gold medal in the overall weight category at 239 kg. Third place overall went to Felix Lien who had an amalgamated lift of 218 kg.
The son of Leonardo Sr. and Ana Marie Cristobal is just happy he was able to compete after representing the CNMI in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 just a week prior.
“Honestly after a week of just having competed in the Mini Games and having a 17-hour flight into Vegas the day before the competition, I just wanted to go out there and have a good time. Getting the silver was a bonus and I’m grateful for it.”
The Marianas High School alumnus is dedicating his two silver medals in the U25 Nationals to his family and friends who’ve always supported him.
“I especially want to give a shout out to Angel San Nicholas and Cheyanne Manuel for helping me train even after their competitions in the Mini Games were over. To Pinnacle Weightlifting coach Jackie Black for coaching me and to my buddies Justin Wilmoth and Shadrin Andres being there and helping me in the backstage.”
In the Mini Games, Cristobal salvaged second place in the clean & jerk portion of the 67-kg class after lifting 125 kg in his third and last try to the delight of the partisan home crowd at the MHS Gymnasium.
Cristobal enlisted in the U.S. Air Force for two years before he got accepted into the Air Force Academy in 2018. It was at the academy where he started a weightlifting club. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy on May 25, 2022, with a bachelor of science degree in Behavioral Sciences; he entered the Air Force as a commissioned officer and second lieutenant.
Aside from weightlifting Cristobal also shines in his military career, having received the top former regular enlisted graduate award, and the Horner Award with the highest class honors. He will soon start training as an Air Battle manager in Florida.