PITTSBURG — Breaking stereotypes and achieving goals, St. Mary’s-Colgan junior Ella Battitori found works relentlessly to improve in the weightroom.

To prepare for cheerleading, volleyball and softball, Battitori spends several hours in the gym outlifting many of her peers.

“Once I got done with volleyball season, I went with my brother to the weight room to help him prepare for football,” Battitori said. “That’s when I decided I would give lifting a shot. I just figured it would help me get ready for softball, and I found that I really enjoyed it.”

Battitori’s newly-found passion led her to compete in a powerlifting meet on Feb. 25 at Pittsburg High School, where she placed seventh overall as the lone SMC representative.

“It was my first weightlifting competition, so I didn’t expect to do as well as I did,” Battitori said. “ I really just wanted the experience, although I wasn’t positive if I wanted to do it or not at first. I saw an advertisement for it on Twitter and didn’t think much of it at first, but my weightlifting coach suggested that I give it a shot.”

Despite her apprehensions, Battitori walked in with an open mind.

“Being one of the few girls at the competition was nerve racking at first, but I just went for it,” Battitori said. “I was the only Colgan student there anyways, so I expected to be isolated in a way, but it wasn’t bad once I got going. I just went in wanting to do my best and gave it my all.”

Soon after stepping into the gym at PHS, Battitori said she reconnected with old friends who helped her along the way.

“I’m just really thankful to all of the girls at PHS for accepting me in their group at the competition,” she said. “I had no idea what I was getting into and I don’t think I could have done as well as I did without their support.”

Lifting in front of a crowd instead of in a weightroom was an experience Battitori said helped her break out of her shell.

“Competing really got me out of my comfort zone,” Battitori said. “I’m not a very outgoing person and I’m very shy, but once I was there, the girls at PHS really helped me get into it and made me feel comfortable.”

Battitori said she isn’t sure if a career in health and fitness is in the cards after high school, but she will continue to hit the gym no matter what the future holds.

“Overall, my goal is just to get stronger,” Battitori said. “I don’t know my major in college will be related to training or not. Right now, I’ve been thinking about the medical field. I’ll probably just focus on school after I graduate, but I anticipate continuing to weightlift regardless.”