Athlete of the Week: Joseph McNicholas, Windermere High boys weightlifting

Meet Windermere boys weightlifter Joseph McNicholas, the Class 3A, District 7 and Metro West conference individual champion.

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Windermere High weightlifter Joseph McNicholas has been a force for the Wolverines since his freshman year, when he won the Metro West and district titles in the snatch at  139 pounds. He went on to finish second at regionals and qualify for states for the snatch event. 

Although an injury kept McNicholas on the sideline last season, he has come back this season at 169 pounds and picked up right he left off — capturing the overall individual Metro West crown and district championships in traditional and Olympic lifting categories.

The Basics 

Age: 17

Sport: Weightlifting

Grade: Junior

School: Windermere High


How does it feel to be named Athlete of the Week?

It feels really good to be recognized, and I feel like all of my work has paid off.

What do you like the most about weightlifting?

I just like lifting weights and the whole process of getting bigger and stronger.

What is your goal for the rest of the season — for yourself and the team?

My goal for the rest of the season is to qualify for states and finish in the top five; a win would be really nice (too). As far as the team, I just want us to have as many state qualifiers as we can.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from weightlifting?

I’m not sure if I’ve learned any specific lesson, but the biggest thing I’ve gotten from it is (developing) extreme consistency and discipline that has carried over to other aspects of my life.

Who is your favorite athlete?

My favorite athlete is Russel Orhii; he is a world-champion powerlifter. I just really like the way he looks and the way he trains; he makes good videos too.

Favorite weightlifting memory or accomplishment?

Definitely benching 315 (pounds) or squatting 500, as far as competitive achievements go, and going to states my freshman year was a big achievement for me.

What is your go-to pregame hype song?

“Love Sosa” by Chief Keef.

What is your go-to pre-meet meal?

The night before, I like to eat a lot of carbs. The day of, I eat something light before the meet, and I drink a Monster or two.

What is your favorite non-sports hobby?


What is your favorite subject in school?

Science, just because I have always been really good at it.

What are three things you would take with you to a deserted island?

I would take something to be able to start a fire reliably and consistently, some sort of weapon to hunt with, and some kind of container. … All of those things would be essential to my survival.

What is your favorite movie?

“Holes.” It’s just something I’ve watched so many times growing up.

If you could have dinner with one person — dead or alive — who would it be?

Jesus. That would be a really good experience, and there would just be a lot of questions I’d like to ask him.

If you could go back in time to a specific period in history, when and where would you go?

I’d probably (go back to) when the United States was first being founded. I think it would be cool to meet George Washington and all the (founding fathers).

Looking back, what piece of advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to eat more and be more consistent with training; and to train a lot smarter to avoid injuries.

If you could ask your future self a question, what would it be?

Am I still jacked?

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I would want to be able to control time. It would be awesome, because you could fix any mistake or know any piece of knowledge beforehand.

If you could travel to three places in the world, where would you go?

Japan, California or any of the far north states in the U.S.

If you could be an animal for a day, which one would you be?

I would probably be a snake, because that’s my favorite animal, and I want to see what (life) would be like from their point of view.

What is your most controversial food take?

Raw oysters are good.

Does pineapple belong on pizza?

Usually no, but some places do it right.

Sam Albuquerque is the Sports Editor for the Orange Observer. Please contact him with story ideas, results and statistics.

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Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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