Athlete of the Week: Grace Lopez, Windermere Prep girls weightlifting

Windermere Prep’s Grace Lopez placed 4th in weightlifting state tournament.

Photo by Sloan Marcelle
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Windermere Prep junior Grace Lopez not only excels in the weight room as a leader of the Lakers’ girls weightlifting team during the winter sports season, but also she is a captain of the competitive cheerleading and sideline cheer team. 

For the girls weightlifting team, Lopez had an amazing end to the 2023-24 season. In the FHSAA postseason meets, she won the Class 1A, District 10 title in the 119-pound weight class, traditional category — while leading the Lakers to their third consecutive district championship. 

She also won the Class 1A, Region 1 individual championship at 119, while Windermere Prep finished third in the team competition. And to cap off her season, she placed fourth during the Class 1A state championship tournament. 


Age: 17

Sport: Girls weightlifting

Grade: Junior

School: Windermere Preparatory School


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

I’m extremely proud and honored to be highlighted and represent the school.

What do you like the most about weightlifting?

The feeling of everything — like hitting a lift or the encouragement from others.

What accomplishment from this season brings you the most pride?

Placing fourth in the state (tournament) for my weight class and first in the district and regional this season for traditional lifts.

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

Not everything will always go as planned or the way you want it to.

What is your go-to pregame meal?

Either fast food or a Pub Sub.

What is your go-to pre-match hype song?

“Only” by Nicki Minaj or “Look Back at It” by A Boogie Wit da Hoodie.

What is your favorite non-sports hobby?

I really enjoy reading or spending time with my family.

What is your favorite subject in school?

Global politics, because I find a lot of the case studies we learn about fascinating.

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

A book to read while I tan, sunscreen so I don’t burn and a boat to leave the island.

What is your favorite movie?

“Tangled,” I’ve loved it since I was little, and I just think the storyline and characters are super cute.

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

My family friend, Lisa, because she was like an aunt to me and was always fun to talk to.

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

Probably when America was still the 13 colonies, so I could see how things were back then.

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

Don’t focus so much on the little things because they won’t matter later.

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

Did you get to do what I’m dreaming of now?

Who is your favorite superhero?

Batman, because he’s funny.

Who is your favorite supervillain?

The Joker, because I think his backstory and everything is interesting.

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

The ability to read minds because I always want to know what people are thinking and want to say.

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

Bora Bora because it’s beautiful, and Alaska or Iceland to see the Northern Lights.

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

A giraffe so I could see super high and be super tall.

What is your most controversial food take?

Probably that chicken cutlets taste better with ketchup than plain.

Does pineapple belong on pizza?

Definitely not.



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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