(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The USA Weightlifting Youth Championships are bringing people from all over the country to St. Joseph, giving Missouri Western a chance to show that its indoor facility is more than just a football field.
When the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex was built three years ago, it was just looked at as the summer home of the Kansas City Chiefs, but it's taken on a bigger role.
"We've filled this building with visitors to our community for about 15 or 16 weekends during the winter months every year," Western's Director of Athletic Facilities Mike Halloran said.
This weekend the GISC will house the biggest event in US weightlifting history with 365 lifters.
"It's something we've been working on for more than a year," Halloran said.
"They're bringing America to Missouri Western," Wesley Weightlifting coach Dennis Snethen said.
The USA Weightlifting Youth Championships bring the best athletes in the country to Missouri Western.
Luka Perretti -- a lifter ranked 25th in the world -- and his little brother Enzo -- ranked number one in the nation for his age group -- have lifted all over the states, but were blown away by the facility in St. Joe.
"As soon as we walked in here last night, it was really wonderful," Luka and Enzo's dad John Perretti said. "It's nice to be in a big space, and the guys are really excited to lift here. This is the big event."
"Most of these meets are done in big hotel ballrooms, or small convention centers. This is Madison Square Garden," Snethen said.
This weekend is another opportunity for St. Joseph to impress on a national stage.
"To bring people to town to be the host of a national championship, with a national governing body of a sport with USA Weightlifting, it's pretty special to have those visitors," Halloran said.
"We're going to showcase our beautiful college, this wonderful facility," Snethen said. "We've got so much to offer in St. Joe, so we hope some of them stick around and maybe become a Golden Griffon."
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