Senior raises the bar

Christian Arteaga wins All American award


Used with permission from Christian Arteaga.

Leo Justesen

Senior football captain and prominent figure in the athletic community Christian Arteaga was honored to win an All American award for weightlifting, which he said was the recognition of the hard work he constantly puts in the weight room.

“It felt really good, it felt like a milestone was hit. You don’t feel that every day in the weight room,” Arteaga said.

This award is given out nationally to seniors that excel at an athletic program. In order to win the award, Arteaga had to pass a number of weightlifting and agility drills, which, according to Arteaga, he passed with flying colors. 

“There was a 40 time, a vertical and a pro agility drill,” Arteaga said. “These are a lot of stuff that we’ve trained in strength and conditioning. Ms. Gust has worked with me one-on-one with everything. (There was) a lot of the dedication that led up to hitting those goals that I got for the award.”

Jessica Gust, a teacher and the head strength & conditioning coach at Park, said she has been a mentor to Arteaga and has worked with him since seventh grade. According to Gust, Arteaga’s hard work and persistence enabled him to win the award.

“He is insanely committed to improving himself as a person. He will show up every single day, whether he wants to be there or not. He shows up, gets the work done, works hard every day. Not everybody is built that way,” Gust said.

Arteaga said he has had strong role models in the past that have inspired him to work hard towards winning the award.

“I remember the first kid who got awarded, it was Aaron Ellingson — he was a senior when I was a sophomore, definitely a guy I looked up to in the weight room,” Arteaga said.

According to Gust, aside from his athletic accolades, she is even more prideful in the person Arteaga has become outside of athletics.

“I’m most proud of the fact that he is an absolutely delightful human to deal with every single day,” Gust said. “All of his athletic accomplishments are great, but at a certain point, his athletic career will end and it’s just so awesome to see what a delightful human he is.”

For Arteaga, this is only the beginning of the achievements he wants to pursue, as he said he has hopes to play professional football in the future.

“I have big dreams of playing in the NFL someday. (If) there’s anything that my mom has ever told me (it’s) that I have to work hard for what I want,” Arteaga said. “So sticking with it and continuing to show up in the weight room is where that commitment and dedication has been towards.”