Wake County teen has sights set on weightlifting at 2020 Olympics

Shelby Neal ranks No. 2 in the world in weightlifting.


WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) – To say 16-year-old Shelby Neal keeps herself busy would be an understatement.

“I come in the morning for three or four hours,” said Neal of her training sessions at Red Dog Crossfit in Wake Forest. “Then I come back at night for another three or four hours. It’s a long day.”

Neal puts in the hours fueling her thirst for her two loves – Crossfit and weightlifting. Five, six days a week she pushes herbody to the limit.

“Sometimes your brain turns off and your body wants to keep going and you just can’t,” Neal admits of her strenuous sessions. “And sometimes
your body will turn off but your brain wants to keep going. It’s hard to find the days they align.”

But Neal has found a way to work through that challenge, rising through the ranks of both sports.

In Crossfit she is ranked No. 9 in the world in her age group. She’s even stronger in weightlifting standing No. 2 amongst her peers and closing fast.

“She’s one of the best in the world,” said Tony Bevilacqua, her trainer. “In her age group, she’s one of the best in the world and she’s on a path to be one of the best in the world as she gets older as well.”

Neal has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics in weightlifting. Yet she also wants to continue her quest to become the world’s fittest athlete. That’s a title that comes with Crossfit. The two sports tug for Neal attention.

“If I have a big competition in weightlifting coming up I will try to focus more on that,” Neal said. “But if I have a big Crossfit competition I’ll be doing more Crossfit and eventually come back to 50-50 and it just kind of depends on the time of year.”

Right now Crossfit is getting more attention. This weekend she’ll leave for California to compete in the Crossfit Games where she’s expected to do quite well despite being relatively new to the sport.

“She has many years to still develop and she’s still growing and she’s still learning,” Bevilacqua said. “She’s still somewhat new to these sports. The potential for her is amazing.”

RELATED: Weightlifting Wake Forest teen one of the best in nation

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