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For the past 10 years, the Darien Blue Wave football team has held a lift-a-thon fundraiser to support various charities.

The event has done well every year, but the latest fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) was by far the best to date.

Head coach Rob Trifone and Blue Wave have normally raised between $4,000 and $7,000 for various charities, but this year’s total was more than $28,000 for the lift-a-thon, which was held on March 8 at DHS.

Not only has the team been motivated by various family members with Type 1 diabetes, but two young members of the community with Type 1 diabetes came to visit the team and wanted to tell their story.

Coach Trifone was contacted by both the Hantman and Stafford families, both of whom have a child with Type 1 Diabetes. The families reached out to thank the football team for their charitable fundraising efforts.

Coach Trifone then invited both families to come over to DHS and meet with the team. Hazel Hantman and Colton Stafford, both eight years old, stood up in front of the team on two separate occasions to tell their stories, and they helped motivate the team to raise a record $28,075 for JDRF.

There are two groups of winners in the competition: The student-athletes who lifted the most weight and the student-athletes who were able to raise the most money through sponsors.

The highest category in weight lifting is what is called the Iron Man trophy, which is awarded to the athlete who lifts the most total weight in the events of the bench, squat and clean. Connor O’Malley led all athletes in the lightweight division, lifting 665 pounds; Sam Wilson lifted a total of 860 pounds in the 186- to 200-pound class; and Charlie Hunter lifted 775 pounds in the 201- to 220-pound class.

Luke Sini led all lifters in the Over 220-pound class as he muscled up a total of 885 pounds.

In all, the football team lifted a record total of 13,800 pounds.

The top fundraisers on the team were Sam Wilson ($2,500), Mark Trifone ($1,825), Teddy Laird ($1,285), Matt Cavoli ($910), John Henry Slonieski ($830) and Jeremiah Stafford ($800).