Andrew Dela Cruz is the co-owner of XIOS Strength and Conditioning in downtown Gilroy. Several local high school athletes train at his facility. Photo by Robert Eliason.
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It’s no secret Covid-19 hit local businesses hard, and XIOS Strength and Conditioning was no exception. However, the gym’s owners—the husband-wife duo of Andrew and Crystal Dela Cruz—made things work. 

“I won’t sugarcoat it—it was really hard,” Andrew said. “But we adjusted and that is one thing we took a lot of pride in is we already had a remote program.”

However, given that many of Andrew’s clients are youth/high school students, he had to pivot and run workouts for them outdoors during the shelter-in-place order. 

“I had to figure out how to train them outside, but seeing the kids’ faces is what pushed me through the pandemic,” he said. “The fact they got to do something outside was a big motivator and the kids rolled with whatever we had. Training them outside was the biggest key thing we did in getting us through this whole thing.”

Now that things have opened up, it’s business as usual for XIOS, which will host the Garlic City Classic Olympic weightlifting competition July 24-25 at its facility on 7387 Monterey St.

“This will be the first meet most Olympic weightlifters are able to do since everything opened up after the pandemic,” Dela Cruz said. “A lot of them are trying to qualify for some big national meets, and that’s why we’re doing it.”

Dela Cruz said he expects upwards of 60 individuals to register for the event, which features several different weight classes and age divisions. 

“You’ll probably see lifters aged from 8 to 82, which is the oldest one I think we had last year,” he said. “There will be a youth to masters division (over the age of 35). That’s the beauty of Olympic weightlifting—there’s such a broad age range of people doing the sport.”

Dela Cruz also had another important reason for putting the event on. 

“I thought we could do something to bring a little more publicity to the city of Gilroy,” he said. “We did something when the (2019) shooting happened and raised money for the Garlic Festival then.”

XIOS will host another Olympic weightlifting competition on the final weekend of October in what Dela Cruz said “is a last chance qualifier to a big national meet later in the year.” 

Some of the 2021 Christopher High graduates who trained at XIOS and are now set to play in college include Braden Clark (Concordia lacrosse) and Adam Andrade (Chapman football). The 32-year-old Dela Cruz also coaches Christopher’s Ella Rodriguez, who in mid-June competed in the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials in track and field. 

“She brought home two silvers in the long jump and discus,” Dela Cruz said. 

Tiffany Roberts, a 2015 CHS graduate, is another notable athlete who trains out of XIOS. Currently No. 13 in the USA Weightlifting rankings in the 59 kilogram (130 pound) women’s open division, Roberts happens to be a Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant at Camp Pendleton. 

Earlier this year, she qualified for the USA Weightlifting Senior Nationals, where she finished 26th in her weight class. In the qualifier, Roberts lifted a total of 166 kilograms (approximately 365 pounds) for her combined total in the snatch and clean and jerk, per

“Tiffany has only been in the sport for two years and has a goal to make the world team,” Dela Cruz said. “She’s going to compete again in December at the American Open Finals which will be a big one for her. She comes home next month (to Gilroy), and she’ll be training while she’s here.”

Dela Cruz is also training recent CHS graduate David Poso, who was a standout lineman on the Cougars football team. The XIOS co-owner said Poso did his first-ever competition last month and qualified for the International Powerlifting League World Championships in November. 

“He qualified while he was playing on the football team at the same time,” Dela Cruz said. “He hit the qualifying total in his last lift which was the deadlift. He was very surprised that lift took him over the top, but he showed what he could do when he won the Shark City Open in Milpitas on the 19th of June.”

Dela Cruz has a goal to help send as many local athletes as possible to four-year universities on athletic scholarships.

“I’m learning a lot more about the whole recruiting process and being able to know what to say to these college coaches,” he said. “I’ve been able to create a good network of people and am trying to help a lot of kids in Gilroy because they don’t get as much publicity as they should.”

Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]

Andrew Dela Cruz talks with recent Christopher graduate Adam Andrade, who is set to play football at Chapman University. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Andrew Dela Cruz spots Gilroy High’s Aidan Nguyen in a July 16 workout. Photo by Robert Eliason.
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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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