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Powerlifting student athletes excel in unsung sport

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  • BHS Powerlifting Squads with Coach Manny Martinez at right. BULLETIN PHOTO/Tracy Thayer
    BHS Powerlifting Squads with Coach Manny Martinez at right. BULLETIN PHOTO/Tracy Thayer

Power lifting is one of those unsung sports that doesn’t attract a lot of attention. Weight training is a foundation for most sports, however. All athletes hit the gym to train their muscles to get stronger to play better and to keep injuries at bay. Bandera High School’s powerlifting squads have quietly put in hours of training not only to keep in shape for participation in other sports but as a team participating in meets sanctioned by the Texas High School Powerlifting Association.

According to Manny Martinez, BHS’ powerlifting coach, each squad is made up of athletes lifting weights in eleven possible body weight classes. While both boys and girls compete separately in this sport, they train together encouraging each other to lift better and try heavier weights. Both squads help each other at meets by assisting with uniforms and knee wraps. Coach Martinez comments “it takes them all helping each other in between their own lifts to have success as a team.”

The three types of lifts in powerlifting are squat, bench press and deadlift. Athletes compete for points in all three singular events with other competitors of comparable body weights. The top five winners of each weight class in each category earn points. Squads are ranked by the number of points they earn overall. The championship team is determined by the most points earned at a meet.

Each lifter must compete by lifting at their top weight in each category. They are given three tries per type of lift, so a total of nine lifts per competition. Not only do athletes have to work on their strength, but they must also watch their body weight so that they can lift in the correct weight class.

At the end of the season, the top twelve lifters in each body weight class advance to regional competition where they compete against each other to advance to State level competition.

Martinez comments, “this sport is very difficult because it requires a lot of dedication and discipline. It is a lot of work and there is more failure than success, but it is rewarding.” Martinez predicts that “Ethan Brown has a legitimate shot at finishing in the top three at Regionals and advancing to the state meet. He was the Region champion two years ago, but Covid prevented him and five of our girls from competing at State. The State Championships were canceled that year. He is an outstanding kid who works extremely hard.”

“Emily Garcia was a state alternate last year. She is battling to get to Regionals so she can compete for a state berth,” Martinez explains. The Bandera squad will possibly take five girls and five boys to regional competition. “It will come down to how we finish the season and how much we improve,” states Martinez.

The results from Saturday’s Holy Cross Meet are as follows. The BHS Boys Squad placed fourth overall with Ethan Brown coming in first, Joey Flewellen coming in third, and Ashton Robinson coming in 4th in the 132 lb. weight class. In the 165 lb. weight class, Justin Beal came in second and Mathew Chavez came in 4th. Mathew Staton placed 2nd in the 181 lb. class. Ethan Boyd placed 3rd in the 242 lb. weight class. Noah Sizemore placed 3rd in the 309 lb. weight class.

The Girls Squad finished in 3rd place at the meet. Ashley Grodman, Emily Garcia and Tann Flewellen all placed 1st in their weight classes. Zoey Cruz and Kamryn Golightly placed 2nd in their weight classes.

Martinez remarked “the boys have had some outstanding meets this year, Holy Cross was a great competition and the boys competed at a high level.” Their next competition will be on February 3rd at Texas Strength Systems in San Antonio.

“While our girls finished in third place at Holy Cross, they only missed out on winning the meet by five points. We were short-handed in this meet with only five girls competing, but we expect to grab some gold when we have our team fully assembled,” Martinez stated. The BHS Girls will compete at Texas Strength Systems on January 26.

“We have many lifters ranked in the top 10 in the region, heading into the final stretch of the season. We are excited about where we are at, but know that we have much work to do,” said Martinez optimistically.