By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Jerry Lopez remembers the moment well. “The first thing I remember are the three white lights and I knew I’d won,” he recalled. “It was the best feeling in the world. Coach (Justin) Stumbaugh came up and gave me a big hug.”
Lopez was recalling his final lift of the 2012 Men’s State Powerlifting Meet in Abilene last March, when he won the Class 3A-Div. II state championship in the 114-pound class. The three white lights are each controlled by an official, and white indicates a successful lift in that official’s judgment.
The three categories in powerlifting are the bench press, the squat lift, and the dead lift. Each competitor is allowed three attempts in each category and the best of the three attempts is counted toward his/her lift total.
Lopez, a senior, competes in the 114-pound class and this is his fourth season as a Tarpon powerlifter. Lopez thought back on how it all began. “I think it was during my freshman year. One day in the weight room I’d just finished my workout, and Coach Stumbaugh came over. He told me to show up at the next practice. Then I won first place at my first meet. Coach Stumbaugh saw my interest and I didn’t know anything about it.”
Lopez was awarded the silver medal (second place) in the 2011 state meet as a sophomore with a total lift of 880 pounds. His 990-pound total lift at last year’s state meet was an improvement of 110 pounds.
“My goal now is 1,000 pounds,” Lopez said. “That’s been my goal since my freshman year.”
Head powerlifting coach Victor Rubalcaba said, “Our goal (for each lifter) for each meet is to go nine-for-nine, that is hit all three of your lifts in each event. He’ll go into each meet, whatever his max (personal best) is on each lift, and try to exceed that.”
“The kids have been working out, strengthening their ligaments and tendons, and that helps reduce the possibility of injury,” Rubalcaba said. “They wear braces and wraps that help with support and that also help prevent injuries.”
The first powerlifting meet of the season is on for Saturday, February 2, and will be held at Pace High School in Brownsville. Men’s and women’s teams will compete. The men’s (March 9) and women’s (March 2) regional meets will both take place in Kingsville. The Women’s State Meet will be in Corpus Christi the weekend of March 15-16, and the Men’s State Meet will be in Abilene on March 23.
Read this story in the Jan. 24 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.