By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel High School powerlifters Jerry Lopez and Fernando Rivera gave it their all at the Men’s State Powerlifting Meet in Abilene last Saturday. Lopez won his second straight state title and Rivera set a new personal-best in the total lift for a fifth place finish.
Competing in the 123-pound class, Lopez had a personal-best lift of 450 pounds in the squat lift on his way to a total lift of 1,090 pounds. That was just short of his personal-best total lift of 1,095 pounds, which he recorded at the regional meet two weeks ago.
Rivera took fifth place in the 198-pound division with a total lift of 1,410 pounds, which was a new personal record by 25 pounds. He lifted a total of 1,385 pounds at the regional meet for his previous best. Rivera also set personal-bests in the squat lift, at 550 pounds, and in the bench press, with 355 pounds. He equaled his previous best effort in the dead lift with a lift of 505 pounds on his second attempt.
The gold medal and 2013 state title in the 198-pound class was awarded to Rockdale’s Jamie Czakowski, with a total lift of 1,575 pounds. The silver medal went to Jeremiah Bottoms of Celina, who lifted a total of 1,455 pounds, and the bronze medal was won by Kiounis Williams of Center with a total of 1,430 pounds.
“I had a personal-best on my squat lift…on my third attempt,” Lopez said Monday. He lifted 235 pounds on his second attempt on the bench press but missed with 245 pounds on his third and last attempt. His PB on the bench is 240.
Lopez also just missed with what would have been a personal record on his final attempt in the dead lift. “On my third attempt, I tried for 415 and I got it up, but they didn’t count it. My knee wasn’t locked.”
“I started with 490 on the dead lift,” Rivera said Monday. “I got it up and on my second attempt I got 505…easily. Coach said let’s go 525 and I felt pretty confident, but my back started to feel worn out and I couldn’t get it.”
When Lopez failed to make 415 pounds on his final attempt on the dead lift, he had to wait for Ricky Guerra of Poteet to make his final attempt before he could claim victory. Guerra was going for 445 pounds, which would have been a new personal record by 15 pounds.
“Before he lifted I was pretty disappointed because I didn’t get my last lift,” Lopez said. “I was just watching him and my heart was pounding. When he didn’t make it, coach came up and grabbed me and I just started crying. It was a really good moment.”
Guerra got the silver medal for second place with a total lift of 1,070 pounds. The bronze medal went to Darius Rivera of Princeton. His TL was 1,015 pounds.
Lopez was in the 114-pound class when he won the 2012 state title with a total lift of 990 pounds.
“I’d like to thank (Lopez and Rivera) for making my first year as head coach memorable,” Rubalcaba said this week. Port Isabel High’s head powerlifting coach is also a former state champion. Competing for Lyford High, Rubalcaba won the 1997 state title in the 181-pound class with a total lift of 1,345 pounds.
Lopez is a senior and will graduate this spring. Rivera, a junior, has one more year of eligibility left and is already looking ahead to next year. “I know what I have to work on now,” he said in the weight room. “I’ll try to stay in the same weight division. I’ve got a whole year to train for state…something to shoot for, first place.”
Read this story in the March 28 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.