Two Lady Tarpon lifters off to Regionals

Special to the PRESS

Two Port Isabel High lifters are preparing this week for Saturday’s regional powerlifting meet at Pleasanton. Jocelyn Padilla and Francesca Sandoval qualified for the regional meet by finishing the season ranked among the top ten lifters in their weight classes.

Both athletes had excellent results at the last meet at Valley View High School two Saturdays ago. Sandoval, competing in the 148-pound division, had a total lift of 740 pounds, which was a new personal best. Padilla competes in the 220-pound classification and her total lift of 885 pounds was also a personal record.

When the final rankings came out after the Valley View meet they showed that Padilla had maintained her No.1 ranking. It was a different story for Sandoval. “She was borderline … being bumped out,” head PI lifting coach Joe Gonzalez said Monday. “She said it wasn’t going to happen and she went way above her previous best weight and it bumped her up to fourth.”

Sandoval came into the Valley View meet ranked 10th in the region and an outstanding effort there moved her up six places. She did 335 pounds in the squat lift, 140 in the benchpress, and 265 pounds in the deadlift. All three lifts were personal bests.

“I’ve been coaching for 37 years and she can tell you that (at Valley View) I was more nervous for her than she was for herself,” Gonzales said. “And she kept saying, ‘I got it, Coach, I got it,’” said the coach of his lifting athlete.

Gonzales is assisted by Coach Gesela Gonzalez; “She has done a great job and I couldn’t do it without her.”

“I’m healthy and I’m really nervous,” Sandoval said. “She should be,” Gonzalez said. If she’s not she’s not human!”

Sandoval was working the squat lift when the Press dropped into the weight room Monday afternoon. She was doing multiple reps with a bar loaded to 250 pounds. “(The squat) is my favorite one,” Sandoval said. “I just really like it.”

“It’s a heavy workout but less reps,” Gonzales said. “I don’t want to wear them out. I want them to be at their peak when we go up there on Saturday. She’s going 75 percent of her max and she’s doing five sets of six (repetitions), and that’s all we’re going to do today.”

Gonzales was referring also to his other women’s regional qualifier, Jocelyn Padilla. “She worked out this morning and she’s looking good. She’s ready – they’re both ready.”

“Neither one has been to regionals – this is a new thing for them. They’re excited. It’s real hard to get motivated at 6:30 in the morning and do workouts. It’s all about desire. It’s got to come from the heart.”

There are five regions in Texas high school powerlifting. Competitors must place in the top two at the regional meet or at least equal the qualifying weight. Sandoval’s personal best total lift is 10 pounds above the qualifying weight for her class.

Sandoval is another two-sport athlete as she also competes in track and field. Her events are the long jump, triple jump, and the 400-meter run. “After I work out I sometimes run at home because track regionals are coming up after powerlifting.”

The first lifts will take place on Saturday at 9 a.m. Coach Gonzales reports that it’s about a five-hour drive to Pleasanton and they plan to leave the high school about 10 o’clock Friday morning. They’ll return Saturday night.

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