By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel Lady Tarpon powerlifter Jocelyn Padilla has qualified for the state powerlifting meet. She finished first in her weight class last Saturday at the Women’s Regional Powerlifting Meet in Pleasonton.
“It came down to her final attempt,” head powerlifting coach Joe Gonzales said this week. “She was tied with another girl and if it had ended in a tie she would have been second because of body weight. The other girl was lighter.” Padilla competes in the 220-pound division.
Padilla lifted 355 pounds on her squat lift, 155 pounds on the bench press, and 345 pounds in the dead lift. Her dead lift was a personal record. Her total lift of 855 pounds on the day was 30 pounds short of her personal best, but it was enough to win. Her personal best in the squat lift is 405 pounds and her best bench press is 170 pounds.
“I was really nervous and, actually, my total weight went down, but I managed to get first place,” Padilla told the Press Wednesday morning. “Coach was motivating me the whole time.”
“She had never seen a powerlifting meet with so many people – it was packed,” Coach Gonzales said. “It was nerve-wracking for her. I told her just take it as a regular meet. Don’t think of anything else.”
In the first two events her best lift turned out to be the only one of three attempts that succeeded, and they both came on her first attempt. “My second attempt (squat) I scratched and on my third attempt they (three judges) said I didn’t go low enough,” Padilla said Wednesday. On the bench press, “My first attempt was the only one I got.”
Padilla got 330 pounds on her first attempt in the dead lift. “I did it fairly easily and it bumped me up to first place.”
It came down to her final attempt and she was the last one to go. “Because I’m the heaviest one I had to go at the end, so they all went first and then it was me.” She would still have qualified for state with a second-place finish.
With the gold medal and a berth in the state meet clinched on that final lift; “Actually I cried – I was really happy.”
Padilla is the fourth-seeded lifter in her class among the state qualifiers. The top two lifters in each weight division in each of the state’s five regions automatically qualify for state competition, plus whichever lifters register a total lift that at least equals the qualifying weight for their class.
“She’s really close to No.2,” Gonzales said. “She’s got a good shot (first place at state) but she’s got to do her personal best on just about every lift. It can be done. You never know.”
Francesca Sandoval also competed for P.I. at the regional meet but failed to register a total lift. She’s a sophomore and Padilla’s a junior.
“These two young ladies had never been in powerlifting before,” Gonzales said. “It was their first time.”
“She (Sandoval) told me (afterwards), ‘Coach, I’m going to get ready for next year and I’m going to win it.’ She said she’s going to work all year and I said that’s what it takes.”
The Women’s State Powerlifting Meet will be in Corpus Christi on Friday, March 20.
The Men’s Regional Meet is scheduled for this Saturday (March 14) in Kingsville. Port Isabel’s 198-pounder John Ray Martinez will be competing for a place in the Men’s State Meet in Abilene on March 28.
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