By Larry Gage
Special to the PRESS
Junior Lady Tarpon powerlifter Viviana Lopez has been working out for months now in preparation for the first powerlifting meet of the 2020 season. It’s on for this Friday at Brownsville Porter High School.
The Press found Lopez in the weightroom at Port Isabel High School this week and she took a few minutes from her workout to talk about how things are coming along.
Powerlifting is actually a family affair for Viviana. Her older brother, Jerry, was a two-time state champion in the 123-pound class and it’s because of him that Viviana decided to give lifting a try. This is her third year in the sport.
“I got into it because my brother got me inspired,” she said. “I’d always see him working hard and I always wanted to lift like him.”
Another brother, Jaden, is currently in the program and made the state meet last year as a freshman. The Lopez’s are first generation high school athl
etes in their family.
Lopez is excited to get the season started with this Friday’s first meet in Brownsville and is not too nervous, considering that she’s been through the whole process before.
“It’s our first meet so I’m not going to go too hard. This week I’m not trying to win, just trying to get my technique down.”
Ah, yes – technique. It’s necessary to get it down in order for each lift to count and the little things certainly do add up. Three judges watch each lifter’s attempt closely and it counts if two of the three judges show white lights.
Lopez described the correct method and technique of a successful squat lift, which begins with lifting a loaded bar off the rack on the lifter’s shoulders, going down into a squat position, raising back up and replacing the bar on the rack. It’s simple but not easy, right Viviana?
“We have to have our thighs (parallel to the floor) touching our calves, and our legs have to be spread. Your hair has to be on the side or put up, and you can’t have any rubber bands or anything on your arms or wrists. They’re very strict. You have to wait till th
ey say up – you have to really push. Then you have to wait till they say you can rack it.”
As accurately as Viviana can recall her best total on the squat lift is 315 pounds, 305 on the deadlift, and 140 on the bench press.
“Viviana’s looking good,” Port Isabel head powerlifting coach, Johnathan Bodden, said this week. “She’s a strong girl. She’s healthy so far and we’re going to keep her that way. I can tell the difference in her this year – she’s on a mission. It seems like she’s a lot more dedicated this year. She was at the state meet last year and it gave her confidence. She wants to ge
t back there.”
Bodden emphasized the importance of taking it easy at this point in the season.
“Right now the main thing is to make it to March. Those are the meets that count. I’m just trying not to make them peak – it’s only January. They’re getting restless but I don’t want to max them out yet.”
The meet at Porter High in Brownsville gets underway at 9:00 a.m., Friday, January 17.
“We’ll leave the high school at 6:00 and weigh-ins are conducted from 6:30 to 8:00 o’clock. We’ll pick up breakfast on the way.”
The girls’ regional meet will be held at PSJA’s West High School on March 6, and the boys’ regional will be in Kingsville the week after that. The state powerlifting meet for girls is on for March 20 in Waco. The boys state meet is always in Abilene and this year will be held on March 28.