By Larry Gage
Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel High students Jaden Lopez and David Hernandez both brought home medals from the Men’s State Powerlifting Meet in Abilene last Saturday.
Lopez took third-place in the 123-pound weight division and Hernandez was fourth in the 132-pound class.
A lifter’s best lift in each of the three different powerlifting disciplines is added to that of the other two to arrive at the individual’s Total Lift. A competitor is allowed three attempts each in the squat lift, bench press, and deadlift.
Lopez’s best attempt on the squat lift was 440 pounds on his third attempt. On the bench press his best effort was 215 pounds, also on his third attempt. He started off with 405 pounds on the deadlift, then got 435 pounds off the floor on his second attempt. He tried for 465 on his final attempt but couldn’t quite get it.
It all added up to a 1,090-pound total lift.
Hernandez managed 450 pounds on his final attempt on the squat lift, then successfully made 240 pounds on the bench press. On his final attempt on the deadlift he achieved a new PR (personal record) of 470 pounds. His Total Lift, then, was 1,160 pounds.
“It felt pretty good,” Lopez told the Press this week. “It didn’t go as well as I expected – I didn’t hit any new PR’s.”
“It was a really good feeling,” Hernandez said, describing the moment when he knew had earned fourth place, especially after being so far down in the standings going into the dead lift.
“After squat and bench I was in 10th place. I came on strong in the deadlift.”
Hernandez’s first time at the state meet came two years ago when he placed fourth in his weight class.
“He actually earned his fourth-place medal,” head Port Isabel powerlifting coach William Bodden said Tuesday, referring to Hernandez’s day. “David’s weight class was actually the most competitive I’ve ever seen at a meet. David gave it his all, almost had a perfect meet.”
“Going in, we knew the gold medal was out of our hands, because there were some really strong kids in the state. We gave it our all.”
The gold medalist in the 132-pound class was Robert Rios of Mathis High School. In the squat lift he did 490 pounds. He got 310 pounds in the bench press, and his best deadlift was 510 pounds. That was a total lift of 1,310 pounds.
Top honors in the 123-pound weight class went to Chase Chapa, Port Lavaca-Calhoun High School. His total lift of 1,200 pounds came from the 435 pounds he successfully lifted in the squat lift, 265 pounds on the bench press, and an even 500 pounds in the deadlift.
“These are great kids,” Bodden said. “They show up at 5:45 for morning workouts. They work out year-round and do everything I ask of them. It’s all on them – I guide them, teach them what I know. These kids love the sport and they are very special kids.”
Lopez and Hernandez are both juniors and have one more year to try to return to the state meet and bring home the gold.
In the meantime both these guys are already into spring sports. Lopez is on the Tarpon baseball team and also runs track. Hernandez has sprinter’s speed, runs the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, and shares the load with Lopez on the 4 x 100-meter and 4 x 200-meter relay teams. And, as if all of that isn’t enough, Hernandez is also a long-jumper.
Hernandez is a strong candidate for gold medals in the hurdle events at this week’s District 32-4A meet in Hidalgo. He loves the hurdles races and doesn’t have a preference for one or the other.
“I just run – I don’t really have a favorite.”
As for powerlifting, both these young men will be back in the weight room for regular workouts before the end of the school year. It’s never too early to start getting ready for next season.
And just to make sure they have it all covered, and are taking care of business in the area of academics, these guys are also excellent students.
Hernandez’s grade-point average is currently second among junior class students, which means we may see his likeness next year on that Top Ten-ranked Graduating Students banner that’s always on the front of the school building every spring. We’ll be watching, guys – no pressure.
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